At an Uncertain Time

A Uma Hora Incerta

A film by Carlos Saboga

Starring Joana Ribeiro, Paulo Pires, Judith Davis, Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet

1942, Portugal. In a country ruled by dictator António de Oliveira Salazar, two French refugees, Boris and Laura, are arrested. Inspector Vargas is instantly attracted to the young woman and decides to hide both refugees in his house, an empty hotel where he lives with his daughter Ilda and his gravely ill wife. Ilda then discovers the presenceof the refugees and, consumed by jealousy, she will try to make them disappear at any cost…

Release date


Joana Ribeiro - Ilda

Paulo Pires - Vargas
Judith Davis - Laura
Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet - Boris
Filipa Areosa - Deolinda
Pedro Lima - Jasmim
Ana Padrão - Marta (Special Participation)
Joana de Verona - Madalena
João Paulo Santos (Kid) - Pide
Filipe Crawford - Announcer (voice)


Script and Direction: Carlos Saboga

Cinematographer: Mário Barroso
Art Direction: Zé Branco
Music: Alain Jomy
Assistant Director: José Maria Vaz da Silva
Editing: Monique Dartonne
Produced by Paulo Branco

A Leopardo Filmes production
With the support of Câmara Municipal da Mealhada, RTP and ICA

Carlos Saboga

Born in Portugal in 1936, Carlos Saboga has worked as a screenwriter and translator as well as journalist and assistant director.

International critical acclaim for his work began in the 1970s. In 1984, he wrote the screenplay for “O Lugar do Morto” by António-Pedro Vasconcelos. In 1999 he collaborated again with Vasconcelos in “Jaime”, winner of the Special Prize of the Jury in the San Sebastian International Film Festival and of the “Cannes Junior” award at the Cannes Film Festival. The miniseries “Les Filles du Maître de Chai”, directed by François Luciani in 1997, received the Grand Prix du Sénat for best French series and seven nominations for the “7 d’Or”. In 2004 and 2007 he collaborated with Mário Barroso in “O Milagre Segundo Salomé” and “Um Amor de Perdição”. These two films were selected for several of the biggest film festivals in the world, including San Sebastian International Film Festival and Locarno Film Festival.

In 2010, Saboga adapted Portuguese author Camilo Castelo Branco for the screenplay of “Mysteries of Lisbon”, Raul Ruiz’ last film. The 4h30 long saga was applauded by critics and public alike and was selected for dozens of film festivals around the world, including the Toronto Film Festival, the New York Film Festival and the São Paulo International Film Festival. It won several international awards, including the Prix Louis-Delluc, the Best Directing Award at the San Sebastian International Film Festival and the Critics Award at the São Paulo International Film Festival. Two years later, Saboga wrote “Lines of Wellington”, directed by Valeria Sarmiento, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival. That same year, at 76, he directed his first feature, “Photo”. Presented at the Official Selection of the Rome Film Festival, the film was commercially released in both Portugal and France.


“At An Uncertain Time” – 2015
“Photo” – 2012

“At An Uncertain Time” by Carlos Saboga – 2015
“Photo” by Carlos Saboga – 2012
“Lines of Wellington” by Valeria Sarmiento – 2012
“Mysteries of Lisbon” by Raúl Ruiz – 2010
“Um Amor de Perdição” by Mário Barroso – 2007
“O Milagre Segundo Salomé” by Mário Barroso – 2004
“Jaime” by António-Pedro Vasconcelos – 1999
“Les filles du maître de chai” by François Luciani – 1997
“Le trajet de la foudre” by Jacques Bourton – 1994
“Le fils d'un autre” by Michel Lang – 1992
“Un ballon dans la tête” by Michaëla Watteaux – 1992
“Adeus Princesa” by Jorge Paixão da Costa – 1992
“Aqui D'El Rei!” by António-Pedro Vasconcelos – 1992
“Retrato de Família” by Luís Galvão Teles – 1991
“Matar Saudades” by Fernando Lopes – 1988
“O Lugar do Morto” by António-Pedro Vasconcelos – 1984

Joana Ribeiro

After completing an acting for film workshop at the New York Film Academy, Joana Ribeiro began in 2012 in the unanimously acclaimed TV series “Dancing Days”. Following this success, she went on to play one of the main characters in both “Sol de Inverno” and “Poderosas”, which is still running.

Winner of the 2013 Novos prize, in Lux magazine’s Television and Female Personality category, Joana Ribeiro is regarded at 23 as one of the most promising actresses in the Portuguese artistic landscape.

Selected filmography:
“At an Uncertain Time”, by Carlos Saboga – 2015
“Poderosas” (TV Series) – 2015
“Sol de Inverno” (TV Series) – 2013-2014
“Dancin’ Days” (TV Series) – 2012-2013

Paulo Pires

He first appeared on the big screen in 1994 in José Àlvaro Morais’ “Zefiro”, but his acting career took a decisive turn when he starred in “Cinco Dias, Cinco Noites” by José Fonseca e Costa in 1996, and progressively put aside his modeling career.

His acting path was consolidated by theatre experience, namely at the Teatro Aberto and at the Teatro Nacional D. Maria II. He also regularly appeared in TV series and films, both national and international. On the big screen, Paulo Pires collaborated with filmmakers such as Valeria Sarmiento, Raul Ruíz, Mário Barroso and Joaquim Leitão, among others.

