SFF favourite Kleber Mendonça Filho’s (Aquarius, Sydney Film Prize, 2016) 2023 Cannes-selected cinematic essay explores the once hallowed cinemas in his hometown in Brazil, his family, filmmaking… and ghosts.
The Brazilian city of Recife has been home to Mendonça Filho’s family since the 1970s. The family’s coastal apartment is where the director grew up, made his earliest films and even shot portions of his first feature Neighbouring Sounds
(SFF 2012). And Recife is where he discovered cinema in the grand picture palaces of the time, now mostly shuttered, or converted into tacky shopping centres. Shot over decades, the film cleverly intercuts archival and contemporary footage with scenes from Neighbouring Sounds
. And then there’s the ghost of course, and a curious cab driver with an unusual power. With a delightful, humorous narration by Mendonça Filho himself, Pictures of Ghosts
is a glorious love letter to his historian mother Joselice, his neighbourhood and the films and cinemas that made him.