Mal Viver

Bad Living
Five women are running an old hotel, trying to save it from inexorable decay. A long-standing, perhaps irreparable, conflict weighs down on them: they are mothers who are unable to love their daughters, who in turn are unable to be mothers. When the young Salomé arrives at the hotel, old wounds are reopened. Caught between resentment and the search for a way out, her mother, Piedade, makes a drastic decision. João Canijo constructs a space that seems to absorb the characters’ states of mind. Like a Strindberg play or a Rivette film, dark images and twilight colours reflect the ritual nature of gestures and the complexity of relationships. What are we and what do we become when the past looms and the present seems to offer no way out? Canijo does not provide one answer but instead multiplies the points of view, creating a structure that takes into account the different interpretations of time and space, and the human beings who pass through them.
by João Canijo
with Anabela Moreira, Rita Blanco, Madalena Almeida, Cleia Almeida, Vera Barreto
Portugal / France 2023 Portuguese 127’ Colour World premiere


  • Anabela Moreira (Piedade)
  • Rita Blanco (Sara)
  • Madalena Almeida (Salomé)
  • Cleia Almeida (Raquel)
  • Vera Barreto (Ângela)


Director João Canijo
Screenplay João Canijo
Cinematography Leonor Teles
Editing João Braz
Sound Design Elsa Ferreira
Sound Tiago Raposinho
Production Design Nádia Henriques
Costumes Silvia Siopa
Assistant Director Inês Garcia Marques
Production Manager Joana Carneiro Reis
Producer Pedro Borges
Co-Producer François D’Artemare
Co-Production Les Films de l’Après-Midi Paris

World sales

Portugal Film – Portuguese Film Agency

Produced by

Midas Filmes

João Canijo

He began his career as an assistant director for Manoel de Oliveira, Wim Wenders, Alain Tanner and Werner Schroeter. His debut feature film Três menos eu opened the 1988 International Film Festival Rotterdam. Since then, he has made over ten feature films which have regularly screened in the official selections at Cannes, Venice and Toronto. Sangue do meu sangue won awards including the FIPRESCI prize at San Sebastián and the Grand Jury Prize at the Miami Film Festival. His work has been honoured with retrospectives in cities including Busan, La Rochelle and Buenos Aires.


1985 Três menos eu (Three Less Me) 1989 Filha da mãe (Lovely Child) 1997 Sapatos pretos (Black Shoes) 2000 Ganhar a vida (Get A Life) 2003 Noite escura (In the Darkness of the Night) 2007 Mal nascida (Misbegotten) 2010 Fantasia lusitana (Lusitania Illusion); documentary 2011 Trabalho de actriz, trabalho de actor (Actor’s Work); documentary · Sangue do meu sangue (Blood of My Blood) 2012 Raúl Brandão era um grande escritor... (Raul Brandão was a great writer...); short documentary 2013 É o amor (That’s Love) 2015 Portugal, um dia de cada vez (Portugal: One Day at a Time); documentary 2017 Fátima · Diáro das Beiras (Diary of Beiras); documentary 2023 Mal Viver (Bad Living) · Viver Mal (Living Bad)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2023