Bárbara Virgínia was the first Portuguese woman to direct a feature film. Her surrealist/expressionist debut, Três dias sem Deus, was promptly selected for the first edition of the Cannes Film Festival in 1946. She was also the youngest female director at the time. However, she never received the recognition she deserved female pioneers simply didn’t make the history books. Owing to a fire, just under 26 minutes (without sound) of her debut has survived.
Filmmaker Luísa Sequeira goes in search of this flamboyant, progressive character. In her only short documentary, Aldeia dos Rapazes (1946), Virgínia has orphans look directly into the camera – an unusual stylistic device for those days. Virgínia was a breath of fresh air in conservative, patriarchal Portugal. Unfortunately, she never got the chance to make more films. Having moved to São Paolo, her fame faded. This documentary, with a wonderful melancholy score, finally takes her seriously.