Muito Romantico (2016) | Berlinale 2016

February 12th, 2016
Author: Meredith Taylor

Director: Melissa Dullius, Gustavo Jahn | Cast: Melisa Dullius, Gustavo Jahn, Lilja Löffler

72min  Drama | Brazil| Germany

Melissa (Dullius) and Gustavo (Jahn) are sailing on a cargo ship in the South Seas, travelling from Brazil to Berlin, Germany, to start a new life. In Berlin, they visit flats in Wedding, Neukölln and Mitte, letting the audience know the exact rent and the payment for gas electricity. These data are the only realistic ones in this filmic collage that sees film and reality merging before a portal to the universe opens from which the main protagonists will merge with the cosmos.

Muito Romantico’s opening lines are quoted from a long text by the German transcendental writer Maria Luise Kaschnitz from 1963, titled “Wohin denn ich” (Where to for me) from 1963. Kaschnitz, who travelled widely with her archeologist husband, was a rarity in the post-war literature scene of the Federal Republic as her work was considered very “un-German” for the time, and had very much in common with the poetic realism of South America, where she spent a great deal of her life.

Melissa and Gustavo meet Veronica (Löffler) in Berlin for the first time having corresponded during their long voyage. As the couple get to know Berlin; Gustavo on a bicycle, Melissa, who gets lost, on foot, they related the changes that have taken place in the city since unification, mentioning a slogan which was painted in the ruins of the old ‘Anhalter Station’: “People who build bunkers, also build bombs”. But soon they disappear into each other losing interest in the city, and expressing their creativity in painting and decorating their flat. They come across a Japanese woman and a male painter, who asks Gustavo “to forget parties and alcohol, and concentrate on art”. Later Gustavo reads loud from a book, “declaring that the end of Romanticism has come, and people have to accept it”. A black cat sits on their bed, looking very aloof. The use of red is a motif that occurs throughout this dreamlike piece: in furnishings or objects: Gustavo suggests “all materials have memories”. Towards the end, the screen is totally black for a while, afterwards Melissa crawls through a hole in the wall into their bed. Images, reminding us of Rorschach tests appear, before the couple escapes into another world.

MUITO ROMANTICO is a poetic collage that deals with memory and space, history and art, longing and alienation; predominantly shot by DOP Viile Piippo on 16 mm or Super 8, with the number of frames per minute changing frequently, and a lighting which lends a surreal and very painterly feel. Symbolism is used but in a very playful way that adds to the enjoyment of this rather vague but unique and innovative experiment. AS



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