Festival internacional Signos da Noite - Lisboa
International Festival Signs of the Night- Lisbon

18° Festival internacional Signos da Noite - Lisboa (6° Edição) - December 27-31, 2020


A Fallen Fruit

Amit Dubey
Cambodia / 2019 / 0:17:00

A cricket seller's son copes with the arrival of new members in his family.




This sereen, mysterious film stood out in many ways. It takes a little before we understand what is going on. Explained in pure visual language the filmmaker introduces us to this small family in rural Cambodia, something is wrong, someone is missing… Whether it is by war or some other trauma, this film reveals the most sereen expression of grief and reconciliation, how to accept death to be part of life..? Reminiscent to the work of renowned Thai filmmakers like Apichatpong Weerasethakul or Anocha Suwichakornpong. The metaphors are poetic, translated with a clearly defined personal visual language, revealing some profound cinematic qualities.


The film is a love letter to the Cambodian countryside which has created some of my best memories. I am delighted to be able to share a glimpse of the Cambodian way of life with the outside world.


A Thrush Flapping Its Wings Against The Wind

Alex Haldemann
Switzerland / 2020 / 0:16:20

Luis, a young worker on a farm, helps Vasco finish a contract to cut a huge amount of wood before winter, while his wife in Portugal is about to give birth. In the meantime, the tension mounts and the distance becomes unbearable.




"A Thrush Flapping Its Wings Against the Wind" by Alex Haldemann was deserving of a Main Award Honorable Mention because of its depiction of intimacy that is contrasted with the physical distance and rising tension of a young married couple. The isolation and longing that is conveyed, through innovative and almost abstract images, underlines just how much the young worker completing his contract on a farm is physically and psychologically separated from his wife back in their native Portugal before she gives birth to their child.


The Signs Award honours films, which treat an important subject in an original and convincing way


Diana Saqeb Jamal
Afghanistan / 2019/ 0:11:00

After surviving a suicide bomb attack, 12-year-old Roqaia finds herself in the middle of a media frenzy, as she deals with her trauma all by herself.




To make a film in a country still at war, criticizing its media coverage from all kinds of perspectives but focussing very much on the manipulation of the facts from all sides, this film reveals a new understanding of the forces at play where identity and image fill all kinds with media news feeds around the world. Such a strong contemporary subject visualized in many layers and dynamics by this talented female Afghani director, she truly deserves the Sign Award expressing perturbing aspects of reality in a surprising and sensitive way… This film truly makes a difference.



Matthew Karges
Germany / 2020 / 0:19:55

During a video conference, a young manager must decide whether to help his superiors cover up a fraud, or side with the whistleblower he knows is telling the truth.



Polymer by Matthew Karges was deserving of a Mention for the Signs Award for the way it uses ubiquitous modern communication technology (with allusions to current social distancing) to build tension and paranoia. The clandestine and seriously fraudulent practices of a company puts one loyal company member into the dilemma of turning a blind eye or supporting the ex-employee turned whistle-blower. The simple effect of using a conference call to unravel the lives of the faces we see is achieved excellently and memorably.


The Night Award honours films, which are able to balance ambiguity and complexity characterized by enigmatic mysteriousness and subtleness, which keeps mind and consideration moving

The Affected

Rikke Gregersen
Norway / 2020 / 0:13:00

Minutes before take off a situation occurs preventing an airplane from leaving. A passenger refuses to sit down in an attempt to prevent the deportation of a man inside the plane. The pilot suddenly finds himself in a position where he has to take a political stand he has no interest in taking




"The Affected" by Rikke Gregersen was chosen as the winner for the Night Award because of its conveyance of chaos and making involuntarily moral choices in an urgent situation that will lead to the tarnished dignity of one individual. The film puts the ideological cat amongst the pigeons and makes us ask ourselves what choice we would make if placed in the same position as the Pilot here. The ensuing confusion on the delayed flight is masterfully edited and even allows some humour.



Ana Maria Ferro Gomez
Colombia / 2020 / 0:20:00

For a long time Mercedes has been away from the house where she grew up, inside her there's still the scream of a girl who never spoke, now she has to make up front her past and get rid the whole plague fron those lands' roots and bury her pain.




This film by a young Colombian director is the subject of her thesis as a cinema student at Agustiniana University in Bogota. Her cinematographic discourse is very personal both emotionally and intellectually. It is enough to look on the one hand the filmed interview with her mother to understand how painful the treatment of her film is. And on the other hand it is enough to read her thesis to realize the reflexion that Ana Maria has both on the history of world cinema and on the preparation of a film, in this case “Pigs/Cerdos”. Her concern to transmit through images and sounds the oral testimony specific to her culture, its cursed representation on the screen and its analysis as a model are very successful directing “Pigs/Cerdos”. Until the semantics of the title of the film, “Cerdos” and the last intertitle written on the screen, “Ser dos” or “To be two” in Spanish, which consists of creating a deep link between two sisters out of the violence experienced in the life and in the narration: the adulterous mother, the rapist father, the abandoned sister… The filming of “Pigs/Cerdos” is a remarkable exercise of cinematographic mastery by a young director.


