Festival internacional Signos da Noite - Lisboa
International Festival Signs of the Night- Lisbon

18° Festival internacional Signos da Noite - Lisboa (6° Edição) - December 27-31, 2020


Exemplary Behaviour
Pavyzdingas elgesys

Audrius Mickevicius and Nerijus Milerius
Lithuania, Bulgaria, Slovenia / 2019 / 1:25:00

Having experienced the loss of the murdered brother, director Audrius Mickevicius went to the Lukiškès prison to examine the paradox of "exemplary behaviour". Mickevicius met Rimas and Rolandas who are sentenced to life but driven by the hope of change. Mickevicius himself experienced the journey from anger to forgiveness, which was interrupted by his terminal disease.“Exemplary Behaviour”, completed by its script editor Nerijus Milerius, explores the ideas of forgiveness and social justice.




Audrius’ film reflects on human bing in more than one way. It is an amazing film. We are privy to various philosophical and poetic reflections on his conflicting feelings, sometimes accompanied by footage of him talking to the film crew or prison staff. It´s a brilliant documentary which leads us to think deeply about justice!
It starts with a sequence of a family movie in which two little brothers joyfully rush to their parents, followed by the photo of one of them, became a teenager, murdered and massacred. The smallest of the family film is Audrius, the filmmaker. When he goes to Lukiškės, the prison of Vilnius, it is to make us meet in their daily and internal lives, two prisoners, Rolandas and Rimantas. However, Audrius succeeds with his camera in an attentive almost affectionate way to let us understand what it means to receive life sentence. The paradox of human identity, the conflict between one moment of crime and eternal regret is evoked.
The French philosopher, Bernard Stiegler (who lived the experience of prison and committed suicide last summer), point out that the insistent question for prisoners is not only to consider WHY he’s locked up but HOW life can continue one time outside of the prison. Focusing on the particularly touching personality of Rolandas, Audrius makes us understand that by having an “exemplary behaviour” there is always a hope of going back to a normal life one day. Audrius who decided to direct this film while he was seriously ill died suddenly. It was his script editor, Nerijus Milerius, who finished the film. One very human dimension more..


The given award means a lot to us, especially for the wife of our friend the initiator and the director of this film Audrius Mickevicius, who unfortunately was not able to complete his film. Being already very ill and feeling that probably he wouldn’t make it through , Audrius asked our script editor Nerijus Milerius, who is actually a philosopher, to complete the film as co-director. So you saw and awarded the film initiated and shot approx. 80% shot by Audrius, and completed by Nerijus. You could understand how morally difficult was to the whole team and especially to Nerijus to do such work. Still when the wife of Audrius saw the film ( she was very deeply involved in it when Audrius was still alive) she totally accept it as the film Audrius would be very proud of. Thank you, we feel very honoured !

Rasa Miškinytė
Managing Director / Producer (Member of NPA)


The Signs Award for Documentary honours films, which express in a surprising and sensitive way the perturbing aspects of reality

Rift Finfinnee

Daniel Kötter
Germany / 2020 / 01:19:26

The film Rift Finfinnee takes the viewer on a journey through the periphery of Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. The film takes the concrete geography, architecture and the every day life as the starting point for an allegorical narrative about the becoming urban of an African society on the edge of civil war.




As part of a trilogy on the geopolitics of the peripheries of large cities, after Tehran with “Hashi Tehran” and Cairo with “Desert View”, German director Daniel Kötter is interested in Addis-Ababa. With « Rift Finfinnee » (Finfinnee means Addis-Ababa in Oromo language), he shows us on vast panoramic views the simple life in the Great Rift Valley that borders the capital in order to end up facing a biblical space that has not changed for centuries to a social and political discourse. Distancing himself as a foreigner, the director observes from afar the modest life of Ethiopian peasants. With subtle voice- over sound interventions, he shows us how these peasants are instrumentalized and dispossessed of their lands. Then they are engaged to destroy their environments in order to make thousands of rectangular stones to build equally rectangular buildings, their future prisons. In subtle way Daniel Kötter also evokes the local ethnic conflicts and civil war.


