Bruno Moraes Cabral
Portugal, 29 min

“Initiation ceremonies” are a feature of life at the start of each academic year in Portugal. Under the orders of their elders, entire cohorts of new students crawl in the mud, mime sexual acts, drink one beer after another and repeat obscenities at the tops of their voices. A penetrating look at a rite of passage both modern and primitive, part friendly good nature part causal fascism.

“It is always easy to obey if you dream of commanding”, wrote Jean-Paul Sartre.

During the extensive “initiation” ceremonies organized in Portuguese universities at the start of each academic year, entire cohorts of new students meekly submit to the orders of their elders. Without protest, they crawl in the mud, mime sexual acts, drink one beer after another and shout the worst obscenities at the tops of their voices. The games staged by the “old hands” are all about power, humiliation and submission. This impressive documentary goes right to the heart of a rite of passage both modern and primitive, sometimes funny, often pathetic, a blend of friendly good nature and casual fascism.  Alternating close-ups and panoramic shots, the filmmaker invites us to stand back and take a sociologist’s view. Before our eyes, the custom (‘praxe’ in Portuguese) becomes ‘praxis’: a symbolic and falsely transgressive practice which apes an alienating society under cover of caricature and is deemed to usher young people into adulthood by reducing them to slavery.

Alessia Bottani

Translation BMP Translations

Trailer

Duration
29 min
Year
2011
Country
Portugal
Section
Compétition Internationale Courts Métrages
Language
Portuguese
Subtitle
English
Production
Bruno Moraes CabralCarlos Isaac Pereira

Compétition Internationale Courts Métrages

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