João Pedro Rodrigues & João Rui Guerra da Mata in Person
$15 Special Event Tickets
Directed by João Pedro Rodrigues.
With Mauro Costa, André Cabral, Joel Branco.
Portugal/France, 2022, DCP, color, 67 min.
Portuguese and English with English subtitles.
DCP source: Terratreme

Music and choreographed movement have been such a staple of Rodrigues’ cinema from his debut feature, O Fantasma (2000), that a musical has long seemed inevitable, even awaited. Will-o’-the-Wisp more than meets expectations with a wonderfully offbeat and comic musical that finds its unique rhythm in the touchingly awkward love that ignites between a nerdy but willful prince determined to be a fireman and the swarthy veteran ready to light his fire. Channeling the spirit of Bob Fosse, and complementing the wonderful blue collar Portuguese musical from 2017 A Fábrica de Nada (also produced by the powerhouse company Terratreme), Will-o’-the-Wisp is a delightful fantasy animated by Rodrigues’ cinephilia and equal love of Titian and Caravaggio. João Rui Guerra da Mata’s always exceptional work as art designer contributes to the film’s dynamic and self-conscious mise-en-scène. – Haden Guest

Will-o'-the-Wisp introduction and post-screening discussion with filmmakers João Pedro Rodrigues, João Rui Guerra da Mata and HFA Director Haden Guest. ©Harvard Film Archive

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