TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding


Unfinished Painting

Catarina Vasconcelos



Maria Ana knows she will die. Her body has started losing its 6-year fight against a cancer that also spread into the lives of her husband, Nicolau, and their two children, Clara and Jonas. With a life devoted to painting conservation, Maria Ana knows her body cannot be conserved any longer.

Clara, her eldest daughter, finds refuge in the orchestra where she plays the tuba. 13-year-old Jonas still lives in that place where the inexplicable is possible. Nicolau looks after the home, trying to enact the normalcy of daily life. On New Year’s Eve, Maria Ana realises the exertions of life are becoming untenable. That same night, Death, who struggled for centuries with their profession and also wishes for a
different end, moves to Maria Ana’s family home.

Through paintings and dialogues between characters and the director, the biographical dimension of the film comes up. "Unfinished Painting" portrays the end of a life and that
mysterious entity that inhabits the end of our existence: Death.


I was 11 years old when my mother fell ill with breast cancer. The seriousness of her illness was not immediately communicated to us and, for years, my mother enacted an idea of normalcy, pretending to go to work every day, to shelter me and my brother from the cruel reality consuming
her life. Year after year, my mother grew sadder as she approached the end, and her final year was particularly violent and painful.

When she died, in 2003, palliative care was only timidly discussed in Portugal. In 2020, my country finally began to discuss the legalisation of euthanasia, a term derived from the Greek “good death”. I share a lack of faith in God with
my parents, and never did want to speak with Him. However, I have always wanted to speak with Death: movies cannot bring justice to life, but they allow us to portray pieces of our realities, and magically enact our “what ifs”. In movies, we
can even outlaw death.


A woman wants to die. Coming to meet her, Death feels doubts about their own craft.
Catarina Vasconcelos

Film Director

production notes

original title
Pintura Inacabada

produced byPrimeira Idade
Travessa da ilha do grilo, 40
1900-262, Lisbon
Lisbon, Portugal

current financial need
€ 750.000