Film at Lincoln Center and Cinema Tropical announce Veredas: A Generation of Brazilian Filmmakers, December 6 to 11. The range of boundary-pushing works of Brazilian film has had few parallels in recent years, with filmmakers such as Kleber Mendonça Filho, Gabriel Mascaro, Karim Aïnouz, Juliana Rojas, João Dumans, and Affonso Uchôa radically revising the world’s understanding of their national cinema.
Veredas: A Generation of Brazilian Filmmakers will showcase work from a vast and influential generation that is indelibly leaving its mark on the local and international film circuit. These often subversive films challenge boundaries of genre, form, gender, class, race, identity, and even how films are distributed.
All of these changes can be attributed to the radical decentralization of Brazilian film production, which is no longer confined to the major cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Veredas highlights this cinematic new wave and presents a vision of Brazil that is at long last reflective of the country’s continental diversity.
Discussing the origin of the series title, co-programmer Mary Jane Marcasiano explains, “In Portuguese, veredas are small paths that crisscross many parts of Brazil: the Sertão region in Minas Gerais, the Northeast, and Goiâs. Vereda is also used to describe fertile ground. We found this word to be an apt metaphor for the current wave of Brazilian filmmaking; expressing how polyphonic Brazilian cinema has become as well as the rich creativity of its filmmakers. The films cover not only a vast range of genres and styles but also represent different regions and cities of the country: Recife, Belo Horizonte, São Paulo, Goiânia, João Pessoa, Rio de Janeiro, Fortaleza, Contagem, Bahia, the Amazon, and even the small city of Ceilândia.”
The series, which features 10 U.S. premieres, includes Karim Aïnouz’s haunting melodrama Invisible Life, which won the 2019 Cannes Film Festival Un Certain Regard award; the urgent Seven Years in May, Affonso Uchôa’s highly anticipated follow-up to the critically acclaimed Araby (ND/NF 2017); and Júlio Bressane’s surrealist delight Bedouin, which follows a couple’s role-playing game of erotic fantasy.
Other standouts include Gabriel Mascaro’s sensual sci-fi drama Divine Love, set in a future where Brazil is a fully Evangelical nation; Adirley Queirós’s debut feature Is the City Only One?, a fiction/documentary hybrid that delves into the lives of people in Ceilândia, the impoverished satellite city of the nation’s capital, Brasília; and a free talk on the implications of current political, social, and economic development for Brazilian film with Mascaro, Gabriel Martins and Maurillo Martins (In the Heart of the World), and more to be announced.
FILMS & DESCRIPTIONS
All screenings take place at the Francesca Beale Theater (144 West 65th Street) unless otherwise noted.
Bedouin / Beduíno
(Júlio Bressane, Brazil, 2016, 75 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. U.S. Premiere)
A man and a woman who might be lovers—and perhaps artists, actors, or script writers—surrender themselves to a strange role-playing game that follows the logic of a dream. In absurdist, symbolism-drenched fantasy scenarios, a psychic domain where even a model train set can acquire unexpected significance, they realize their secret, often erotically charged desires. Life and art, light and dark, despair and desire, poetry and pathos, tenderness and conflict freely intermingle, gradually revealing Bedouin as an elegant and surrealist mosaic from cinema marginal master Júlio Bressane.
Screening with Kbela
(Yasmin Thayná, Brazil, 2015, 22 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. New York Premiere)
A visual essay as a form of resistance to invisibility, this short film is an audiovisual experience about a black woman’s being and becoming.
The Blue Rose of Novalis / A rosa azul de Novalis
(Gustavo Vinagre and Rodrigo Carneiro, Brazil, 2019, 70 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. U.S. Premiere)
Middle-aged Marcelo has a memory like no other. Monologuing between coffee and hookups, he holds court on a wide variety of topics: his lovers, his HIV status, his chronic headaches, his Catholic grandmother, his homophobic father, and his unusual sexual fantasies. At times, he takes himself for Genghis Khan, poet-philosopher Novalis, or a French courtesan; at others, he talks about Bataille or the Saint whose name he has forgotten. From Gustavo Vinagre (I Remember the Crows; Nova Dubai) and Rodrigo Carneiro, The Blue Rose of Novalis is a documentary-style portrait of a singular man that blurs the line between the “real” and the staged.
Screening with Noirblue: Displacements of a Dance
(Ana Pi, Brazil/France, 2018, 27 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. New York Premiere)
Dancer and multimedia artist Ana Pi reconnects with her African ancestry through choreographic gestures, engaging in a space-time experiment that combines traditional and contemporary movements. In this dance of fertility and healing, new forms of movement evoke belonging, resistance, and freedom.
