A film by Carlos Saboga

Starring Anna Mouglalis, Simão Cayatte, Johan Leysen

Her mother just died. Her father isn’t the one she thought.

Elisa ends up jammed between an uncertain past and an obstructed future. Her quest for her real father leads her to a phantasmal present. Bumping into speaking dead bodies, failing memories, retired torturers, will she ever know the truth?

Release date


Anna Mouglalis - Elisa

Simão Cayatte - David
Johan Leysen - Tom
Didier Sandre - Uriel
Marisa Paredes - Pilar
Rui Morrison - Fontana
Hélène Patarot - Maria
José Neto - Martim
Anabela Brígida - Odete
Ana Padrão - Inês


Direction and screenplay CARLOS SABOGA

Cinematography Mário Barroso
Production Designer Maria José Branco
Costumes Isabel Branco
Director Assistant José Maria Vaz da Silva
Production Manager Ana Pinhão Moura
Editing Paulo Mil Homens
Sound Ricardo Leal, António Lopes e Miguel Martins
Producer Paulo Branco
Production Company Alfama Films
with the participation of Canal +
with the support of CNC Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée

Anna Mouglalis

Born in 1978, Anna Mouglalis attended the French "Conservatoire national supérieur d’art dramatique" until 2001. She becomes known to the audience at the end of 2000 when she appears in Claude Chabrol's "Merci pour le chocolat". She later is seen in "Novo" by Jean-Pierre Limosen - where she is in a leading role for the first time - and "Romanzo criminale" by Michele Placido. She played the role of three great French women : Simone de Beauvoir in the TV movie "Les amants du Flore" by Ilan Duran Cohen, Coco Chanel in Jan Kounen's "Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky", and Juliette Gréco in Joann Sfar's "Gainsbourg : vie héroïque". She also appears in Samuel Benchétrit's films "J'ai toujours rêvé d'être un gangster" (2008) and "Chez Gino" (2011).

Anabela Brígida

Anabela Brigida a étudié l'art dramatique à l’École Supérieure de Théâtre et de Cinéma de Lisbonne et a suivi un cours de comédie au Studio Lee Strasberg à Londres. Elle a a travaillé avec Ávila Costa, Sandra Faleiro, José Peixoto, Juvenal Garcês, António Simão, André Murraças, João Lourenço et Bruno Bravo. Au cinéma, Anabela a joué dans les films de Manuel Mozos, Rita Antunes, Marta Pessoa et bien d'autres.

José Neto

A long carreer of both acting and directing plays in national theatres, José Neto has collaborated with the main Portuguese theatres such as Teatro Nacional D. Maria, Teatro da Cornucópia, Teatro da Trindade, Teatro da Garagem and Companhia Karnart. José Neto was also an actor in features by Joaquim Leitão, José Nascimento, Luís Galvão Teles and Leonel Vieira.

Hélène Patarot

Hélène Patarot's career is divided between theater, cinema and TV, and between France and Great Britain. She notably played in movies by Alain Resnais, Jean-Jacques Annaud, Peter Brook and Laurence Ferreira-Barbosa.

Rui Morrison

Between 1976 and 1996, Rui Morrison was a famous radio speaker in Portugal, through his very popular show "Morrison Hotel". He appeared twice in movies with screenplays by Carlos Saboga : Mario Barroso's "Doomed Love" and Raul Ruiz's "Mysteries of Lisbon". In 2010, he is awarded with the Portuguese Golden Globe for best actor for his performance in Fernando Lopes's "O sorrisos do destino".

Marisa Paredes

Marisa Paredes’s unique talent was recognized several times, including two nominations for the Goya Awards. An exceptional actress in Pedro Almodóvar’s films (with whom she has collaborated in "All About my Mother", "The Flower of My Secret", "High Heels" or "The Skin I Live In"), Marisa Paredes is, above all, one of the most important faces of Spanish cinema. Her charismatic presence could also be seen in films of prominent filmmakers like Manoel de Oliveira ("Magic Mirror"), Roberto Benigni ("Life is Beautiful"), Arturo Ripstein ("Deep Crimson") and Raúl Ruiz, who directed Marisa Paredes in "Three Lives and Only One Death".

Didier Sandre

An accomplished theatre comedian, Didier Sandre has appeared in movies by directors Régis Wargnier, Romain Goupil and Éric Rohmer. He already played alongside Anna Mouglalis in the TV movie "Les amants du Flore" by Ilan Duran Cohen.

Johan Leysen

Born in Belgium in 1950, Johan Leysen appeared in over 130 movies and series since 1977. He can be seen in Jean-Luc Godard's "Je vous salue Marie", Patrice Chéreau's "Queen Margot", Radu Mihaileanu's "Train of life", Valeria Sarmiento's "L'inconnu de Strasbourg", Christophe Gans's "Brotherhood of the Wolf" and, recently, Philippe Ramos's "The silence of Joan".

Simão Cayatte

An actor and director in both cinema and theatre, Simão Cayatte lives and works between Lisbon, London and New York. As an actor, he worked with directors Werner Schroeter and Roberto Faenza. His short films received several prizes : "The Blind Voyeur" got the jury's prize at the FILMAKA Film Festival in 2007 ; "A viagem" was selected in the Cinéfondation at the Festival de Cannes 2011.

Ana Padrão

One of the most praised and well known actresses in Portugal, Ana Padrão has worked with many esteemed filmmakers such as Fernando Lopes, João César Monteiro, Jorge Silva Melo, António Pedro Vasconcelos, Mário Barroso, Raúl Ruiz and Bruno de Almeida. Her carreer as an actress has also gone beyond borders to international productions such as the feature “Gigola” or the adaptation of José Saramago’s novel “The Stone Raft”.

  • Rome International Film Festival 2012

    Official Selection

Carlos Saboga

Director’s Statement

This story has been inside me for a long time.

When I started writing, I was inspired by a picture of two men that connected to a very strong political context - that of Portugal in the 1970s. It strongly echoed my personal life and interrogations about that era.
Then I grew attached to another kind of character : those who survive and those who live, carrying the dead inside them. That is why Elisa's story became central. Her resemblance to her mother creates a bridge between two eras, two countries, two "fathers" and two arts (photography and cinema).
This film is about dead people but also about the future, Elisa's future. It ends in a graveyard, but bathed in light, with the sea in the horizon.

The character rather than the plot.
The actor rather than the camera.
The body rather than the psychology.
The photo out of the past rather than the flash-back heading back there.
The voice as much as the face.
The off-screen as much as the set.
The hypothesis that the key in a movie, is what isn’t seen.

Carlos Saboga

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