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Film Studies: National Cinemas

This guide highlights selected resources for various national cinemas.

Introduction to Portuguese cinema

Aspectos da praia de Cascais/Views of the Cascais beach (Manuel Maria da Costa Veiga, 1899) is usually credited as the first Portuguese film, and Veiga made films of a number of royal occasions at the turn of the 20th century. Os crimes de Diogo Alves/The crimes of Diogo Alves (Joao Tavares, 1911), produced by the La Portugalia film company in 1911, is considered the country’s first feature film. During the 1910s and 1920s imports from France and Spain were dominant, though a small number of Portuguese literary and stageplay adaptations, such as Os lobos/The Wolves (Rino Lupo, 1923), were successful. In the early years of the New State (1933–74) the Salazar regime created the Secretariat of National Propaganda (later renamed National Secretariat of Information, Popular Culture, and Tourism), and there was an expectation that films would complement propagandist and nation-building activities. Accordingly, the most popular genre at this time was the ‘Lisbon comedy’, a gentle comedy of manners that offered audiences visions of an orderly, respectful society. José Cotinelli Tomos’s Canção de Lisboa/Song of Lisbon (1933) is a celebrated example of the genre, and is also Portugal’s first synchronized sound feature. Lisbon comedies played well in Brazil, a key export market for Portuguese films. Many early ‘talkies’ were also vehicles for the fado, a popular local musical form, and song-and-dance sequences feature heavily in many films of the period. A number of documentaries were also produced in the 1930s, including António Lopes Ribeiro’s A revoluçao de Maio/A Revolution in May (1937), which one critic describes as a film of ‘nationalist exaltation’ (see compilation film). Nationalist sentiment continued to be consolidated in the 1940s, with a cycle of history films, including Camões (Leitão de Barros, 1946) and Rainha Santa (Rafael Gil and Anibal Contreiras, 1947).  ...

Kuhn, A., & Westwell, G. (2020). Portugal, film in. In A Dictionary of Film Studies. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 27 May. 2021

Searching the online catalog

This is a guide for the cinema of Portugal. You can use the subject headings below to find resources in the online catalog. The call number ranges are also included. Please note: these are not the only call numbers, but they have the majority of items. These searches will also lead you to movie titles.

Introductory reading(s)

Selected book title(s)

Finding scholarly articles and journal title(s)

Articles and other writings about Portuguese language films can be found in many publications. Our collection includes several journals which look exclusively at Portuguese language films. You can use Film & Television Literature Index to find articles or use the search box at the top of the page.

Selected movie titles

Find more Portuguese film titles in the library's online catalog.