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A film by Alejandro Landes. Columbia, 2011, 101 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles.
For classroom use in: Cinema Studies, Disability Studies, Latin American History
About the Film
Paralyzed from the waist down by a stray police bullet, the title character in Alejandro Landes’s award-winning film spends his days selling minutes on his cell phone, flirting with his comely neighbor—and secretly plotting his revenge. Landes worked on the film for five years, creating a tale that joins the most intimate details of Porfirio’s day-to-day life with an astonishing recreation of his attempt to hijack an airplane.
About the Filmmaker
Alejandro Landes was born in São Paulo, Brazil. He studied literature, economics and architecture at Brown University, then went on to become a journalist and television writer. His first film, the documentary Cocalero, premiered at Sundance in 2007 and opened theatrically in more than ten countries. With Porfirio, Landes was a fellow at the Cinéfondation Residence and the Sundance Institute.
In the Press
“Critic’s Pick! A slow-burn movie in which the mundane and often grotesque daily life of the protagonist makes palpable the need for escape and action.”—Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine
“In this collaborative merger of documentary fact and the filmmaker’s imagination, Mr. Aldana embraces the fantastic drama of his own life.”—Steve Dollar, The Wall Street Journal
“Pick of the Week! Though his stylistic vision might superficially call to mind filmmakers like Carlos Reygadas, Lucrecia Martel, and Yorgos Lanthimos, with Porfirio, Alejandro Landes carves a unique path all his own. One of the most startlingly fresh films of this new year.—Michael Tully, Filmmaker Magazine
“Superb! The film itself [is] tied closely to its protagonist’s movements [and] the observational method certainly pays off.”—Benjamin Mercer, The L Magazine
“An austere focus on physical action and behavior worthy of Robert Bresson.”—Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter
“Landes has done an extraordinary job with his minimalist narrative, brilliantly exploring a new genre.”—Jale Laplante, Miami New Times
“Brilliant and original… Landes frames with sensibility and tact, yet with hyperrealist imagery that makes no concessions.”—Julio Feo, RFI
“An accomplished and engaging film in every way.”—Michael Sicinski, CinemaScope
“Alejandro Landes’s Porfirio is especially pleasing because it seems a pure triumph of directorial sensiblity: an outline of the project would not hint at the film’s virtues. The widescreen aspect ratio is just right to depict the often horizontal protagonist, and Landes’s lovely, symmetrical compositions are generally scaled to the dimensions of the people who inhabit them. Continuously imaginative in both the visual and the behavioral realms.”—Dan Sallitt, Mubi
Festivals & Awards
Director’s Fortnight, Cannes Film Festival
New Directors/New Films 2012
Toronto International Film Festival
San Sebastian International Film Festival
Busan International Film Festival
Grand Jury Prize, Amsterdam Film Festival
Grand Jury Prize and Best Actor, Biarritz Film Festival
Watch the Trailer