The Nothingness Club (2023) Rotterdam Film Festival 2023

January 31st, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Edgar Pêra | Cast: Victoria Guerra, Miguel Nunes, Albano Jeronimo, Miguel Borges | Portugal Fantasy Drama, 92′

Edgar Pera fans will recognise the Portuguese auteur’s baleful character sketches (O Barao from the IFFR 2019 retrospective) in this stylish psychological thriller that dives into the deranged world of one of the 20th century’s most significant figures, the Portuguese poet and writer Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935), here played by Miguel Borges.

The Nothingness Club is possibly Pera’s most substantial and relatable film to date, a noirish mannered thriller that plunders the emotional vulnerabilities and vicissitudes of the creative psyche in exploring the many faces of Pessoa’s heteronyms, the three main being Ricardo Reis (Correia), Alvaro Campos (Jeronimo) and Alberto Caeiro (Nunes). At the poet’s literary salon the eponymous ‘Nothingness Club’, they argue, debate and spar with each other and with the poet himself, and Campos even engages with his only attested lover Ophelia (Guerra) who joins in, in her guise as a femme fatale. Highly entertaining for his devotees and enlightening for arthouse enthusiasts. MT


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