Clenched Fists / Com os punhos cerrados
Luiz Pretti, Ricardo Pretti, Pedro Diogenes, and Guto Parente, Brazil, 2014, 74m. Portuguese with English subtitles. U.S. Premiere
The third collaboration between brothers Ricardo and Luiz Pretti (While We Are Here) and cousins Guto Parente and Pedro Diogenes (The Cannibal Club) is a singular take on counterculture in the northeast of Brazil. In the city of Fortaleza, Eugenio, Joaquim, and João use clandestine radio transmissions to communicate their hunger for freedom and revolution, hacking traditional stations with poetry, rebellious music, quotes, and provocations, targeting the bourgeois society of their hometown. One day, however, a mysterious listener (Neon Bull’s Samya De Lavor) appears in their lives, transforming their destinies.
Divine Love / Divino amor
(Gabriel Mascaro, Brazil, 2019, 101 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. New York Premiere)
Brazil, 2027. Joana is a civil servant in a notary’s office who mainly deals in divorce cases. Part of an Evangelical Christian group known as Divino Amor, she uses her position to offer a kind of physical therapy to couples seeking separation. At the same time, Joana is unable to conceive a child, despite constant prayers and many other attempted methods of assistance. A miracle finally happens, however, bringing her closer to God. The third feature from director and visual artist Gabriel Mascaro, Divine Love is a fluorescent work of sci-fi that meditates on jealousy, faith, and the fear of divine power. An Outsider Pictures release.
Homing / Querência
(Helvécio Marins, Brazil, 2019, 90 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. U.S. Premiere)
Marcelo is a cowboy in the Brazilian pampa. His loves his simple life and the land that feeds him. One night a hundred of his employer’s cattle are stolen at gunpoint while he’s in charge. After this, nothing is the same for Marcelo, who gives up his job. Luckily, his friends and passion guide him to a new profession: rodeo master of ceremonies. The latest work by Helvécio Marins (Swirl) pays homage not only to cowboy culture but also to the solidarity of Brazil’s rural community.
In the Heart of the World / No coração do mundo
(Gabriel Martins & Maurilio Martins, Brazil, 2019, 121 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. U.S. Premiere)
A sprawling feature by Gabriel and Maurílio Martins, In the Heart of the World offers a vivid depiction of a close-knit community in the city of Contagem, where the filmmakers are from. In this multi-character ensemble, the inhabitants of a poor neighborhood yearn for a better life: some get involved in crime, others just try and get by. Using a mix of professional and amateur actors, the directors create a kaleidoscopic, inventively photographed portrait of struggle, hope, and faith.
Invisible Life / A vida invisível de Eurídice Gusmão
(Karim Aïnouz, Brazil/Greece, 2019, 139 min. In Portuguese and Greek with English subtitles. U.S. Premiere)
The winner of the Un Certain Regard award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and Brazil’s submission for this year’s Oscars, Invisible Life is a tropical melodrama by Karim Aïnouz (Madame Satã). Living in Rio de Janeiro in the 1940s, inseparable sisters Guida and Euridice Gusmão are, like all women of their generation, raised to be essentially invisible in the eyes of Brazilian society. Each of the girls has her own special dream, however, and neither can imagine life without the other. Yet one day they’ll have to go their separate ways. Aïnouz’s acclaimed film is based on the novel by Martha Batalha. An Amazon Studios release.
Is the City Only One? / A cidade é uma só?
(Adirley Queirós, Brazil, 2011, 79 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. New York Premiere)
The fascinating debut feature from Adirley Queirós (director of White Out, Black In and Once There Was Brasília) is a fiction/documentary hybrid focusing on a satellite city of Brasilia called Ceilândia. This administrative region—its name derived from the acronym CEI (Invasion Eradication Campaign)—was created in the 1970s to remove and relocate the low-income neighborhoods encroaching on the capital. Half a century after the construction of Brasilia, Is the City Only One? reflects on the spatial and social exclusions that have defined the relationship between the federal district, its surroundings, and the people who built the city from nothing.
Island / Ilha
(Ary Rosa & Glenda Nicácio, Brazil, 2018, 94 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. U.S. Premiere)
A man is kidnapped and brought to an island that is impossible to leave for those who are born there. Emerson, the young kidnapper, is one of those island people, and he has a passionate wish: to make a film about his own life. His radical solution to help achieve this leads to a film about both himself and his hostage, who reenact their lives. When real life beyond the camera increasingly shapes the narrative of the film, things start to get out of hand. The multilayered Island evolves from a playful game of metacinema to an allegorical tale of Brazil’s untold stories.
