Cidade Rabat (2023)

March 25th, 2024
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Susana Nobre | Raquel Castro, Paula Barcia, Laura Afonso | Drama 101

Portuguese director Susana Nobre won the prestigious La Femis Scholars’ Award with her short film Provas, Exorcismos. She is back in the Berlinale with Cidade Ribat a follow-up to her unusual feature No Táxi do Jack, a part-road movie part-ethnological portrait of small-town rural Portugal.

Grief and the unsuspecting consequence of mourning are the focus of this laconic drama that centres on 40 year old Helena (Castro), a typical 21st century ‘everywoman’ who seems to take life in her stride, juggling a lover, an ex-husband, a daughter, and her elderly mother – who we meet briefly in an early vignette – and whose death is viewed as just another daily task to be dealt with: we watch her choosing a casket with her sister. Yet, despite her obvious sadness the death provides an unexpected relief for Helena who has been so weighed down with her responsibilities and can now finally let her hair down, and she does.

With its limpid colours and artful compositions Cidade Ribat is quotidian yet thematically rich as a study of just how much 21st century women have to deal with and accomplish in their seemingly mundane everyday lives. Cidade Ribat is testament to how the world has moved on for women since the days of Jeanne Dealmann, yet this liberation and freedom has brought with it infinite complications. MT



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