The School of Reis

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The School of Reis is a film theory concept relative to the teachings of Portuguese director António Reis, to his work, conceived with his wife Margarida Cordeiro, and to the works of the directors influenced by theirs.[1]

Origin of the Term[edit]

The term School of Reis was coined by film historian Haden Guest, director of the Harvard Film Archive, when referring to the influence exerted by the school of thought of Portuguese director António Reis through his didactics at his classes as professor of the Portuguese National Filmschool, from 1977 to 1991,[2] over generations of future Portuguese directors who learned under Reis' mentoring.

The term Reisian is sometimes applied in a similar fashion as Fordian or Tarkovskian, relative to the style of both the American director John Ford or the Russian director Andrey Tarkovsky.[3]

The Teachings of António Reis[edit]

António Reis taught classes at the Portuguese National Film School, such as Filmic Space, in 1977, and later Film Analysis, History of Image, Direction of Actors and Introduction to the Study of Image.[2]

One of the characteristics of his teaching method was that it was almost exclusively oral, existing very few written materials retaining his theory, in what could be stated to be a reflex of António Reis' beliefs in the ancient oral tradition.[4]

One of the most recognizable aspects of António Reis' aesthetics was his structuring of the cinematographical unity around the exploration of the limits of the possibilities of the match cut[5] producing visual rhymes, associations and understated meanings, clearly identifiable in works of his like Jaime or Trás-os-Montes.

Influence and Heirs of the School of Reis[edit]

António Reis' works had a major impact on the practices of contemporaries of his like Manoel de Oliveira, whom Reis assisted in his second feature, Rite of Spring,[6] in 1963; Paulo Rocha, having Reis written the script for his feature Change of Life; or João César Monteiro, whose quotations of Reis are clear in films as Recollections of the Yellow House, God's Comedy or Silvestre.[1]

However, Dennis Lim, in his article for the magazine Artforum, points out that "for today’s preeminent Portuguese filmmakers, no single figure has been more influential than António Reis."[7] Through his teachings, Reis has had a major impact in the work of subsequent filmmakers of whom he was a professor, as Joaquim Sapinho, Vítor Gonçalves, Pedro Costa, Manuela Viegas and João Pedro Rodrigues. Some of them, like Sapinho, Gonçalves or Viegas are today professors at the Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema, the current name for the former Portuguese National Film School.

Film Program[edit]

The film program known by The School of Reis: The Films and Legacy of António Reis and Margarida Cordeiro, curated by film scholar Haden Guest, was premiered at the Harvard Film Archive in May 2012,[1] followed by a presence at the Anthology Film Archives in June 2012[8] and at UCLA Film and Television Archive in July 2012.[9] It was the first complete retrospective of António Reis and Margarida Cordeiro's work outside their native Portugal, and is composed of eleven films:

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "The School of Reis official page at the Harvard Film Archive website". Retrieved 2012-07-01.
  2. ^ a b "Post on Reis' period as professor at the National Film School at the Official António Reis collection blog". Retrieved 2012-07-01.
  3. ^ "Article on Senses of Cinema on the term "Fordian"". Retrieved 2012-07-01.
  4. ^ "José Bogalheiro on António Reis classes at the official António Reis collection blog (in Portuguese)". Retrieved 2012-07-01.
  5. ^ "António Cabrita on António Reis classes at Expresso Newspaper (in Portuguese)". Retrieved 2012-07-01.
  6. ^ "Rite of Spring at The School of Reis official page at the Harvard Film Archive website". Retrieved 2012-07-01.
  7. ^ "Under The Influence, Dennis Lim article at ARTFORUM on The School of Reis". Retrieved 2012-07-01.
  8. ^ "The School of Reis page at the Anthology Film Archives website". Retrieved 2012-07-01.
  9. ^ "The School of Reis page at the UCLA Film & Television Archive website". Retrieved 2012-07-01.