Deixem-me ao menos Subir às Palmeiras / Let Me at least Climb the Palm Trees
(Fiction, Portugal, 1972, 85’, BW, Fr ST)
by Joaquim Lopes Barbosa
with Estevão Macunguel, Gabriel Chiau, Helena Ubisse, Malangatana Valente
Long shots of farm workers mistreated by the black foreman. In their beautiful house white owners smile. Tired of abuses, beatings, humiliations, the peasants try a gesture of revolt, quickly tamed by the boss. The young Dino will have the courage to leave.
“Cinema must be a front of guerrilha against taboos, pseudo-morality and commonplaces. Cinema is a weapon because it can alert people to think. It was a challenge. But I couldn’t do it any differently.” Joaquim Lopes Barbosa
The political police watched the shooting without worrying themsleves too much because the producer worked for the regime. In an attempt to avoid censorship, Lopes Barbosa had the cruel white foreman interpreted by an African and doubled the dialogues of the white owners in English. The peasants speak Ronga, a language of Mozambique.
The film is radical and committed but not a political manifesto. Its aesthetics are powerfully poetic. The frames and perspectives of the sequenced shots, the look on the peasants are of a pure lyricism. Songs of poignant beauty convey many scenes.