Necropolis Symphony / Sinfonia da necrópole
(Juliana Rojas, Brazil, 2014, 85 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. U.S. Premiere)
This sly and sinister comedy-horror-musical marked Good Manners director Juliana Rojas as a filmmaker to watch. Deodato works for his uncle as an apprentice gravedigger at a cemetery in São Paulo, a job that takes an emotional toll on him. Deodato’s routine changes when an officer from the city’s funerary bureau arrives at the cemetery. To maximize profits, they must remove human remains from certain graves in order to put them back on the market. But in carrying out this directive strange events make them think twice about tampering with the dead.
Screening with: Swinguerra
(Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca, Brazil, 2019, 23 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. U.S. Premiere)
In a school’s gym, dancers rehearse under the watchful eye of a choreographer. Tensions grow as they’re also observed by a rival troupe. Swinguerra is the latest work from multimedia artists Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca, which made its single-channel debut at Locarno after screening as a dual-channel installation at the Venice Biennial. As with their previous works, the film uses music to create a sort of collaborative ethnography, tracing a cultural map of Brazil on the dance floor.
Sunday, December 8, 2pm
Seven Years In May / Sete anos em maio
(Affonso Uchôa, Brazil, 2019, 42 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. U.S. Premiere)
Seven years ago, one night in May, Rafael came home from work to find that people he did not know had come looking for him. He fled without looking back—from that moment on living as though that night never ended. One evening, around a campfire near a factory, Rafael recounts his story to a stranger who had a similar experience. Rafael’s personal story thus becomes part of the collective testimony of a nation oppressed by poverty, police repression, and institutional corruption. Reflecting the storytelling and style of his previous film Araby, Affonso Uchôa’s Seven Years in May is a poetic and political fable structured around the often unheard words of Brazil’s working class.;
Screening with Ava Yvy Vera: The Land of the Lightning People / Ava Yvy Vera: A terra do povo do raio
(Genito Gomes, Valmir Gonçalves Cabreira, Jhonn Nara Gomes, Jhonaton Gomes, Edina Ximenes, Dulcídio Gomes, Sarah Brites, and Joilson Brites, Brazil, 2017, 52 min. In Guarani with English subtitles)
Ava Yvy Vera is the first film made by a group of indigenous filmmakers of the Kaiowa-Guarani community in Mato Grosso do Sul. The film combines documentation, reenactment, and storytelling to recall the murder of chief Nisio Gomes. In 2011, he was killed by a group of heavily armed men hired by farmers wanting to evict the Kaiowa-Guarani community from their ancestral land.
The Sleepwalkers / Os sonâmbulos
(Tiago Mata Machado, Brazil, 2018, 112 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. U.S. Premiere)
Ruiz (Romulo Braga) and L. (Clara Choveaux) are members of a suicidal, nihilistic group that operates underground in a city consumed by chaos and violence. L. believes that destruction can help them navigate the ruins, while Ruiz’s passionate love for L. is the only thing that keeps him alive. The third feature by filmmaker, critic, and visual artist Tiago Mata Machado, The Sleepwalkers is fragmented post-apocalyptic portrait set in a dystopian present where art and politics have reached a point of no return.
(Tavinho Teixeira, Brazil, 2018, 90 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles)
In this subversive, psychedelic road movie through a tropical dystopian dictatorship, an eccentric band of outsiders try to offer resistance in a Brazil controlled by a military junta and inhabited by corrupt priests foretelling the apocalypse. Their first plan is to trek through the country’s interior to deliver weapons to a group of militant nuns who live off the proceeds of their cannabis farm—a journey that becomes ever more dangerous. Sol Alegria turns a queer gaze to the legacies of Brazilian counterculture—from the novel Macunaíma to Tropicália music—as enduring testimonies of freedom and joy.
Your Bones and Your Eyes / Seus ossos e seus olhos
(Caetano Gotardo, Brazil, 2019, 118 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. U.S. Premiere)
In Caetano Gotardo’s follow-up to The Moving Creatures, João, a middle-class filmmaker living and working in São Paulo, has extensive conversations with friends and strangers, including best friend Irene, who cannot let go of memories of her ex, or a young man he tries to pick up on the metro. Piece by piece, João’s encounters, discussions, and monologues increasingly inspire him, and he begins to reconsider his attitude toward the world around him. In addition to life and love, the creative process emerges as a recurring theme, recalling the films of Éric Rohmer and Hong Sang-soo.
Free Talk: Veredas Live
Join series co-programmers Fabio Andrade and Mary Jane Marcasiano for a free panel discussion with filmmakers Gabriel Mascaro (Divine Love), and Gabriel Martins and Maurillo Martins (In the Heart of the World). They will trace and examine how the work of the filmmakers spotlighted in this series has emerged from a constellation of industrial circumstances, economic forces, technological developments, and sociopolitical tensions in Brazil