Original Title: A Promessa
Portugal, 1972
color 102'   Classics - Portuguese

In a fishing village, a young couple of deeply religious newlyweds is unable to consummate their marriage due to a chastity vow made by the young man when his father was on the verge of dying in a shipwreck. Now they live in a permanent state of tension, increased by the presence of a gypsy that they sheltered under their roof. A violent drama explodes.

Language: Portuguese

Guida Maria, João Mota, Sinde Filipe, Luís Santos

Director: António de Macedo

Production Company: Centro Português do Cinema

Co-Production Company: António de Macedo, Tobis Portuguesa, Francisco de Castro

Official Selection - Cannes Film Festival

Versions: Original Version and Subtitled in French

Availability: The World

Macedo graduated in architecture at the ESBAL (Escola Superior de Belas-Artes), the Faculty of Fine Arts of Lisbon, in 1958. Since then and until 1964, he worked as an architect in the Town Hall of Lisbon.
He abandoned his architect career in 1964 to devote himself to filmmaking as director and scriptwriter. He also dedicated to literature and research in the fields of religion and spirituality. He specialized in the history and Sociology of Esoteric Christianity. In 2010 he earned a doctor's degree summa cum laude in Sociology of Culture (in the field of Sociology of Religion), at the Nova University of Lisbon.

As a filmmaker, he was one of the pioneers of the Portuguese Cinema Novo and one of the founder members of the first film cooperative societies in Portugal, the “Centro Português de Cinema” (1970).

He started his career as a film director with his avant-garde short film Verão Coincidente [Coincident Summer] and Nicotiana (1963). These films were noticed by the producers Francisco de Castro and António da Cunha Telles, who invited Macedo to direct his first feature film, Domingo à Tarde [Sunday Afternoon], 1965, which was selected for the Venice Film Festival of that year. During the prime minister António de Oliveira Salazar and later of Marcello Caetano dictatorship, Macedo’s movies were almost always at odds with the Portuguese censorship, specially Domingo à Tarde [Sunday Afternoon] and A Promessa [The Vow], which were seriously affected by censors. Nojo aos Cães [Even Curs Feel Disgust] was totally forbidden. Nevertheless, A Promessa had a good reception at the Cannes Film Festival and it won the first prize at the Cartagena Film Festival. Nojo aos Cães was selected for the Bergamo Film Festival, had good reviews and a final nomination for the first prize as well. At the Benalmadena Film Festival it won the prestigious “FICC Award” (annual film prize of the “Fédération Internationale des Ciné-Clubs”).

Just before the Carnation Revolution in 1974, Macedo founded in that same year, together with other filmmakers, a new cooperative film production company, Cinequanon. There he worked as a director until 1996. His latest film made with this new film company was Santo António de Todo o Mundo [Saint Anthony of the Whole World], shot in 1996.

After the fall of the dictatorial regime of Salazar / Caetano in 1974, Macedo worked intensively in many television films and TV series: films “engagés”, political cinema denouncing the crimes committed by the former dictatorship. Meanwhile, he kept on making full-length pictures, such as O Princípio da Sabedoria [The Principle of Wisdom] or As Horas de Maria [Twelve Hours with Maria]. This last one, when released in 1979 was hardly attacked by the Portuguese Catholic Church under the charge of «blasphemy» and «moral and religious outrage». His next feature, Os Abismos da Meia-Noite [The Magic Springs of Gerenia], was a box office hit in Portugal, and won three national film awards: “Best Portuguese Film”, “Best Script” and “Best Sound Design,” and also “Best Actor” at the Rimini Film Festival.

Chá Forte com Limão [Black Tea With Lemon] was his latest feature. Notwithstanding his extensive and original filmography, and in spite of the cultural trend of his cinema, Macedo’s applications to get support from the film financing programs of the Portuguese Ministry of Culture were systematically rejected. When asked about the reasons why his film projects were so ill-regarded by the juries, some jurors would state that the negative verdicts were consequence of a «uninteresting cinema», «detached from reality», «fanciful and too much whimsical» (See as reference the interview published at the magazine of the Portuguese Authors Society). They alluded to the genre of most of Macedo’s movies, which include weird elements, magic fantasy, dark fantasy, science-fiction and so on.
Without being able to go on filming, Macedo went on along with his other specializations, namely investigating and teaching film theory, film aesthetics, speculative fiction as well as comparative religion, spirituality, history of religion, sociology of religion, esoterology.
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