For 48 years, the Salazar dictatorship held Portugal in its grip. To show us its true face, Susana de Sousa Dias needs only to show the dossier photos of political prisoners—accompanied by the voices of these men and women recalling the period. The Carnation Revolution of 1974 brought liberation. “Life returned to normal,” explains one of the former prisoners, “What's left is the bad memory of the things you experienced and that you will never get out of your head.”
The former prisoners recall memories of arrests and years spent in captivity, of violence, torture, and humiliation; of disgust and outrage, and their only possible form of resistance was to remain silent and to own the way they stared down the camera of the secret police. There’s just a single smile to be seen, one that the person concerned now looks back on with mixed feelings.
De Sousa Dias’ stripped-back form makes for lucid and powerful storytelling, with the portraits and personal recollections combining to evoke the regime of terror established under Salazar. A powerfully eloquent and multi-award-winning minimalist documentary.