Maria de Medeiros, portuguese actress and film director was designated UNESCO Artist for Peace, by the Director-General, Mr. Koichiro Maatsura,at a ceremony held at Organization Headquarters on 17 March in the presence of Portuguese Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation,Mr João Cravinho.
Maria de Medeiros is being designated in recognition of her “exceptional commitment to arts education and her contribution to furthering the Organization’s ideals.” She is the first Portuguese woman to become a UNESCO Artist for Peace.
Born in Lisbon, Maria de Medeiros was aged only 15 when she played her first part, in the film Silvestre by João César Monteiro. She went on to alternate between theatre roles and the cinema. She has appeared on the stage in Paris in a number of plays by Corneille, Garcia Lorca, Mairet, and Calderón, and has acted in films in France, U.S.A. (Henry & June and Pulp Fiction) and, of course, Portugal, with Manoel de Oliveira, Teresa Villaverde, Luis Galvão Telles, and Joaquim Leitão.
Early in her career, Maria de Medeiros also began directing short films. In 1999, she directed her first full feature, Captains of April (Official Selection, Cannes 2000), about the Carnation Revolution, which won her the Grand Prix at the São Paulo International Film Festival (Brazil), the Globo de Ouro for best film in Portugal and a number of public prizes in France. She went on to make a feature-length documentary, Je t’aime, moi non plus – Artistes et critiques, in 2004, and a number of short films. Maria de Medeiros has often sung during her career as an actor, and has just released her first album, A Little More Blue.
The UNESCO ceremony concluded with a concert entitled Desires for Peace, in which Maria de Medeiros, accompanied by her jazz trio, performed songs by José Afonso, Sérgio Godinho, Chico Buarque, Caetano Veloso, Victor Jara, Jorge Drexler and the Rolling Stones.
The Film:Capitães de Abril,2000