Gabriel Abrantes, Portugal/Sri Lanka/Denmark
Taprobana, now known as Sri Lanka, at the end of the 16th century. The largest island in the Indian Ocean is ruled by the Portuguese as a colonial power. An elephant wallows in the water. It heaves and lowers itself pleasurably, its trunk sucked full, snorting. A man relishes a woman. They have sex in the open air. As the man climaxes, the elephant climbs out of the water. The man is Luís Vaz de Camões, Portuguese poet and later, national hero. Now he is still an officer serving the Portuguese crown. Banished from Lisbon, he lives in exile and works on the only thing that matters to him, The Lusiads. In the formal epic based on Homer’s Odyssey, he outlines a journey through time, examining the heroic history of Portuguese conquests. The film is a subjective, comical journey exploring the creative origins of this work. Abrantes draws close to his hero by means of private insights. At the end, Camões stands before the poet’s Olympus and a conversation ensues.
Born in North Carolina, USA, in 1984, Gabriel Abrantes studied at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York, at the National School of Fine Arts in Paris and at Le Fresnoy in Tourcoing, France. He has made 15 short films and a feature film and his work has screened at international film festivals including Venice, Locarno and Toronto. His work as a visual artist has been exhibited in Boston, Tokyo and Paris.