top of page
Playful Perversions: Short Films by Gabriel Abrantes

November 25, 2019

Playful Perversions: Short Films by Gabriel Abrantes

Los Angeles premieres!
Director Gabriel Abrantes in person!


8:00 PM


8:30 PM


631 W 2nd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Yanai Initiative logo_edited.jpg
Yanai Initiative logo_edited.jpg

Financial support provided by Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian

Since emerging in 2006, Gabriel Abrantes has carved a unique niche for  himself at the vanguard of contemporary cinema. As de facto figurehead  of a loose ensemble of collaborators with art school ties and a taste  for the transgressive, the Lisbon-based artist (co-director of the  acclaimed comedy Diamantino)  brings a playfully perverse spirit to the tradition of experimental  filmmaking. Shot on 16mm, Abrantes’ absurdist allegories tackle issues  of colonialism, gender, sexuality, and desire through a bold conflation  of history, aesthetics, and politics—like pop art by way of Pasolini.  Dizzyingly prolific, he continues to add to a shapeshifting body of work  whose pleasures and provocations are wholly indivisible.


- Liberdade (Gabriel Abrantes and Benjamin Crotty, 2011, 17 min)

Shot in  Luanda, Angola, this visually ravishing tale of romance, crime, and  erectile dysfunction chronicles the relationship between an Angolan boy  and a Chinese girl as they attempt to forge a shared, transcultural  identity.

- Fratelli (Gabriel Abrantes and Alexandre Melo, 2012, 17 min)

Gabriel  Abrantes and Alexander Melo deconstruct the first section of  Shakespeare’s ‘Taming of the Shrew’ as a playful, vibrant ode to  bacchanalia, classicism, and homoeroticism.

- Taprobana (Gabriel Abrantes, 2014, 24 min)

A  sensuous and debauched portrait of Portugal’s national poet Luís Vaz de  Camões teetering on the borderline between Paradise and Hell.

- The Artificial Humors (Gabriel Abrantes, 2016, 29 min)

Using a  mix of Hollywood aesthetics with documentary strategies, the film  follows a young indigenous girl from the Xingu National Park to São  Paulo, where she falls in love with a robot that also happens to be a  stand-up comedian. This strange story mixes the anthropology of humor,  indigenous communities, and artificial intelligence.

- The Extraordinary Misadventures of the Stone Lady (Gabriel Abrantes, 2019, 18 min)

Tired of being a banal architectural ornamental, a sculpture runs from the Louvre to confront real life on the streets of Paris.

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

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

A body  of work that intoxicates, titillates, tickles, and scandalizes. The  films of Abrantes and co. challenge outmoded distinctions between 'art  cinema' and artists’ films, between work
that travels the festival circuit and work that belongs in a gallery.

- Dan Sullivan, Film Comment

With  a penchant for genre subterfuge and a style that distinctly shuttles  between a jerky (and somewhat quirky) amateurism and a stately Super  16mm grandeur, [Gabriel Abrantes] evokes, twists, and turns Hollywood’s  conventions into beguiling and breathtaking devices.

- Andréa Picard, Cinema Scope

From  the beginning, Abrantes has interrogated the concept of privilege,  cross-examined the privileged perspective and made it [his] prevailing  subject. His bewitching movies deal in the imbalance hardwired into  desire across lines of class and culture and, as Gang of Four put it,  'The problem of leisure / What to do for pleasure.'

- Nick Pinkteron, Sight & Sound

(Available to download after screening date)

bottom of page