Karlon, born in Pedreira dos Húngaros (a slum in the outskirts of Lisbon) and a pioneer of Cape Verdean creole rap, runs away from the housing project to which he had been relocated.

Nights of vigil are spent under a sweltering tropical heat. Among the sugarcanes, a rumour emerges—Karlon hasn't stopped singing.

High Cities of Bone is a stark, steady and humane exploration of Karlon's memories and institutional sieges, unearthing stories from a dark time.

"Karlon unearthed secrets in the archeology of an invisible city. Pedreira dos Húngaros,
the end of the millennium, a tired Europe, ruins. There’s a poison goin’ on. Eyes that seem made to see in the darkness. Reconstructing the leads. A voice that doesn’t trust History. MEMORY=RESISTANCE. Hip-hop saved a dissident. The rhymes. The beats. Words as bullets to bring back the dead. In the end, silence."

—João Salaviza 

João Salaviza

Lisbon, 1984. Graduated from The National Film and TheaterAcademy(ESTC) in Portugal, and Universidad del Cine - Buenos Aires.

His feature debut MOUNTAIN world premiered at the Venice Film Festival-Critics Week (2015) and was theatrically released in Portugal and France.

It came on the heels of a trilogy of internationally award- winning short films: RAFA (Golden Bear at the Berlinale 2012); CERRONEGRO (Rotterdam2012); and ARENA (Palmed’Or for Best Short Film at the Festival de Cannes 2009).

The short film HIGH CITIES OF BONE is his most recent work, with its World Premiere at the Berlinale 2017.

CHUVA É CANTORIA NA ALDEIA DOS MORTOS, co-directed with Renée Nader Messora, have its premiere due in 2018.


Altas Cidades de Ossadas (High Cities of Bone) (2017), Montanha (Mountain) (2015), Rafa (2012), Berlinale Shorts (2015), Arena (2009); Strokkur (2011); Cerro Negro (2011)