Night cap with Comment Fernando Pessoa sauva le Portugal [How Fernando Pessoa Saved Portugal]
Do you have a particular connection with Portugal?
Yes, in the form of a chosen affinity. As with the Basques, there is something about the Portuguese and their culture that deeply resonates in me.
Is Fernando Pessoa a favorite poet of yours? Do you have a favorite poem?
Fernando Pessoa is perhaps the greatest European writer of the previous century, and in fact, with his heteronyms, he actually represents four or five writers. My favorite work is Mensagem (Message), a book of poems that expresses Portugal’s historic destiny, and a messianic hope.
Do you have a particular knowledge of the world of advertising?
Not at all, but, like everyone, I suffer its attacks, so I try to protect myself.
Did Fernando Pessoa really write this slogan? Did he encounter problems with censorship?
The story is absolutely true, except for the exorcism, which I invented, but which could very well have happened.
To what extent did you want to denounce the totalitarian excesses and political manipulation of the people by the government, with the collusion of religious leaders?
Above all, the film evokes a situation where Barbaria (which is how I refer to the geographical entity located between Canada and Mexico) dominates and colonizes not with their soldiers, but through the television and the Internet, advertising vehicles in the larger sense. But it is also an evocation of the artist’s condition: Pessoa dreamed of succeeding in business, but every one of his attempts in this field (there were others) ended in complete failure. Despite his genius, he died young, poor, and unknown outside of a small circle of Portuguese intellectuals. Even if this occurred amidst the tyranny of a fascist regime, his failure, in the case of the slogan that we evoke in this film, resulted in a 50-year ban in his country of Coca-Louca, a vehicle of the universal erosion of culture and of barbaric domination.
Does the short film format allow you any particular freedoms?
A film must have a length inherent to its subject, whether it is four hours or fifteen minutes long. This subject resulted in a 30-minute film, and I am happy with the content and length of the film.