Rift Finfinnee, the third part of a trilogy on the peripheries following Hashti Tehran (2017) and Desert View Cairo (2018), is dedicated to the eastern outskirts of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa (oromo: Finfinnee). In recent years, urbanisation has been initiated here on behalf of an entire continent in a dimension that will also call into question Europe's relationship to this continent. In the eastern periphery, the geographical, economic, political and - as the renewed bloody riots of recent months unfortunately show - also the politically constructed ethnic dividing lines clash in a confined space.

I am aware that even after the most careful research, a European filmmaker will always have an outside view of these places, and there is no question that more institutions are needed for African filmmakers who want to document and artistically shape the realities of their lives. Cinematographically and dramaturgically, the film therefore chooses the distanced view of a journey through the various forms of housing on the periphery. The soundtrack, on the other hand, is based on numerous separately recorded everyday conversations between Ethiopians, in the fields, on the street, between farmers and settlers, between day laborers and urbanists, between Oromo and Amhara. The film wanders along the psycho- and socio-geological rift between rich and poor, between rural and urban, between image and sound. However, right at the beginning of the film, which is also allegorical, a small pedestrian bridge at the edge of the city spans the ri

I am honoured to receive the Signs Award of 2020 Signois da Noite Festival Lisboa. I especially want to thank Milkesa Takele who held everything together and was the translator on so many levels. Without you, Milky, all this would not have happened!


Amazonian Cosmos

Daniel Schweizer
Switzerland / 2020 / 01:27:00

Two tribes of Amazon Indians accept an invitation from foreign NGOs to travel to the land of the Whites to defend their rights. Their journey reverses the usual perspective of ethnography as they turn their gaze on our world, offering a shamanic critique of capitalism.




The interest in this film is based on the figure of Jaider Esbell, a Macuxi Indian artist who is particularly open and warm by whose eyes the viewer lives his peregrinations. When he decides to leave his Amazonian tribe in northern Brazil to meet the Other, the film of the Geneva filmmaker, Daniel Schweizer who follows him, camera on his shoulder, takes a surprising turn. His quest led him from the virgin forest to the streets of San Francisco to arrive in Geneva at the United Nations and end in a somewhat naive way by accompanying Bernaldina, an old woman shaman, in Rome to meet Pope Francis. The shamanic and cosmic philosophy of Jaider, in agreement with the Yanomami, calls into question our consumerist societies in a pleasant, generous and lucid way.


The Night Award for Documentary honours films, which represent reality in an ambivalent and enigmatic way, avoiding stereotypes of representation and simple conclusions

Girls in Flower

Konstanza Kapsali
Greece / 2019 / 0:11:15

A vivid memory of women which were once girls. A film about time and femininity, questioning how the erotic body gradually becomes a body that insists, how time is registered within the promise of youth which becomes marital duty. Drawing upon Marcel Proust’s approach on memory, in his novel “In search of lost time” and entering the director’s own visual and sensory memories of her grandmothers, the film seeks to explore femininity in late adulthood. The title is a direct reference to Proust’s novel second volume "In the shadow of young girls in flower".




As we carefully observe details in the daily routine of these old people, slowly we understand it as a poetic interpretation reflecting on impermanence and memory. Lead by the literary work of Marcel Proust ‘A la Recherche du Temps Perdu’ the director emphasises the important role of women and at the same time, by this broad landscape of associatins, the director managed to create this strong poetic hommage to her own grandmother. By awarding this talented filmmaker the jury hopes she will continue to explore those associative poetic boundaries on her own terms… This film reminds very much of another South American writer: ‘It’s in the nature of people to map the world we live in. For many years they’ll be collecting images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fish, chambers, tools, stars and horses and people. Shortly before this person dies, in a patient labyrint of fine lines, he or she will recognise the image of her or his own face’… - Jorge Louis Borges


As a first-time filmmaker I found the experience of creating my film "Girls In Flower" very exciting, since everything felt new to me. At the same time, uncertainty and insecurity thrived throughout the process. Seeing my work screened among several other films in this festival, all created with love and effort, felt so right. As for awards, I've always associated them with notions of excellence and success, which I usually oppose. But the Jury's words, beyond kindness, encouraged me to re-evaluate the reasons why I should continue making films. And for that I am grateful. Hopefully, we will soon be able to enjoy cinema standing side by side.


