Bitter Salty Synopsis
Using the technique of found-footage, this short film is about the Portuguese sea, about the sweat of the fishermen who leave, and the cry of the women who stay inland, inspired by the verses of Fernando Pessoa: “O salty sea, so much of whose salt / Is Portugal’s tears!” It is also an homage to Portuguese Cinema, and films such as ‘Maria do Mar‘ and ‘Ala-Arriba!‘ by Leitão de Barros, ‘Douro, Faina Fluvial‘ by Manoel de Oliveira, or ‘Nazaré‘ by Manuel Guimarães.
About Bitter Salty’s Filmmaker
Joana X was born in Porto in 1989. She lived in Porto and Lisbon in Portugal, Bologna and Palermo in Italy. Lately she has been working as a freelancer with the Lisbon based film production company, Take It Easy, and with the Cruzes Canhoto Gallery in Porto, in the areas of video, photography and design. She has worked on small films – fiction, documentary and animation – filming, editing or assisting the director. She has also worked on a small bookstore dedicated to poetry and theatre; and sometimes she writes and edits a couple of texts.
More from Bitter Salty’s Filmmaker
In 2010, I was 21, studying cinema in Bologna. For the Editing subject I had to make a short film about water. As I did not have any material to shoot, I decided to use the found-footage technique. Being away from my country for the first time made me feel something truly Portuguese. Maybe it was “saudade”, that non-translatable word that fills our literature, our music, our culture.
Faced with this feeling, I decided to make a little film about the Portuguese sea, about the sweat of the fishermen who leave and the cry of the women who stay, inspired by the verses of Fernando Pessoa: “O salty sea, so much of whose salt / Is Portugal’s tears!”
It is also an homage to Portuguese Cinema and films such as ‘Maria do Mar’ and ‘Ala-Arriba!’ by Leitão de Barros, ‘Douro, Faina Fluvial’ by Manoel de Oliveira, or ‘Nazaré’ by Manuel Guimarães, from which I chose to use images. The next step was to dismember these films and start putting together a new one, a kind of Frankenstein with pieces from here and there, trying to keep a coherent narrative and giving new meanings to shots taken from their original context.
Having seen Sofia Coppola’s ‘Marie Antoinette’ at the time, I was very aware of the decontextualized use of pop music in a historical film. Influenced by this, I chose a song from a Portuguese 80’s pop group, Heróis do Mar, and of course the name of the song was ‘Saudade’.
The film was only finished by the end of 2018 because when I was in Italy, I did not find any good copies of these films. For this reason and because it was just academic work, I decided at the time to use excerpts taken from the internet with very poor image quality.
When I returned to Portugal, I discovered that there were DVD versions of some of these films. And a couple of years later I found out a person who had the last movie I missed on VHS, which he promptly loaned it to me. So, 8 years later, here’s my humble homage to these men and these women, to those who leave and to those who stay.