It is with great joy that we receive the news of each festival that selects us. A lot of joy, because our cinema, here in the state of Alagoas, is a nascent cinema, and is the result of years of struggle and dedication. I was moved by the words of the jury.


The Ferry
A Barca

Nilton Resende
Brazil / 2020 / 0:19:02

On Christmas Eve, two women engage in dialogue in a barge as it glides over the waters of a dark, icy pond. An unexpected event will leave its mark at the end of this crossing. The short film The Ferry (A Barca) is an adaptation of the short story "Natal na Barca"" (Christmas on the ferry, 1958), by Brazilian writer Lygia Fagundes Telles, who received the Camões Prize (the largest literary prize for Portuguese-speaking authors) in 2005. This tale is present in her book of short stories entitled Before the Green Ball (Antes do Baile Verde) (1970).




Fond of literature, professor, writer, Nilton Resende is a native from the northeast of Brazil. Admirer of Lygia Fagundes Telles, huge novelist of this Portuguese-speaking country (she is a member of Brazilian Academy of Letters and received the Camões Prize in 2005), he adapted with “The Ferry/A Barca”, one of her tales, “Christmas on the Barge/ Natal na Barca”, tragic, trivial, enigmatic, mythological. A narrative river crossing: a boat illuminated like a floating Christmas tree carries lonely souls. In addition to a fat, indifferent woman at the helm, an elegant woman smoking, a sleepy man on a bench and a young woman with a baby in her arms like a contemporary Virgin Mary. All seem apathetic and without any sense of otherness. Yet, following an insignificant gesture, the mother begins to tell the death of her eldest child, the disappearance of her husband and the illness of the baby. The lonely woman is interested and lifting up the cloth that covers the baby’s face realizes that he is dead. At the end of the trip, the mother comes down from the boat, with a real live baby in her arms. Is it a Christmas miracle or the crossing is between life and death in Caron’s boat? Finally, the elegant woman leaves again for a new crossing of the river, which in the meantime has changed colour. With “The Ferry/A Barca”, Nilton Resende offers us with a sure talent a beautiful illustration of magical realism dear to South American literature from Gabriel García Márquez to Jorge Amado via Jorge Luis Borges.


The Edward Snowden Award honors films, which offer sensitive (mostly) unknown informations, facts and phenomenons of eminent importance, for which the festival wishes a wide proliferation in the future

Imprisoned Light

Chi Him Yuen
China, Hong Kong / 2019 / 0:10:45

The story happen in the future of Hong Kong which the amendment of Fugitive Offenders Ordinance passed in Hong Kong, Hong Kong citizen can be extradite to mainland China according to China law without any trial in Hong Kong. A high school student Cheung Ching, her father is a journalist who work in Hong Kong and China, he was extradited to mainland China, a social worker Sin Yu who work in Ching's school try to help Cheng but facing many obstructions from school and social organization. But the obstruction mainly from practised self-censorship. Are we have to stop to help others?




Western short term thinking moves China rapidly to center stage. The world as we know it, is changing in a similar velocity. Still, in the west we seem to obscure the power of China's tentacles. Felt more and more everywhere around the globe but the different civilisations seem to clash mostly in places like Hong Kong or Xinjiang Province, formerly knows as East Turkmenistan. This friction is subtly made visible in this extraordinary film Imprisoned Light where a schoolteacher is challenged by her own social and moral values. Should a teacher defend minority’s, people with a different opinions when she finds herself living in a society demanding uniformity..? A school is a place for learning, a transformative period in everybody’s life. It’s this uniformity and bureaucracy that we try to avoid in our societies, which brings this film so subtly to the surface for an even more dramatic ending… The Edward Snowden Award honours films, which offer sensitive (mostly) unknown information, facts and phenomena of eminent importance, for which the festival wishes a wide proliferation in the future. The jury believes this film truly deserves the Edward Snowden Award.



Levente Kölcsey
Hungary / 2020 / 0:12:00

Wednesday, around ten o’clock. Between two classes, the headmaster is struggling with the problem of neon lights that have not arrived in time. Additionally, he has to deal with another administrative routine: one of his students is being taken out of school to find a job and support his family.



After learning that a new law would lower the age of compulsory schooling to sixteen, the young director, Levente Kölcsey, rebels against the idea that hundreds of teenagers, particularly of disadvantaged classes, would leave school to feed their families. “Break/Szünet” is a movie about the victims of this system, because despite the support of some teachers nothing can stop the process. The role of Zoli, the pupil of the film, is mute: his future is committed without asking for his own opinion. The families decide and the headmaster, who is representative of the system, has the last word only by signing a paper. The decision taken at the break, the break between classes and the resolution of all kinds of material problems including to change a defective light bulb, is reduced to a routine administrative approach. The style of “Break/Szünet” is cold, net and economical… like a break in life. The jury wishes to mention that the dramaturgy becomes particularly masterful thanks to the interpretation of one of the greatest Hungarian actors, Sandór Terhes. He is part of the troupe of Arpád Schilling’s Krétakör and has appeared in the films of Kornél Mundruczó, László Nemes and of Slovak director, György Kristóf’s “Out” (selected in Cannes in 2017). He gives the headmaster’s character an incredible feeling of weary humanity.