July 2, 2019
Palaces of Pity & The Island Is Enchanted With You
(Dir. Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt, 2011 | Dir. Daniel Schmidt and Alexander Carver, 2014)
Los Angeles premieres!
Director Daniel Schmidt in person!
Co-presented by Now Instant Image Hall.
Now Instant Image Hall
5319 York Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90042
In less than a decade of activity, friends and polymorphously promiscuous collaborators Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt (co-directors of the acclaimed indie comedy Diamantino) have made some of the most ravishing and least classifiable films in recent memory—and established themselves as a school of filmmaking unlike any other. These uncompromising young visionaries share a penchant for provocation, a taste for transgression, and a host of strategies and obsessions all their own. At once lyrical and perverse, by turns hilarious and delirious, their films obliterate distinctions—between high- and low-brow, between sensual and cerebral, between art cinema and the avant-garde—while remaining sharply attuned to the byproducts of globalization and the fluctuations of post-internet pop culture.
Palaces of Pity / Palácios de Pena (Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt, Portugal, 2011, 58 min.)
Seven years before their breakthrough feature Diamantino, Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt co-directed this radically stylized, era- and genre-scrambling amalgam of coming-of-age melodrama, medieval pageant, and political allegory. Two teenage sisters cope with the death of their beloved grandmother, their long-standing rivalry, and their inheritance of an immense castle with a shadowy Fascist past. An exhilarating whatsit laden with awe-inspiring landscapes, surrealist flourishes, and stirring, unexpected juxtapositions of image and sound, Palaces of Pity is denser with aesthetic, historical, and political ideas than innumerable films twice its length.
The Island Is Enchanted With You / La isla está encantada con ustedes (Daniel Schmidt and Alexander Carver, USA/Switzerland/Australia/Puerto Rico, 2014, 35 min.)
This enigmatic series of tableaux, exploring colonial legacies, the massacre of Puerto Rico’s indigenous Taíno people, and the insatiability of the libido, among other subjects, is a sensual and cerebral feast, rapturously interweaving elements of softcore, period films, music videos, and computer animation. (FLC)
While completely different on paper, these shorts feel surprisingly complementary. Like the filmmakers, there seems to be an organic chemistry binding the works together — a personal joke, too good not to share.
- Kat Herriman, The New York Times Magazine
A distinctive collection of globe-trotting short films... these queasy comedies are united by deceptively alluring Super-16 cinematography, a mixture of sophisticated and sophomoric humor, and a pile-up of culture-clash miscommunications.
- Nick Pinkteron, Film Comment
Since 2007, Abrantes has matched an affinity for abstruse, looping narrative with a bawdy sense of humor. Although his work frequently draws on sources like Manet or Aristophanes, it’s never hindered by the dictates of good taste.
- Alice Stoehr, MUBI Notebook
Palaces of Pity puts a new spin on the duality of creation and destruction, suggesting that both are merely different forms assumed by the erotic imagination within a dialectical chronicle of pleasure and persecution, intimacy and antagonism, lovers and siblings.
- Dan Sullivan, Film Comment
While predated by a good number of shorts and recently eclipsed by feature-length endeavors, [Palaces of Pity] is like the master decoder ring to [Abrantes and Schmidt's filmography], offering not so much an enlightening take on postcolonialism as an inspired remix of juicy urges, intellectual whims, sexual realizations, and appropriated vibes, ranging from Pasolini’s Salò to a pitch-perfect incorporation of Alphaville’s hit ballad and video, “Forever Young."
- James N. Kienitz Wilkins, The Brooklyn Rail
(Available to download after screening date)