Palaces of Pity
Not available for screening anymore
  1. Extra

    Palaces of Pity

    Palácios de Pena

    Directed by

    • Gabriel Abrantes, Daniel Schmidt



    59 min

    • Portuguese


    From the director of CAMOES AND DINAMENE presented at Hong Kong Asia Financing Forum

    Haunted by their own directionless lives, two pre-adolescent girls reunite while visiting their ailing grandmother. In the midst of her fantasies of a medieval past – one consumed by fear and desire – the two girls are transformed and confront a legacy of oppression. “Love is finally, / an entrancement of legs, / a union of bellies, / a brief tremor of arteries, / a confusion of mouths, / a battle of veins, / a rolling of thighs, / whoever says otherwise is a beast.“ (Gregório de Mattos, 17th century) “Oh my boy, what will happen to me if I lose you from sight! What will happen to me if I see you bit by bit, I hope to be always, always seeing you! But, as I have no liberty to do so, I die, so I rest without you embracing me! Now shake, shake little puppy, for you, for you little heart, now shake, yes, yes, yes, oh my little heart, give me your arms because there I want to die.“ (Letter from Frei Francisco da Ilha da Madeira to Frei Mathias de Mattos –1690 circa) “Big baby sleep over at my new palace!!! Bring boots and your black hoodies, and pls pls pls pls don’t tell Ana about this, K? Best Best Friends. Thnx! Princess Maggie xoxox MEGA <3“ (Text message from Margarida to her Best Friends – Excerpt from Screenplay of Palácios de pena)


    • Best Narrative Feature - Chicago Underground FF
    • Critics Jury Grand Prix - 25 FPS Festival


    Catarina Gaspar
    Andreia Martins
    Gabriel Abrantes
    Daniel Schmidt
    Eberhard Schedl
    Natxo Checa
    Daniel Schmidt
    Gabriel Abrantes

    Director's Statement

    Palácios de pena is about a culturally inherited fear in Portugal, linked to political and social oppression during the Inquisition and Fascism. It revolves around two upper-middle class adolescent Portuguese girls, juxtaposing their budding identities to a trial condemning two Moorish homosexuals to burn at the stake. Their ailing grandmother gives them an awareness of their heritage through the mechanism of desire, describing a dream where she is a judge of the Inquisition. The grandmother’s and the girls’ guilt is complicated by their relationship, that of family and love. As they love each other, so does what they represent: ignorance and the will to violently oppress.

    Gabriel Abrantes

    Gabriel Abrantes


    We work in the sites where the world is taking new forms of life, where contemporary forms of life are being invented

    Gabriel Abrantes, born in North Carolina in 1984, is an artist and filmmaker who has produced a significant body of work in film since studying at L’ École National des Beaux-Arts (2005-2006) and Le Fresnoy Studio National des Arts Contemporains, France (2007). Abrantes received a BA in Cinema and Visual Arts at Cooper Union in 2006. He has exhibited since 2002 in museums such as the MIT:List Center for the Arts in Boston, Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Musee d’Art Moderne in Paris, and Museu Serralves in Porto. In 2008, his works, OLYMPIA I/II were chosen for the IndieLisboa Festival, where in 2009 he won the New Talent Fnac Award with VISIONARY IRAQ. A HISTORY OF MUTUAL RESPECT, co-directed with Daniel Schmidt, was awarded the Golden Leopard for Best International Short Film in Locarno, and IndieLisboa in 2010. He has established A Mutual Respect, a production company that seeks to find alternative means to produce moving-image work. In 2011, FRATELLI, co-directed with Alexandre Melo, was awarded in Curtas Vila do Conde and LIBERDADE, co-directed with Benjamin Crotty, in Locarno. PALÁCIOS DE PENA, was presented in Venice. In 2013 ZWAZO was shown in Rotterdam and ENNUI ENNUI had its world premiere at the Rome FF. TAPROBANA world premiered in Berlin's shorts competition section in 2014. In 2016, his short film FREUD AND FRIENDS was selected at the Berlinale. In 2018, his first feature DIAMANTINO, co-directed with Daniel Schmidt, was awarded the Nespresso Grand Prize at la Semaine de la Critique in Cannes.

    Selected Filmography

    Daniel Schmidt

    Daniel Schmidt


    Born in New Haven, CT, USA. Daniel works in a variety of mediums, finding a focus in cinema and installation through a series of divergent works that include: A HISTORY OF MUTUAL RESPECT (co-directed with Gabriel Abrantes) won multiple international prizes including first prize at Locarno, was a Tiger Award nominee at Rotterdam, and was listed as the Best Short Film in the year-end list of BFI Sight & Sound. PALÁCIOS DE PENA (co-directed with Abrantes) premiered at Venice (Orizzonti award nominee). THE UNITY OF ALL THINGS premiered in competition at Locarno. LA ISLA ESTÁ ENCANTADA CON USTEDES was commissioned for the Biennale of Moving Image Images at Centre d’Art Contemporain Geneve (curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Andrea Bellini). An installed cinema-sculpture of LA ISLA tours museums while a theatrical version premiered in competition at the Berlinale.
    He is an alumnus of the Cannes Cinefondation, Berlinale Talent Campus, Rotterdam CineMart, and TorinoFilmLab.
    Daniel also presents outside the cinema, including the Centre Pompidou, Whitechapel Gallery, Institute of Contemporary Arts (London), and Kunst-Werke.
    In 2018, his first feature DIAMANTINO, co-directed with Gabriel Abrantes, was awarded the Nespresso Grand Prize at la Semaine de la Critique in Cannes.

    Selected Filmography