Dir: Gregorio Graziosi | Cast: Alli Willow, Joana de Verona, Antonio Pitanga, Indira Nascimento,
An addition to the female sports genre is this visually dynamic drama from Brazilian director Gregorio Graziosi who explores disability through the competitive world of women’s synchronised diving.
And where better to set the story than the nation’s capital with its all round summer climate and impressive architectural landscape with iconic 1920s skyscrapers jostling with Oscar Niemayer’s contemporary creations and colonial style churches dating back to the 16th century.
Marina lives here in a stylish apartment with her doctor boyfriend and has reached peak condition in pursuit of her dream of competing in synchronised diving events in Sao Paulo’s state of the art olympic sized swimming centre. But a sudden attack of tinnitus – an excruciating ringing in the ears – that hampers her progress with her diving colleague. And Marina is forced to abandon the season and take up another rather more dubious water-based job as a ‘mermaid’ in the public aquarium, entertaining tourists with her colourful costumes. Naturally this is a career comedown for Marina and impacts on her emotional wellbeing as well as her relationship with her boyfriend. Her swimming partner is now left in the lurch and is forced to start looking for another to take her place
The premise is a good and one Graziosi’s cinematic vision realised by DoP Rui Pocas (Tabu, Zama and Good Manners) is certainly exceptional. But the script involving three writers often feels over ambitious in trying to fathom out Marina’s reaction to her illness and the complexities of women’s relationships when the three main female characters fall out – and the ensuing (ubiquitous) lesbian twist feels contrived rather than natural along with the trip to Japan. Meshing these various narrative strands together weakens an otherwise original idea, so why not tell it more simply and trust in the strength of the original idea. Less is always more. MT
KARLOVY VARY FILM FESTIVAL | 2022 PROXIMA COMPETITION