Alfredo Costa Monteiro


radio art






Fragments of An Unfinished Tale (A Cinematic Story), 2017

Commissioned by Ensemble 0 for La nuit#couchée 2017
Winner of the prize palma ars acustica

It starts with a jump. A man jumps from a moving train. This man is Zbigniew Cybulski, one of the fetish actors of the Polish new wave. The film is Jump (Salto) by Tadeusz Konwicki.
The piece begins as a journey, but also as a tribute not only to Cybulski (who, ironically, was going to die a few years later by jumping onto a moving train), but also to the Polish, Czech or Slovak New Waves, to a whole section of eastern european cinema pushed into the background or practically forgotten. A culturally different cinema, not only in its contents but also in its intentions.
Forgotten perhaps for political reasons, or simply because it risked to do much harm to the authors of our western world, who seemed to carry the highest spiritual and visual values of cinema. A question of geography? Culturocentrism? Problems of circulation due to the Iron Curtain ?
But how strange it is to think that even today, most of these films and authors are almost completely unknown, or maybe known just by a bunch of connoisseurs…An unfair situation, especially when we know how much many of our western filmmakers owe to the early soviet autheurs, just to take an obvious example.
By discovering some of these wonders, we realize how much our cinematic knowledge was limited to a geographical zone, to some ways of doing things that, nevertheless, seemed to have reached the highest degree of what could be expressed on a screen.
Recovering these films, some of which are incontestable masterpieces, plunges us into other models, other ways of doing things where what seemed to be an exception here became the norm there, where formal innovations and concepts of an extraordinary richness and beauty get along with political stakes and brilliant visual experiments. All in all, another dimension that pushes further the desire for cinema, the desire in cinema.
And it is this desire that carries this work.
It is a different cinematic story that I propose; that, less obvious, built thanks to authors who won’t have had the visibility and recognition they deserved.
The sound fragments were used such as they are, without modifications or electronic manipulations, almost always by maintaining the actual durations of each scene from which they were extracted. They have often been chosen for their use and role in a key scene, or because they work in resonance with what was being composed, or simply because what is heard makes sense.
My interventions were stimulated from a given impulse, and always took place in the background, never on a foreground. It was not for me to become a protagonist as a composer and a musician, but simply to help these fragments coexist, as if the soundtrack of a new film was being created.
The last fragment is taken from Pociag (Night Train) by Jerzy Kawalerowicz, where the same Cybulski, six years younger, gets on a train.
Time seems to have gone backwards, and the loop is thus closed… but not completely closed, because the sound of a train also refers to the departure for a new journey.


extract of the piece where the following fragments of soundtracks can be heard:
Meandre (Meandre), 1967.
Mircea Saucan, Romania
Muzhskoye leto (Vyn Vasara), 1970.
Marijonas Greidys, Russia / Lithuania.
Letter Never Sent (Neotpravlennoye pismo), 1960.
Mikhail Kalatozov, Russia
Dancing in the Rain (Ples v dežju) 1961.
Boštjan Hladnik, Slovenia
The Train Stop (Polustanok ), 2000.
Sergei Loznitsa, Russia
Love (Szerelem), 1971.
Karoly Makk, Hungary
Romance for Bugle (Romance pro kridlovku), 1967.
Otakar Vávra, Czech Republic
White Mountains (Belyie gory), 1964.
Melis Ubukeyev, Kyrgyzstan
The Touch (Prikosnovenie), 1989.
Amanzhol Aituarov, Kazakhstan


Presentations and Broadcasts:
La nuit couchée # 1, La Centrifugeuse, Pau,  France
Arsov Art Atelje- RTV Slovenija Slovenia
Catalunya Musica, Espais oberts, Barcelona, Spain
Radiocustica , Prague, Czech Radio
Deutschlandfunk Kultur Deutschlandradio
Antena2 RTP, Porto, Portugal
Festiwal Sanatorium Dźwięku, Sokolowsko,  Poland
El Prat radio, La moto de Sasha, Barcelona
ARBA-ESA / Ars Musica, Bruxelles




Après la nuit

Commissioned by Ensemble 0 for La nuit#couchée 2018

Après la nuit is the second part of a series of radio pieces about cinema, this time about French cinema.
The piece is circumscribed to a certain auteur cinema that appears in the 50s, not only from the French New Wave, but also revolving around it. A cinema in search of another real, another form of inhabiting the screen, making little concessions and going against conventions. Films that tell ideas rather than stories, often close to essay, strange and poetic where language remains extremely present and serves as a conceptual guide to images, and therefore in this new context, to sound.
The night or the idea of ​​the night is the common denominator of all these sound extracts, a constraint that served as a conceptual structure for the entire composition, thus delimiting a whole work of archiving which, without that, would have been infinite.
The first sound is that of an elevator that descends to a basement, metaphor and wink to begin this exploration through the night: a trip among these films, which for the most part, are still poorly known today .
After the night, maybe we’ll get their secret.



extract of the piece where the following fragments of soundtracks can be heard:
Quelqu’un, quelque part
Yannick Bellon,1970
Alain Robbe-Grillet,1963
Les jours où je n’existe pas
Jean-Charles Fitoussi,2002
Jean-Daniel Pollet,1973
Serge Bard,1968
Patrick Bokanowski,1982


Presentations and Broadcasts:
La nuit couchée # 2, La Centrifugeuse, Pau,  France
La nuit couchée # 3, Centre Pompidou, Metz,  France



Esquisse pour une constellation

Commissioned by Ensemble 0 for La nuit#couchée 2020

Since 2017, I’ve worked on a trilogy of radio pieces about cinema, commissioned by Ensemble 0 for La nuit#couchée, an all night event presented every year in different locations in France.

Esquisse pour une constellation is the third and last part of this trilogy and is dedicated to Japanese cinema.
In the late 1950s, Japanese cinema endured a fundamental transformation, thanks in large part to the creation of the Art Theatre Guild production house and the legendary Theatre Scorpio (Sasori-za) exhibition hall in Tokyo, dedicated to underground cinema and experimental theatre. It was in this context of counter-cultural agitation that the Japanese New Wave was born.
And these are mainly films from that time or that have inherited its spirit, which I used in this piece which is like a kind of tribute to that kind of cinema.
With often provocative and daring films, it is this cinema that still shows another face of Japan; political, engaged and virulent in the criticism of conventions.
It is really a sketch that I wanted to make made of fragments that, as in a constellation, are circumscribe and echo.