Filmmaker Rui Simões premieres first fiction film at 80 on April 25th

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Portuguese director Rui Simões will premiere the feature film “Primeira Obra” on April 25, his first fiction film in 50 years of career and 80 years of life, producer Real Ficção announced today.

“Primeira Obra” is a fiction film, but it is also autobiographical, taking as its starting point one of Rui Simões’ first documentaries, “Bom Povo Português”, from 1980.

In the film, Michel, a young researcher of Portuguese descent, arrives in Portugal to “research the unfulfilled revolution. […] In conversation with Simão, a historic filmmaker, Michel seeks answers for his film. When he meets Susy, an environmental activist, he realizes that love is the way”, says the synopsis.

The cast of “Primeira Obra” includes Zé Bernardino, Ulé Baldé, Joana Brandão, Maty Galey, among others, as well as actor António Fonseca, in an ‘alter ego’ of Rui Simões himself.

This feature film received financial support from the Instituto do Cinema e Audiovisual in 2020, after 40 years of attempts by Rui Simões to get funding for a fiction film.

“I can’t complain, I love making documentaries, but I’m sorry I never made fiction. I’m sorry I didn’t get to know Portuguese actors, I didn’t get to know that creative side of me that I wasn’t allowed to. It was sad to be in the movies and not be able to work with creatives, with actors. That side doesn’t exist in documentaries,” the director told Lusa in 2020.

Author of documentaries such as “Deus, Pátria, Autoridade” (1975), “Bom povo português” (1980), “Ruas da amargura” (2008), “Ilha da Cova da Moura” (2010), “Guerra ou Paz” (2012) and “No país de Alice” (2021), Rui Simões turns 80 on March 20.

His birthday and the 50th anniversary of his career will be celebrated that day with a screening of “Primeira Obra” at the Cinemateca Portuguesa in Lisbon.

Rui Simões was born in Lisbon in 1944, studied History, Cinema and Television, lived in Belgium and France and returned to Portugal in May 1974. Two years later, he made the documentary “Deus, Pátria, Autoridade” (1976).

In the 2012 film “Guerra ou Paz” (War or Peace), which deals with the situation of thousands of Portuguese refuseniks and deserters from the colonial war, Rui Simões also tells his own story of exile, of returning to his country and of a time when he did ballet, had a small advertising agency and was an agent for the Sheiks.

After also working on the production of the Expo’98 universal exhibition, in 2002 Rui Simões founded the film and audiovisual production company Real Ficção, which he still runs today.

In 2022, when he premiered the film “In Alice’s Country” and was already preparing “First Work”, Rui Simões said that he had another “very ambitious” documentary project in hand, closely linked to his relationship with cinema and the years in which he said he was “grounded”, without any support to film, for having made “Bom Povo Português” (1980).

“The film touches everyone, it’s very critical of the history of April 25 [1974], of all the political parties and police forces. Although it is a portrait of the revolution and today is considered the great film of the revolution, at the time it was very badly interpreted by those in power, whether they were on the left or the right. I ended up being penalized and during those 20 years I ended up not getting any support for any kind of film, neither documentary nor fiction. It was a violent punishment, very strong,” he recalled.

Hervé Hubert
Hervé Hubert
Hervé Hubert is a 55-year-old writer and journalist based in Porto, Portugal. Born in France, he brings a unique blend of French and Portuguese perspectives to his work. Education Hervé studied Journalism and Literature at the University of Lyon in France. After completing his studies, he gained valuable experience working with various French media outlets (Portugal France also). Career He worked for several years as a journalist in France before making the move to Portugal. In Porto, he joined the Portugal Pulse team as a staff writer. Skills Hervé specializes in storytelling, investigative journalism, and cultural commentary. He has a flair for capturing complex issues in a relatable way. Personal Life He currently resides in Porto and enjoys the city's rich culture, from Fado music to Francesinha cuisine. Hervé continues to maintain strong ties to his French heritage, often traveling back to France for family visits and cultural exploration. With his unique background and diverse skill set, Hervé Hubert adds a layered, multicultural lens to every story he covers.

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