Posts Tagged ‘Brazilian cinema’

The Fever | A Fevre (2019) Bfi player

Dir: Maya Da-Rin | Cast: Regis Myrupu, Rosa Peixoto, Johnatan Sodré, Kaisaro Jussara Brito, Edmildo Vaz Pimentel, Anunciata Teles Soares, Lourinelson Wladimir |Brazil/ France/Germany 98′ Tukano/Portuguese

Maya Da-Rin’s stunning feature debut is a beguiling exploration of cultural identity seen through the eyes of a modest indigenous Brazilian Indian torn between Manaus, the port city where he works as a security guard, and the call of the wild in the Amazon village of his birth.

We first meet 45 year old Justino – newcomer Regis Myrupu – going through the daily grind: a bus takes him in the early morning to start his first day in the new job where he is almost dwarfed by the enormous containers he will guard in the dockyard. Back home at night he joins his family in a welcoming ramshackle dwelling where they eat dinner together. Although he is now a widow, his adult daughter still lives at home and is preparing to study medicine in Brasilia.

This alluring family drama positively pulsates with the heady rhythms and ambient sounds in the vast state of Amazonas; the whirring of cicadas and exotic birdsong  – you can almost feel the sweltering heat and tropical downpours that occasionally bring relief. Da-Rin absorbs us into a gentle hypnotic way of life. A member of the indigenous Desana people, who are Christians, Justino is tough, resilient and well-versed in the ways of the forest but he must now adapt to city life, which is out of sync with nature and his upbringing. He he doesn’t complain and refuses to accept benefits offering by the company as part of his “indigenous condition”.

The sounds of the city are also different and less seductive, the clanking and jarring of metal and shrill ringing of alarms. DoP Barbara Alvarez – from the 2004 classic Whisky – again enchants us with elegant framing and a vibrant colour palette reflecting the geometric shapes of the shipyard and lush forest scenery both on the widescreen in more intimate close-up as the increasingly unsettling narrative plays out with its cultural references to Desana folklore, comparing and contrasting life in the country and town.

The tone grows more urgent when Justino develops an unexplained sweating fever but he is reluctant to investigate further, preferring to soldier on stoically. Eventually the doctor runs tests, but Justino has no faith in 21st century medicine, and the results are inconclusive anyway. Eventually Justino is drawn back to the place where he grew up, to seek the answer from the depth of the forest in this captivating, atmospheric but rather too enigmatic feature. MT





Querência (2019) **** Berlinale 2019 | Forum

Wri/Dir: Helvecio Marins Jnr | Drama, Brazil, 90′

Helvecio Marins’ ravishing debut plays out in the style of a cinema vérité Western imbued with the unique customs and flavours of its picturesque locale in Minas Gerais between Brazilia and Rio de Janeiro on the Rua Urucuia.

Working with a cast of locals, Marins takes great pleasure in creating an atmosphere of bucolic bonhomie in a tale that unfolds langorously in the burnished landscapes of the pampa where God-fearing farm-manager Marcelo Di Souza has grown up raising his Nelore cattle – and he knows them all by name. Their characteristic boney hump and ability to resist blood-sucking insects is particularly suited to the arid planes of Brazil. Marcelo’s other love is the Temme Terra rodeo, where he often announces the competing riders with the ditty: “White, Black, Indian, we are all Brazilian”. This rural community prides itself in solidarity, and there’s little trust for the country’s political leadership. Marcelo is proud of his upbringing but sadly other members of his family have been tempted away by more lucrative work in Rio and Brasilia. And slowly it emerges through casual conversation with his friend Kaic Lima that not everything is as perfect in this rural idyll as Marcelo would have us believe. While he was at the rodeo one night, robbers broke into his  farm and around 100 of his precious cattle were stolen.

In Querência, director Helvécio Marins shows a melancholy hero whose life is in disarray, but who still remains true to himself. Directed with mature confidence and style Marins’ refrains from being overly dramatic and focuses on the textural richness of his subject matter who enjoy an attractive traditional lifestyle in the countryside, and one that’s fast disappearing. It’s a portrait that connects with the narrative of small communities threatened by survival all over the world. And like a fine garment Marins’ film is embellished and decorated with loving textural references and anecdotes that make the journey more involving and pleasurable that the rather enigmatic open final. Long takes and fluid camerawork captures elegant vignettes silhouetted against the darkness or a glowing campfire. And moments of loneliness often contrast with the hurly burly of the rodeo, scored by O Grivo’s award-winning music and bathed in the lush richness of the warm South.  MT


*Nelore were originally brought to Brazil from India, where they got their name from the Nellore district in Andhra Pradesh.

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