2022 112 '

The film Heróis do Mar, by Fernando Garcia, is reborn entirely on the big screen. The first national fiction film with a narrative on cod fishing was considered, in 1949, a remarkable achievement of Portuguese cinematography. As the soundtrack was lost, the film was forgotten by the general public. The only film copy was digitized and restored by Cinemateca-ANIM, with the support of the Ílhavo City Council and is now presented with original 38 39 music by Henrique Portovedo and João Martins and a live interpretative dubbing directed by Alexandre Sampaio, in an innovative and unique show with the participation of the Gafanhense Philharmonic Orchestra and the community. The set of chronicles and reports on a cod selling campaign, by journalist Jorge Simões, which were gathered in the book winner of the SNI prize for journalism-reportage of 1941, Os Grandes Trabalhadores do Mar, were the motto for a film production around the epic of cod fishing. The attempt to adapt to film began in 1944, but the demands of a highly ambitious production prolonged the shooting for several years. The film Heróis do Mar, by Fernando Garcia, premiered on March 15, 1949, enters the history of Portuguese as the first cinematic attempt to explore more heroic and popular themes of Portuguese culture. The glorification demonstrated in the title change, from the book to the film, reveals how the Estado Novo took (Portuguese authoritarian regime) advantage of cinema as a vehicle of political and social propaganda, in which the bacalhoeiro (cod fish) fisherman was the subject of exaltation and exploitation by the propagandistic apparatus of the regime. The film’s premiere featured front-page honours in the press at the time and an intense publicity campaign, although it failed to achieve the presumed national impact, let alone the ambitious international scale, achieved only in 1951 with A Campanha do Argus. The strong connotation to the propaganda of the regime, the insufficient impact on society and especially the loss of the sound tape, made the Heróis do Mar a film forgotten by the general public. In 2022, it is entirely reborn on the big screen, as a heritage activation of the first national fiction film with a narrative around cod fishing.