Susana de Sousa Dias’ Luz Obscura is a beautifully crafted, deeply felt essay-film looking at the legacy of the Portuguese Estado Novo, or New State, led by António Oliveira de Salazar – the longest-lasting right-wing dictatorship in 20th century Europe.
Taking as its starting point photographs taken by the Portuguese political police (1926-1974), the film focuses on the treatment of political opponents to the regime, especially the Portuguese Communist Party. The central story is that of Octávio Pato who was imprisoned and tortured before spending 14 years in hiding, whilst the contemporary recollections of his three children form the soundtrack to this hidden history.
Luz Obscura reflects on how the authoritarian system operated to disrupt intimate family bonds, and how decades of trauma and repression still mould the present.
We’re delighted to be joined at the festival by Director Susana de Sousa Dias for a post-screening Q&A, hosted by Tatiana Heise.