High cities of bone

(Altas cidades de ossadas)

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

Production Year



UK Premiere


João Salaviza



Dialogue Language


Primary Contact

Pedro Peralta


João Matos

Director of photography

Vasco Viana


João Salaviza, Edgar Feldman

Sound design

Rafael Cardoso