Casual Workers

Keagan Afonso
South Africa / 2020 / 0:11:39

An abstract narrative following the days of two young South African casuals working in the heart of Johannesburg's industrial sector during Covid-19.



The director decided to portray a group of casual workers during the Covid19 pandemic, doing a little work and hanging out, capturing two men in particular in J’burg SA. The mesmerising camera moves slowly, observing them sometimes without their voices being heard but always with this dreamy soundtrack that gives the film this flowing feel. It’s within the power of these magnificent observations, it’s framing, the way these images are put together that touch this attractive dynamic offering the viewer to get closer and closer to these young workers, in the end the viewer becomes a friend, a close intimate friend of these lovely young characters. The jury believes in the talent of the filmmaker who is able to engage the viewer with his subject so profoundly…


The two young men who shared the screen, Nala and Tebogo are solely responsible for this film having the fortune and honor to have been mentioned for the Sign award by Festival internacional Signos da Noite. When filming during the pandemic, collaboration amongst few allowed for more freedom with what you do with a camera and how to perceptively do justice to what these amazing men were allowing me to shoot with such vulnerability, with nothing but mutual understanding towards an enigma driven vision that would be fully formed when editing the film. The score, mostly by masterful Addison Willis, is an art of its own of which I cannot take credit for, and thank for allowing me to make it part of this film. My wife Nadjeschda is responsible for all creative inspirations within me as well as to the wardrobe of the film.

With great appreciation on behalf of all involved , I want to thank the Festival , its jury members and its director Dieter Wieczorek for giving voice to filmmakers and thus enabling the preservation of film by inspiring filmmakers from Africa to continue with the artform despite the pandemic.


The Edward Snowden Award honors films, which offer sensitive (mostly) unknown informations, facts and phenomenons of eminent importance, for which the festival wishes a wide proliferation in the future.

The Virus Hunters

Cédric Louis
Switzerland / 2020 / 0:56:00

Just how many deadly viruses are out there with the potential to cause future pandemics? Is our 'new normal' just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what might be our 'future normal'? From the bat to the pangolin, an investigation into the list of suspects which acted as a biological bridge, allowing COVID-19 to infect humans and bring the world's economies grinding to a halt. A comprehensive analysis of the working theories to date, experts from across the world are consulted in an effort to find the elusive patient zero in the Coronavirus outbreak, in the hope that its discovery could bring us one step closer to a vaccine.




This documentary in the form of a serious medical and journalistic investigation is an interesting proposal that tries to understand what has happened since the beginning about the virus that has changes life on the planet today. From the Huanan market in the city of Wuhan in Central China where you can find all kinds of rat meat, dog meat, wolf, crocodile, different living snakes or scorpions, the filmmaker goes to different spots in the world as Gabon, Thailand, Turkey, France or United States. He meets with experts around the planet explaining how they try to analyse the link between animals and humans. An African sequence is particularly spectacular when scientists like in a science fiction film are experimenting on hundreds of bats spilling out of a cave. The jury thinks really that this documentary is important because we are living in horrible situation corona viruses and we believe people have to watch this film. After watching the film you have new perspective about relationship between human body and nature and animals.


Icemeltland Park

Liliana Colombo
Italy / 2020 / 0:39:00

An amusement park designed for families, couples, groups of friends and everyone who wishes to visit. You don’t know where to go on holiday? Or you’re not sure how to spend your honeymoon? Come to Icemeltland Park, you won’t regret it!!




The repetition, the scientific footage, the unusual soundtrack, the ‘see-through’ images, the commercial breaks, in it’s distinct visual language this film feels like a cynical science fiction film into the very near future, but it is in fact about the last few decades of climate crisis. It criticises (disaster) tourism, the superficial need for spectacle, not considering any of the consequences of what they are actually seeing/recording. So far many people seem to enjoy the spectacle, the whole world as an amusement park, but it makes the viewer also think, on many different levels. This artistic, outspoken, alarming project, became a very strong and urgent film.


I’m really happy that the film was well received by the jury and I’m happy about their statement. This film came about by coincidence after I’ve watched a clip on Youtube which gave me the inspiration to create this dystopian amusement park, as the people who were staring at the ice melting seemed like they were having such a great time observing one of the biggest catastrophe on our planet these days. Climate change is such an underrated topic, hope this film can bring more awareness on how we’re dealing with this subject.