Selected filmography:
“At an Uncertain Time”, by Carlos Saboga – 2015
“Quarta Divisão”, by Joaquim Leitão - 2013
“Linhas de Wellington”, by Valeria Sarmiento – 2012
“Second Life”, by Miguel Gaudêncio and Alexandre Valente - 2009
“Um Amor de Perdição”, by Mário Barroso - 2008
“Do Outro Lado do Mundo”, by Leandro Ferreira - 2008
“Até Amanhã Camaradas” (Série Televisiva), by Joaquim Leitão – 2005
“Milagre Segundo Salomé”, by Mário Barroso – 2004
“Maria e as Outras”, by José de Sá Caetano
“O Fascínio”, by José Fonseca and Costa - 2003
“Fúria de Viver” (Série Televisiva) - 2002
“Alta Fidelidade”, by Tiago Guedes and Frederico Serra - 2000
“Jornalistas” (Série Televisiva) – 1999-2000
“Médico de Família” (Série Televisiva) - 1998
“Cinco Dias, Cinco Noites”, by José Fonseca e Costa - 1996
“Zéfiro”, by José Álvaro Morais - 1993

Judith Davis

After studying philosophy at the Sorbonne, Judith Davis attended the Ecole de Théâtre Claude-Mathieu from which she graduated in 2004.

Her first big role as an actress came a year later in a TV show, but she made her big screen debut in 2007 in Laurent Boutonnat’s “Jacquou le Croquant”, based on the novel by Eugène Le Roy. Since then, she has held the main part in films such as “Je te mangerais” by Sophie Laloy, “Viva la Libertá” by Roberto Andò or, more recently, “Trois Souvenirs de Ma Jeunesse” by Arnaud Desplechin.

Selected filmography:
“At an Uncertain Time”, by Carlos Saboga – 2015
“Trois Souvenirs de Ma Jeunesse” by Arnaud Desplechin – 2015
“Viva a Liberdade” by Roberto Andò – 2013
“Je Ne Suis Pas Mort” by Mehdi Ben Attia – 2012
“La Ligne Blanche” by Olivier Torres – 2010
“Semanas Alternadas... e Metade das Férias Escolares”, by Ivan Calbérac – 2009
“Réfractaire”, by Nicolas Steil – 2009
“Je te Mangerais”, by Sophie Laloy - 2009
“Jacquou o Guerreiro”, by Laurent Boutonnat – 2007

Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet

Born in Normandy, Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet was a member of the Paris Opera children’s choir, where he was a solist. In 2002, he completed his theater training at the Ecole des Enfants de la Comédie, and made his big screen debut as one of the protagonists in André Téchiné’s “Les Egarés” the following year. In 2006, he got a role in Nicole Garcia’s “Selon Charlie” (Official Selection in Competition at the Cannes Film Festival), and in 2007 in Christophe Honoré’s “Les Chansons d’Amour”. His collaboration with Christophe Honoré continued with “La Belle Personne” the following year.

In 2010, he took part in “Mistérios de Lisboa” by Raúl Ruiz, and in 2011 in Robert Guédiguian’s « Les Neiges du Kilimanjaro ».

Selected filmography:
“At an Uncertain Time”, by Carlos Saboga – 2015
“As Neves de Kilimanjaro”, by Robert Guédiguian – 2011
“Mistérios de Lisboa” (Mini-series), by Raúl Ruiz – 2010
“A Princesa de Montpensier”, by Bertrand Tavernier – 2010
“Black Heaven - O Outro Mundo”, by Gilles Marchand – 2010
“Réfractaire”, by Nicolas Steil – 2009
“O Exército do Crime”, by Robert Guédiguian – 2009
“A Bela Junie”, by Christophe Honoré – 2008
“As Canções de Amor”, by Christophe Honoré – 2007
“Aos Olhos de Charlie”, by Nicole Garcia – 2006
“Os Fugitivos”, by André Téchiné – 2003

Filipa Areosa

She was trained at the Escola Professional de Teatro de Cascais and, from 2005 on, she took part in various plays directed by Carlos Avilez.

She was first noticed on TV in 2012 and starred as a protagonist in the shows “Morangos com Açúcar”, “Mundo ao Contrário”, and more recently in RTP1’s acclaimed show “Os Filhos do Rock”.

Selected filmography:
“A uma Hora Incerta”, by Carlos Saboga – 2015
“Mar Salgado” (TV Series) – 2014-2015
“Os Filhos do Rock” (TV Series) – 2013-2014
“Mundo ao Contrário” (TV Series) – 2013
“Morangos com Açucar” (TV Series) – 2011-2012

Carlos Saboga

Director's Note

The background is the Second World War, as seen from a country which remains distant from it – Portugal. Subjected to a ruthless dictatorship, the country paradoxically becomes a refuge and a space of freedom for thousands of people who, otherwise, would have lost that freedom as well as their lives.

Most of the action takes place in a closed down hotel, in a closed-doors setting which is similar to that of the country under the dictatorship – isolated from the rest of the world and from history unfolding.

So it is a unique and crepuscular scenery, made of long dark deserted corridors, closed doors, dimly lit rooms, and filled with ghostlike, sheets-covered furniture. The paper ribbons put on the windows in prevention of hypothetical shrapnels filtrate the outside light, and contribute to creating an oppressive atmosphere, which is reminiscent of an aquarium – as accentuated by the many water photographs hung on the hotel walls (sea, rivers, lakes, waterfalls). Inside, the characters seem to be drifting in mid-water, under cover of desires exacerbated by imprisonment.

It is a half-lit universe where only outside noises can carry sporadic echoes of urban life, and the clamor of the war still happening somewhere else comes through the radio and the nearby film theatre’s newsreels’ soundtrack.

Carlos Saboga

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