Directly facing the camera Paulo de Figueiredo tells stories of his controversial work as a mercenary in the 1960s, in this haunting and uncomfortable documentary by Salomé Lamas. Through unconventional methods Lamas has created a work which explores trauma, guilt and memory in surprising and unsettling ways.
A mercenary sits in silence on a chair placed in an abandoned palace in Lisbon, as if posing for a portrait. Facing the camera, he begins narrating and performing his own history, constructing a record which slowly reveals in its turns of phrase and mismatched events a series of doubts and contradictions. The camera watches, relentlessly. Paulo narrates his involvement as a hired killer for special military forces during the Portuguese colonial war, the part he played in the GAL – Antiterrorist Liberation Group, a death squad illegally established by the Spanish government to annihilate high officials of ETA, and his work as a mercenary for the CIA in El Salvador. Rather than being interested in affirming the veracity of the historical record or in proving an official narrative, No Man’s Land dwells in the present moment of witnessing, the space inhabited by the performance of a memory. Refusing to linger on a static moral duality, throughout the film accuser and accused are frequently asked to change positions – at a certain point, after describing a series of crimes he committed, responding to a question by the director Paulo replies with one of his own 'How much is worth the life of a man? A man like me or men like them?' As the film’s own processes of making are slowly revealed, No Man’s Land creates a set or a stage where information or document are peripheral to the question of how one plays out and affirms as history his own personal truth. Paulo offers sublime portrayals of the cruelties and paradoxes of power and of the revolutions that brought it down, only to erect new bureaucracies, new cruelties and paradoxes. His work as a mercenary is in the fringe of these two worlds.
Denne filmen inngår i serien Et annet sted, her inne som presenterer eksempler på de siste tiårenes kunstneriske nyvinninger av etnografisk film. Serien presenterer program på Kunstnernes Hus Kino, nyskrevne essayer og tilhørende filmer på vår strømmetjeneste. Serien er kuratert av Silja Espolin Johnson og støttet av Norsk Filminstitutt.
Se Extinction av Salomé Lamas på vår Hjemmekino.
Salomé Lamas (f. 1987, Portugal) er en filmskaper og kunstner med en særinteresse for forholdet mellom fortelling, minner og historie. Hun utforsker det traumatiserte, undertrykte eller historisk usynlige – knyttet til blant annet "kolonial vold" eller menneskers utbytting av naturen. Hennes debutfilm No Man's Land [Terra de Ninguem] (2012) hadde internasjonal premiere på Berlinale og ble vist på mange store internasjonale filmfestivaler. Kortfilmene hennes har blitt presentert i kunst- og filminstitusjoner, inkludert Museum of Modern Art - New York, TATE modern -London, Hammer Museum - Los Angeles, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia - Madrid, Viennale - Wien, Bozar Center for Fine Arts - Brussel og Biennal of Moving Images - Genève.