20 December 2020
It is easy to get a sense of the vivid atmosphere that directors Filipa Reis and João Miller Guerra will seek to conjure in their project Légua. The film’s main character is the Casa da Botica, a manor house in the rural village of Légua in northern Portugal, cared for by two friends Ana and Emilia. Through their experience the film will investigate the universal themes of life and death as well rural change and migration – captured together on 16mm.
Emilia, aged 70, has looked after the house for over 40 years until she herself requires the care of Ana, 50, when her health begins to deteriorate. Together with a local priest, and the house itself, the film is a portrait of this changing corner of Portugal and a disappearing rural culture. The relationship between the two friends is the central concern of this film, with the visceral reality of age, change, and death, etched onto the bodies of these characters as they weather the changing seasons together in the manor house.
The house itself is one familiar to the director-duo, as a family home where the director João Miller Guerra spent part of his childhood and to which Filipa Reis gradually became attached. The characters themselves have a basis in reality also, added to and transformed in the development process. The death of João’s father, and the intensity of that experience, has also shaped this project.
Filipa Reis & Joao Miller at IFFR 2018
Producers Rachel Ellis & Alexandre Gavras
After many years of documentary and television experience, Djon Africa, the Cape Verde-set debut feature fiction film of the directors, premiered at IFFR 2018 in the Tiger Competition. In 2008 they founded their production company, Uma Pedra No Sapato, based in Lisbon, where they live and work. Rachel Daisy Ellis of Brazilian company Desvia also joins the project as co-producer.