Hulha Branca

Hulha Branca

Hulha Branca

  • Manoel de Oliveira
  • Portugal
  • 1932, 8 min
Script: Manoel de Oliveira
Photography: António Mendes
Editing: Manoel de Oliveira
Color: Black and white
Language: Portuguese

The river breaks against the cliffs. The people who built a dam in the mountains have tried to tame the wilderness. The water produces electricity for the city and is illuminated in the darkness by its electric lights. The power plant is a fascinating piece of work, but water can always find the cracks in a concrete dam. This documentary about the opening of the hydro power plant in Ermal on the Rio Ave was filmed by the autodidactic Oliveira using the same camera as that used in his debut film. He also included in this film some of the unused material the director shot for Douro, Faina Fluvial. _ The foundation stone of the power plant was laid in 1932 by the director's father, Francisco José de Oliveira, a prominent industrialist and a pioneer in the field of water power technology, and also the first producer of electric light bulbs in Portugal. _ The director also further pursues the experimental use of film material, taking unique camera shots from a variety of angles, and these form the basis for a dynamic style of editing that creates the impression of the near fragmentation of the image. This instinctive composition, underscoring the uninterrupted flow of water, is subjected to the poetic outlook of a Heraclitean axiom. _ After its premiere in 1938 the film Hulha Branca was thought to have been lost, and it was not shown again until 1998 in the film club Cinemateca Portuguesa, after having been rediscovered.

Photo Gallery

Festival edition: 2006
Sections: Manoel de Oliveira
Exhibition format: 35 mm


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