Over the course of the southern European dictatorships of the 20th century, access to education was a luxury. For a long time, Catholic seminaries, generally conservative and aligned with the regime, were the only academic path for less privileged young men. This is a story about what remains of the derelict walls of the most progressive seminary in Portugal – the country with the longest dictatorship in Europe.

THE OLD HOUSE, O Casarão | Documentary. Portugal, 72′ / 52′. Dec. 2020. DCP – 2K, available in 7.1 and 5.1. An old house withers away at the heart of a village ripped in half by a road where cars no longer stop. During the dictatorship, this building was the most progressive Catholic seminary in Portugal. António, the front door neighbour, was brought up and raised a family in its shadow. Ever since the Dominican priests left, he has been its most faithful caretaker – keeper of ghosts, memories, and hallways now emptied of life. Abandoned for years, the town’s former epicentre now hopes for a new life. O Casarão is a Blablabla Media production directed by Filipe Araújo with the financial support of ICA – Instituto do Cinema e Audiovisual, SPA – Sociedade Portuguesa de Autores and RTP (the Portuguese public television).

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