August Willemsen – De Bladzij En De Werkelijkheid

Documentary about August Willemsen, writer of Brazilian Letters and translator of the poems of Fernando Pessoa and Carlos Drummond de Andrade.

Please note that this film is in Dutch, Portuguese and English, with Dutch subtitles.
Time & Tickets

August Willemsen (1936-2007) was a translator and a writer who translated the poems by Fernando Pessoa and Carlos Drummond de Andrade, among others. By doing so he made them accessible to Dutch readers. Driven by a fascination for the Portuguese language and Brazilian literature he travelled to Brazil several times. Between 1967 and 1984, he gives a compelling account of his journeys in his unrivalled book BRAZILIAN LETTERS (1985). These letters are timeless due to the literary eloquence with which he articulates his experiences, the contact with and, simultaneously, the distance to this country of contradictions.

BRAZILIAN LETTERS inspired filmmaker Frederieke Jochems to follow Willemsen’s travels, investigating what attracted him to this immense country – and what made him escape his homeland. AUGUST WILLEMSEN – DE BLADZIJ EN DE WERKELIJKHEID intertwines footage from the Bijlmermeer, an Amsterdam neighbourhood where Willemsen lived, with Brazilian landscapes, excerpts from his writings and his phenomenal television performances. The complex relationships with his wives, friends and daughter are revealed in interviews. In animated sequences, the extremes of Willemsen’s life, his passion for language, literature and music, and his tendency toward self-destruction, are brought to life.

Frederieke Jochems, Netherlands, 2022, 78 min. Dutch, Portuguese & English spoken, Dutch subtitles.