Gabriel Abrantes, Benjamin Crotty

Gabriel Abrantes is a filmmaker whose practice is grounded in an exploration of cinematographic language. He addresses historical, political and social matters with a special focus on postcolonial, gender and identity issues. His films, which touch upon folklore, current realities and politics, create layers of unlikely readings by subverting traditional narratives and the use of absurd humour. Hollywood aesthetics are mixed with documentary and experimental film techniques, digital and analogue technologies. Artificial Humours (2016) follows a young indigenous girl from Mato Grosso (Canarana and the Yawalapiti and Kamayura villages inside the Xingu Indigenous Park in Brazil) to São Paulo, where she falls in love with a robot that also happens to be a stand-up comedian. This bizarre story conflates the anthropology of humour, indigenous communities, romance and artificial intelligence, whilst also contrasting notions of tradition and progress and pinpointing the truism that love – like beauty – is in the eye of the beholder. Liberdade (2011), made by Gabriel Abrantes together with artist Benjamin Crotty (a collaboration that goes back to 2008), can also be seen as a philosophical love story, similarly inferring the effects of colonialism, occupation and globalisation. Shot in Angola, and similarly set in a breadth of political, social and material contexts, the film – a visually ravishing tale of romance, crime, and erectile dysfunction – chronicles the relationship between an Angolan boy and a Chinese girl as they attempt to forge a shared, transcultural identity.

Gabriel Abrantes, Benjamin Crotty