Poet: Fernando Pessoa

from Tabacaria (The Tobacconist’s) by Álvaro de Campos (Fernando Pessoa)

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This is Azulejo ou l’illusion visuelle, an “animated film by Kolja Saksida made in the two week workshop in Lisbon, Portugal,” according to the description on Vimeo from ZVVIKS, the Slovenian Institute for Film and Audiovisual Production. A note at the end of the film adds that it was inspired by a painting on tiles representing Lisbon before the great earthquake of 1755.

The film includes just the first four lines of the poem in the soundtrack, with a French translation in titling. Here’s the English translation given in the description:

I am nothing.
I’ll never be anything.
I can not want to be anything.
Apart from this, I have in me all the dreams of the world.

This is one of the poems Pessoa wrote under the “heteronym” of Álvaro de Campos. Here’s the complete, much longer text and here’s one blogger’s attempt at a translation.

Eu (não) me resigno (I (don’t) give up) by Fernando Pessoa

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Alexandre Braga directed this film for BASE Comunicação Audiovisual, who uploaded it to Vimeo:

From the poetry of Fernando Pessoa, this visual message proposes a moment of introspection and places us in a universe of thought: The man, once again trying to reach the divine.

All this happens in a kind of sanctuary: The top of the highest mountains in a small island in the middle of the Atlantic.

Of particular interest to me here was the way the filmmaker went beyond the usual subtitle approach for the English translations of each line, and integrated them into the film as text animations, resulting in one of the more thoroughly bilingual poetry films I’ve seen.