22 August, 2008

Wim Wenders in Brazil

Wim Wenders in Porto Alegre, south of Brazil

Brazil is no longer a “state of spirit” for the German film director Wim Wenders, 62, as he said himself later this week, during his visit to the country, which lasts until today.

But that’s not really because he landed in Porto Alegre, in the south, and in Salvador, in the northeast, for a seminar organized by the Brazilian cultural project “Fronteiras Braskem do Pensamento”, and got to see Brazil with his own eyes. Only with Glauber Rocha (1939-1981) and the eyes of his camera the country turned to Wenders from “a metaphoric country” to a real one.

During his conversations in the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, in Porto Alegre, for 1.300 people, Wenders defended a kind of cinema “with a strong local belonging feeling”, the way Glauber, the leader of the Brazilian movement called “Cinema Novo”, did – as well as the Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu (1903-1963), another influence to Wender’s work. “This international kind of anonymous movie production today bores me to death”, said the creator of Paris, Texas and Buena Vista Social Club.

On the other hand of his metaphoric relation with Brazil before knowing Glauber, Wim Wenders told he had no “symbolic countries” in the Germany he was born, after the Second World War. “It was a country devastated and without hopes. The German accumulated guilt over their shoulders. Since I can remember, I wanted to leave the country. So, I became a traveler. That’s my talent and my profession”, he said. It was only after “traveling a lot” that he was able to find Germany again.

About his Der Himmel über Berlin (Wings of Desire, 1987), which after many years of work abroad was filmed in Berlin, the director said the very city determined the movie’s form. As he described to the Brazilian audience: “I couldn’t find characters that show the city in its complexity. When I stopped thinking about the story and looked around, I saw these images of angels around me. So I accepted the tip the city was giving me and wrote in my notebook: ‘Guard angels?’”.

Sao Paulo - Venice

Today (Friday, 22th of August) Wim Wenders will participate in Sao Paulo on a movies discussion with Brazilian film director Walter Salles (Central Station) and the journalist Alcino Leite Neto, from the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo, which is organizing the meeting.

After that, Wenders will probably head to Italy, where he will be the president of the jury during the 65th Venice Film Festival. In time: his last movie, Palermo Shooting, follows a important German photographer who gives up fame and tries to reconstruct his life in Palermo, Sicily (Italy).

07 August, 2008

6th Catalan Film Festival in Sao Paulo brings “the other Titanic” to Brazil

A scene of Bigas Luna's La camarera de Titanic (1997).

The 6th edition of the Catalan Film Festival in Sao Paulo (southeast of Brazil) started two days ago with a special attraction: the movie La camarera del Titanic (“The Chambermaid on the Titanic”), directed by Bigas Luna and released in 1997.

The title makes a great pair with Titanic, directed by North-American director James Cameron in the same year. While the blockbuster shows a love story between a rich girl and a plebeian, the Catalan version of the ship disaster is focused on the involvement of a chambermaid with a proletarian in a dreamlike atmosphere – which is far from the grandiosity of the drama represented by Kate Winslet and Leonardo Di Caprio.

The work of Juan José Bigas Luna, born in Barcelona in 1946, is the theme of a short retrospective organized by the Catalan Film Festival. Director of two well recognized movie pictures – one being La camarera del Titanic, which will be exhibited in Sao Paulo in 35 mm –, the Spanish director has participated on the Cannes Film Festival in 1978 with Bilbao and is told to be the discover of recognized Spanish actors such as Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz (both actors of Luna’s Jamón Jamón; see it here).

The 6th edition of the Catalan Film Festival in Sao Paulo takes place in Centro Cultural São Paulo, at Rua Vergueiro, number 1000. Here is the complete program, which goes on until next Sunday, 10th of August:

8/5 (Tuesday)
16h - Volavérunt
18h - Son de Mar
20h - Bilbao

8/6 (Wednesday)
16h - Huevos de Oro
18h - Volavérunt
20h - Jamón, Jamón

8/7 (Thursday)
16h - Son de Mar
18h - La Camarera del Titanic
20h - Huevos de Oro

8/8 (Friday)
16h - Jamón, Jamón
18h - Bilbao
20h - La Camarera del Titanic

8/9 (Saturday)
16h - La Camarera del Titanic
18h - Jamón, Jamón
20h - Volavérunt

8/10 (Sunday)
16h - Bilbao
18h - Huevos de Oro
20h - Son de Mar

Europe on South American big screens

Despite the Hollywood dominance in most of South America’s movie theaters, it’s no deceit to say there is an important presence of the European cinema around here, especially in capitals like Sao Paulo, in Brazil, Buenos Aires, in Argentina, Santiago, in Chile, and Bogotá, in Colombia – just to leave here a few examples.

Actually, the more South Americans get in contact with films made in Europe, the more they want to see it. That is, maybe, because movie directors and spectators here and there have a lot in common, starting with their preference for a “slower” kind of cinema. A more human kind, mostly, if we could say so.

This blog was (just) born to talk about European movie presence in South America. Festivals, events, public, discussions, similarities, differences or whatever relates Europe to South America in the big screen.

Living between Brazil and Colombia, I, personally, get to see a lot of initiatives aiming to divulge specially French, German and Spanish movies – and also lots of people in search of those movies. Those are, actually, great news.

Nothing actually against Hollywood, but it’s already time South America really opens its eyes and movie theaters to Europe. And, just for the record, “ojalá”* South American cinema can conquer the same in the old continent.

Before getting started, one last thing: please participate! Feel free to leave suggestions, comments or whatever you have to say.

Adelante ;-)

Camila Moraes

* “Ojalá”: very South American Spanish meaning “hopefully”.