The movie

Alma Viva (English Subtitles)

Like every summer, little Salomé returns to a family village in the mountains. Suddenly her beloved grandmother dies. While the adults are fighting over the funeral, Salomé is haunted by the spirit of the one who was considered a witch.

Length: 88 min
Country: Belgium, France, Portugal
Language spoken: Portuguese
Language subtitles: Dutch
Cast: Ana Padrão, Lua Michel, Jacqueline Corado, Ester Catalão
Director: Cristèle Alves Meira
Release date: 2023


In a small village in the poor, north-eastern region of Portugal known as Tràs-os-Montes (‘Beyond the Mountains’)—a place where time seems to have stood still for a century—Salomé (Lua Michal) spends a warm summer with her family. What begins as a carefree vacation quickly turns around when her grandmother, with whom she has a special bond, suddenly passes away. The funeral brings the family together, but it also causes friction, as Salomé is haunted by the ghost of her beloved grandmother. In this heartwarming, magical-realist family portrait of several generations of women, spirituality and tradition are still very much alive.

‘“Alma Viva” is a small, delicate but engaging work, careful to keep its supernatural remit firmly grounded in observational realism: this is a homespun peasant magic made up of potions, chants, and curses, often fuelled by long-simmering grudges and feuds. It feels as though the same drive for naturalism inspired the director to cast her own daughter, Lua Michel, in the lead role of Salomé: the young actress puts in a beguiling, unselfconscious performance.’—Lee Marshall, Screen Daily