Lucefece: Where there is no vision, the people will perish


Shot in film and hand processed by the director for over 20 years, Lucefece mixes personal, political, and mythical views on reality exorcizing old ghosts.

Stories from the director's childhood, together with conversations with his father, that fought in the colonial war in Africa and later was arrested, prepare the scenario for a profound reflection on today's world. The film spirals like a snake traveling through time, an eternal recurrence, mixing documentary with film essay and autobiographical tones.

By  Ricardo Leite
Portugal, United States, Spain, Germany and Morocco / 86 min.
Color, B&W, 16mm, 35mm, Super 8mm, 8mm, 4K, HD, Super VHS, 5.1 Surround Sound


Best film in Cinema Falado Competition - Porto Post Doc, Portugal, 2023.


Porto Post Doc - Cinema Falado Competition, Portugal, 2023.
Caminhos do Cinema Português - Caminhos Selection, Portugal, 2023.
Doclisboa - National Competition, Portugal, 2023.
+ More



Ricardo Leite


Ricardo Leite and Eloy Enciso


Pedro Neves, Ricardo Leite, José Alberto, Pinto Manuel and João Montenegro


Eloy Enciso


Boiar, Furthers, Colm O’Ciosóig, João Ricardo OCP, André Coelho Metadevice and Azabache


Ricardo Leite and Pedro Neves

Voice Over

Ricardo Leite

Sound Mixing

Maurício D’Orey


Pedro Neves


Red Desert


Film developed at Arché, Porto Post Doc 2018 and Film screened at the Industry Screenings of Porto Post Doc

Financial Support

Instituto do Cinema e Audiovisual (post-production of films), RTP, Filmaporto, Porto Vintage Guest House and KODAK

Director’s notes

Lucefece: Where there is no vision, the people will perish

By  Ricardo Leite
Portugal, United States, Spain, Germany and Morocco
Color, B&W, 16mm, 35mm, Super 8mm, 8mm, 4K, HD, Super VHS, 5.1 Surround Sound

Lucefece, shot for over 20 years, was born from the desire of creating my own style after finishing studies in film school, demarcating myself from the academic path. However over the years, the film kept transforming itself, gaining new senses and narratives along the way. The film is built using mainly footage that was shot and hand processed in 16mm over the years. The fact that it was hand processed also gives Lucefece an alchemical dimension, where I tried new formulas, including biodegradable chemistry found in plants and seeds that became part of my personal research.

The first narrative path came from the will to venture into the stories and legends that populated an entire region bathed by the mysterious river Lucefece in Alentejo, in the south of Portugal. The film was already being born on a fragile border between experimental and documentary cinema. This fragility was noted not only in the central, deeply anthropological theme, but also in the way it was triggered, building on it a series of reflections of documentary matrix. Lucefece can be summed up to a subjective portrait of the world, through my eyes as a director both as real and fictional character in the film itself. War, violence and death are the three main subjects explored, which simultaneously represent a big part of my childhood. In the course of a film about my life, we slowly start to understand my attitude towards violence, art and politics. We cross different dimensions, which include mythical, autobiographic and political lines. Through mythology, we travel between the other two lines. The autobiographical line is constructed through a conversation with my father, who was a soldier in the Portuguese colonial war, and was later arrested and imprisoned for murder. In the political lines, me and my father expose our views on life, reality and the world.

This three lines create many layers of perception between past and future, and the nature of reality and time. But it is the confrontation between opposite subjects, such as the celestial and the infernal worlds, the East and the West, the North and the South, that marks the film's narrative. Life and death, love and hate, joy and sadness are elements constantly juxtaposing, meandaring like a river into the sea, and from the sea to Space.