Monday, May 19, 2008


It's Christmas Eve, 1969 (1969-12-24), and we join a Portuguese army outpost in northern Mozambique, East Africa. The Mozambique Liberation Army has taken up arms to free their country from European colonialism, but we see only the incoming fire from the shadowy rebel forces. The rebels seem to be attacking at whim, trying to unnerve the army and/or deplete their ammunition. Within the army camp, though, the rebels aren't the only mortal danger. The loyalty of the officers comes into question, a thief takes advantage of the festivities to prowl the barracks, and there is a rather literal femme fatale in the person of the captain's mistress, who seems unfazed by the arrival of his wife. 20,13 — a reference to Leviticus 20:13, one of the verses used to condemn homosexuality — is a dark and bloody, but ultimately compelling, look at, as the InsideOut program notes put it, "sexual and colonial repression becom[ing] menacing mirror images of each other." Recommended.

20,13, dir. Joaquim Leitão, Portugal 2007, 114 min. 35mm

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