Lisbon hosts series of cultural events alongside World Youth Day

Initiative seeks to showcase “Portuguese culture and cultural dynamics”

Portugal’s Ministry of Culture is organising a cycle dubbed “Faith and Culture: New and Old Days” in parallel to World Youth Day, the Roman Catholic mega-event arriving in Lisbon at the beginning of August.

Minister of culture Pedro Adão e Silva has told Lusa that this cycle is intended “to welcome volunteers and pilgrims” at what is “a moment to publicise Portuguese culture and cultural dynamics.”

With this in mind, he said, “a policy of discounts in museums and monuments run by the Ministry of Culture” will be put into practice, and there will be “a programme with several initiatives that link art and religion, staged by various bodies of the ministry.

“We will try to reflect in this programme some of the concerns of Pope Francis’ pontificates, as well as his tastes in literature and cinema,” the minister explained.

The cycle begins on Wednesday evening, in the garden of the National Museum of Ancient Art (MNAA), with an “evening concert-conversation on the relationship between music, the arts, spirituality and religions”, with interventions by the commissioner of the National Arts Plan (PNA), Paulo Pires do Vale, Filipa Oliveira, Dino d’Santiago and João Carvalho, and performances by Alice Neto de Sousa, Cati, Djodje Almeida, Mbye Ebrima, Ruben Torres, Vicente Augusto, among others.

The sessions “Around the Pope’s Books” take place at Brotéria, also in Lisbon, from Monday July 24 to Thursday 28, taking as reference the books “Crónicas de um pároco da aldeia” (Chronicles of a village priest) by Georges Bernanos, in a conversation with Pedro Mexia and Tiago Cavaco, moderated by Susana Moreira Marques; “Notes from the Underground” by Fiodor Dostoyevsky (by João Pedro Vala); “The Lord of the World”, a dystopian science fiction novel written by Robert Hugh Benson in the early 20th century (Joana Bértholo and Pedro Gadanho, with Madalena Tamen); Dante’s “Divine Comedy” (Alberto Manguel); and “The other, the same”, by Jorge Luis Borges (Rita Brutt and Catarina Wallenstein).

On Wednesday July 26, the São Carlos National Theatre hosts a concert by its Choir, with sacred arias from different operas. The concert will be broadcast outdoors on screens in the Largo de São Carlos with proceeds to go to the Portuguese Council for Refugees and the Association for the Support of Children and Adolescents.

“Cinema According to Francis” takes place at the Cinemateca Portuguesa on July 28, 29 and 31, with the screening of “some of the films of choice” of the Pope, with reference to the 2013 interview with newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, in which Francis spoke of the “importance of cinema expression in his personal and spiritual formation.”

Federico Fellini’s “The Road”, Mario Camerini’s “Spouses before God”, Akira Kurosawa’s “Rhapsody in August”, Gabriel Axel’s “Babette’s Feast” and Vittorio De Sica’s “Children Look at Us” are films to be screened.

Also included in the cycle are the exhibitions “Ruy Belo – Inesgotável rosto” (Inexahaustible face), at the National Library, until September 23, “Peace is Possible. The Rato Chapel Vigil and the contestation of the Colonial War”, at the Palácio da Independência until August 4, and “Portugal in the World: documents in the Torre do Tombo”, which can be seen from August 1-6, which includes “some Papal Bulls, the Letter of Pêro Vaz de Caminha”, among other documents “inserted in the Memory of the World Register” of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Associated with the exhibition at the Palácio da Independência and the issue of “war and peace” in the Rato chapel, is the screening of the documentary “Um gesto de liberdade”, by Jacinto Godinho and Carlos Oliveira, at Lisbon’s Cinema São Jorge, on August 2.

There will also be an exhibition of Catalan paintings from the Gothic period ( “Barcelona Gothic, Works from the Diocesan Museum and Barcelona Cathedral”) , at the MNAA, until August 6.

Throughout this entire cycle, in other words, starting from Monday July 24 through to the final day of the WYD event on Sunday August 6,  “volunteers and pilgrims registered” for who are “duly accredited and regardless of age”  will have “a 50% discount” on the cost of tickets to museums, monuments and palaces overseen by the Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage.

The programme can be consulted here