There have been several tourist DVD about Lisbon released by the city’s tourism office over the years, but although they all feature beautiful images of the Portuguese capital, they always seemed to lack something in the narration, adding no more than what a Flickr gallery or GoLisbon’s own photo album could offer. But a recently-released DVD has changed that, offering beautiful shots of the city (from aerial views to close-up details of landmarks) together with an insightful guide to Lisbon by one of Portugal’s biggest cultural icons. That is Fernando Pessoa who’s also widely considered to be one of Europe’s greatest poets of the 20th century, who left behind an English-language tourist guide to Lisbon when he died. It was only found and published much after his death, and although it dates from the early 20th century, it’s interesting to note just how current it remains. That’s because his description of the view of Lisbon from the river Tagus is timeless, and because a large part of the city’s attractions are its centuries-old landmarks and the emotions they can all create together.
But this DVD also starts out by showing contemporary Lisbon and goes on to present the tour suggested by Pessoa, with a narration that includes some of his poems and the text from his “What the Tourist Should See” book. That narration is available in several languages — English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German, as well as two Portuguese versions — one for Portuguese viewers, and another by a Brazilian narrator for those Brazilians who may have difficulty in understanding the accent from Portugal.
At the end of the film there is a number of extras, all interviews with some of the narrators (the Portuguese, Brazilian, Spanish, and American), plus the director and a literary advisor who’s compiled much of Pessoa’s work. They all talk about their involvement in the process of creating the film and share their personal relationships with Lisbon, as well as how Fernando Pessoa has helped them better understand the city and even themselves. Especially evocative of the Lisbon magic and the mark it can leave on visitors is the interview of the Brazilian narrator which is subtitled for those who don’t understand Portuguese.
This is therefore a film that no one from Lisbon will want to miss, and one that tourists will want to acquire as a reminder of their visit to the city. Â It’s also a great way to share the city with others who haven’t yet visited.
Look for it wherever DVD are sold in the city, with the most popular and perhaps most convenient being the FNAC store in Chiado. The price is 20 euros and you can get more details here.