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Suddenly My Thoughts Halt

2014 DOK Leipzig, Doc International Competition
Portugal | 2014 | 114 min. | Portuguese | English subtitles | International Premiere
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Suddenly My Thoughts Halt | Pára-me de repente o pensamento

Granted, celebrating a 131st anniversary may be a little weird, but it suits the setting. We are in a psychiatric hospital in Porto. The film first introduces some of the protagonists – already with stunning cinematography and an editing rhythm that from the first sequence seems entirely focused on the very idiosyncratic truth of this place. How can the thin line between mental normality and madness be described?
Jorge Pelicano uses an ingenious dramatic trick by introducing an actor. Directed by their therapist, the patients are rehearsing a 131st anniversary play. They are joined by Miguel, who plays the part of a 19th century schizophrenic Portuguese poet. More precisely: he plays a hallucinating horse. In fact, he moves into the hospital for two weeks, shares a room and meals, rehearsals and therapy sessions. And he attacks. Observes. Creates situations. Improvises. Inside-outside communication. Madness-normality. Soon we see him galloping through the grounds as he rehearses the hallucinating horse. The longer we follow him and the delightful residents of the hospital, the more we realise: the transition is blurred. And that is testimony to the outstanding narrative quality of this extraordinary film.
Matthias Heeder
Original Title: Pára-me de repente o pensamento
Country: Portugal
Year: 2014
Language: Portuguese
Subtitle: English
Runtime: 114 min.
Format: HD Videofile (ProRes 422 HQ 1080p)
Color: Colour
Director: Jorge Pelicano
Producer: Renata Amaro, Rosa Silva
Cinematographer: Jorge Pelicano
Editor: Jorge Pelicano, Pedro Mouzinho
Sound: Pedro Miguel Carvalho, Sara Godinho, Rui Pereira
Music: Frankie Chavez, Irene Orta Cintado
Renata Amaro
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The texts to the Documentary Competition films and the International Programme films were written by the members of the selection committee. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. All articles where no author’s name is given are production notes.