In the presence of: Ivo Ferreira
1971. António Lobo Antunes life is brutally interrupted when he is drafted into the Portuguese Army to serve as a doctor in one of the worst zones of the Colonial War - the East of Angola. Away from everything dear he writes letters to his wife while he is immersed in an increasingly violent setting. While he moves between several military posts he falls in love for Africa and matures politically. At his side, an entire generation struggles and despairs for the return home. In the uncertainty of war events, only the letters can make him survive.
"Ferreira initially shoots his handsome young military men like matinee idols, with the crispness of the black and white making their gradual decay all the more obvious. While there's no colour to be seen, it feels as though the palate changes as the war drags on, and as António's sympathies swing slowly towards the left. While it was a place of wartime horrors in the 1960s and 70s, Angola (where the film was shot) still looks beautiful, albeit in a rather stark manner. A black-and-white film where any clearly defined thought is communicated by an almost unseen female reader could easily be consigned to the always-vague label of arthouse cinema. But once the method of delivery is accepted, the movie elegantly immerses its audience in a nuanced world that depicts a largely forgotten war. Cartas da Guerra is a rich and haunting triumph." (The Upcoming)