Past Film/Video | Contemporary Screen | Documentaries

Pictures of Ghosts

(Retratos fantasmas, Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2023)

Discussion of former Columbus movie theaters follows the screening! 

An old color photograph of a group of people in costume, all wearing different masks.

Tour through the abandoned theaters of Recife, Brazil, with Kleber Mendonça Filho as he reckons with architecture, art, and the ghosts of the past.

Kleber Mendonça Filho is Brazil’s most acclaimed director, with numerous remarkable films including Bacurau (2019), Aquarius (2016), and Neighboring Sounds (2012). His latest, Pictures of Ghosts, is irresistible to anyone who loves movie theaters as much as they love movies. From his family’s apartment in Recife, the director reflects on his relationship with his mother before heading out into the city’s abandoned downtown to remember the movie palaces of his youth. But his curiosity is after something deeper than nostalgia and derelict buildings. With playful and innovative vision, Mendonça Filho examines life itself—from architecture and gentrification to the haunted places of our pasts, the relationship between cinema and religion, and more. The film builds to one of the most surprising and delightful finales in recent memory. In Portuguese with English subtitles. (93 mins., DCP)

Before the film, we’ll show a slideshow of photographs of former Columbus movie theaters from the collection of the Wexner Center’s former projectionist Bruce Bartoo. After the film, Bruce will give a short presentation of select theaters. If you have photographs of former Columbus movie theaters (before or after) that you’d like to have included in the slideshow, send them to, and join us to share your memories.

Mendoça Filho visited the Wexner Center in 2012 and 2016 to introduce his films and in 2017 to discuss the work of film critic Paulo Emílio Salles Gomes.

Pictures of Ghosts, courtesy of Grasshopper Films.

"As with Godard and Paris, Fellini and Rome, Scorsese and New York, Filho is a filmmaker whose craft is deeply entwined with his love of a city."

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About the filmmaker

Kleber Mendonça Filho chevron-down chevron-up

Born in Recife, Brazil, Kleber Mendonça Filho became a film programmer and critic while making award-winning short films. Neighboring Sounds, Mendonça Filho’s first feature film, had its world premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2012 and was Brazil’s Academy Award entry. Aquarius (2016), starring Sônia Braga, was in competition at the 69th Cannes Film Festival before being nominated for a César and an Independent Spirit Award. In 2019, Bacurau, codirected by Juliano Dornelles, screened in competition at Cannes was awarded the Jury Prize. Mendonça Filho is also a film programmer for Instituto Moreira Salles in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo and the artistic director of Janela Internacional de Cinema do Recife. He visited the Wexner Center in 2012 and 2016 to introduce his films and in 2017 to discuss the work of film critic Paulo Emílio Salles Gomes.

Copromotional support provided by the Center for Latin American Studies.

National Endowment for the Arts 
Ohio Humanities

Rohauer Collection Foundation

Ohio Department of Development

Greater Columbus Arts Council

The Wexner Family 
Institute of Museum and Library Services

Ohio Arts Council, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts 
Ohio State’s Global Arts + Humanities Discovery Theme 
The Columbus Foundation
Axium Packaging
Nationwide Foundation 
Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease

Mike and Paige Crane 
Nancy Kramer 
Ohio State Energy Partners 
Ohio History Fund/Ohio History Connection 
Larry and Donna James 
David Crane and Elizabeth Dang 
Bruce and Joy Soll 
Rebecca Perry Damsen and Ben Towle 
Jones Day 
Alex and Renée Shumate


Past Film/Video

Pictures of Ghosts