At the Marrakech Film
Festival, Cristèle Alves Meira's first feature film won the jury award,
presided by Italian director Paolo Sorrentino. At the Amiens Film Festival in
France, "Alma Viva" received a special mention. These two awards join
five other distinctions, already announced at the weekend, at the Caminhos do
Cinema Português festival, in Coimbra.
In this festival, it won the prizes for best direction, original screenplay, secondary interpretation for actress Ana Padrão, the revelation prize for Lua Michel and the prize of the International Federation of Film Societies.
Currently being shown in Portuguese cinemas, "Alma Viva" focuses on Salomé, a young girl, daughter of Portuguese emigrants in France, who spends the summer in a village with her grandmother with whom she has a strong spiritual connection with.
Salomé will witness her grandmother's death and suspects that she has been poisoned by witchcraft by another woman in the village. While the family organises the funeral, Salomé believes she is accompanied by her grandmother's spirit and tries to avenge her death.
The film is also a portrait of Portuguese emigration, of the families that are split between those who stay and those who leave, and the complex social and economic differences that are born out of this.
The film's story "was completely inspired by powerful and mysterious stories I heard by the fireplace. Those stories are almost like the archaic memory of Portugal, the matrix of our culture and I wanted to go back to those traditions and tell those stories through cinema, to be in that transmission of culture", explained Cristèle Alves Meira to Lusa agency, last May, shortly before the premier in Cannes.
"Alma Viva", produced by Midas Filmes in co-production with France and Belgium, is Portugal's candidate nomination for the 2023 Oscars.