Teresa Villaverde: The Major Age (A idade maior)

The Major Age (A idade maior), Teresa Villaverde, 121’, Portugal / FRG, ZDF 12.2.1991, OV with German subtitles

It is the early 1970s and fear is rife in Portugal: “Young men are being taken to faraway Africa to risk their lives fighting for colonial territories. Africa is far away. But the danger of suddenly ‘disappearing’ hovers over the heads of all men and casts a veil of unease over all people, men and women alike,” reads the ZDF programme text. In sometimes disturbingly beautiful images by cinematographer Elfi Mikesch, Teresa Villaverde stages in her debut film the world of 10-year-old Alex, which is shattered by the distant war. “Understand one thing,” his father writes home, “if I were to die here, you can be certain that it wasn’t out of heroism.” A cinematic study of the impact of colonialism at its place of origin.

Teresa Villaverde (*1966) is a well-known Portuguese director. Her feature films were shown at the Berlin, Cannes and Venice festivals and have won several awards. With Das kleine Fernsehspiel, she made her debut film The Major Age (1991), which was also screened in the Berlinale Forum. She also made Two Brothers, My Sister (1994) for Das kleine Fernsehspiel.