03: Paulo Rocha

5 April, 2019 - 18:30

“Two of the most beautiful films of the ‘80s on Japan are shot by Paulo Rocha. A Ilha Dos Amores and A Ilha de Moraes are long studies-tributes to the life of Wenceslau de Moraes, the Portuguese poet who loved Japan where he spent most of his life. [...] These films, born after a preparation of over a decade, are the extraordinary result of a double love of their author, both for Moraes and for Japan (and already in the title there is the game of the anagram Moraes-Amores), with Rocha who ends up identifying with the character he studied, chasing the same ghosts, the two loves Oyone and Koharu, lost by the poet. ‘And have you ever met Koharu?’ An old Japanese man who had met Moraes asks him. It’s the last scene in the movie, and Rocha seems ready to remain on the Island of Love too.” — Marco Giusti

A Ilha de Moraes (Moraes’s Island)

Paulo Rocha

Made as a ‘twin’ of A Ilha Dos Amores, A Ilha de Moraes is a poetic documentary on the enigmatic life of Wenceslau de Moraes, the great Portuguese writer who, like Paulo Rocha himself, had a profound fascination for Asian cultures and lived in Japan from 1912 until his death in 1929. Rocha, who served as a cultural attaché for his country in Japan from 1975 to 1983, visited places where Moraes was still remembered, interviewed the writer’s descendants, consulted archives and rummaged through diaries, photographs and manuscripts in order to establish an intimate dialogue with his life and work, whilst expanding to the history of Portugal, Europe and the Far East. Above all he set out on a new journey, from Lisbon to Macao and Kobe until he reached Tokushima, where Moraes lived through the final period of his life and where Rocha tracks down, between the city and the cemetery, the living presence of places and the respectful memories left behind by this remarkable writer. This film was developed in close collaboration with filmmaker and writer Haneda Sumiko, who was a founding member of Iwanami Productions, together with other filmmakers including, notably, Shinsuke Ogawa and Noriaki Tsuchimoto.


Restored in its original version by Cinemateca Portuguesa – Museu do Cinema.