"If I think about the future of cinema as art, I shiver" (Y. Ozu, 1959)

Tela brilhadora - O Garoto (Julio Bressane)

Tuesday, 27 October 2015 13:46

A filmmaker at the end of time and space

Giona A. Nazzaro

Boy meets girl at the end of the world. Once again, Julio Bressane stages the beginning of life itself as a stylized and dysfunctional yet mysteriously minnellian dance. O Garoto, element of the collective project Telha brilhadora, that comprises also O prefeito by Bruno Safadi, O espelho by Rodrigo Lima and Origem do mundo by Moa Batsow, is a film that has at its core a mischievous insurgent sexual energy that bristles and sparks relentlessly poetic hybris. Those who are not familiar with Bressane’s work may be puzzled by the minimalistic approach and its reiterative patterns, but it is obvious that O Garoto (The Kid) is just a different kind of educaçao sentimental. The boy and the girl inhabit a world whose only other sign of life is a rhythm pattern that seems to be almost detached from them, even though they watch and listen amused to the silent musician who keeps drumming away. The other element is the camera itself. The sensual geometries of the film try to make this triangle work. The camera wants to make love with the bodies in front of it. But the gaze of the girl and the boy point out toward the wilderness, a barren yet intoxicatingly magnificent landscape. This impossible triangle tries to claim hold of the land. Make it again a land of the living. Or, at least, they try to survive in and on it again. Let’s rewrite the social contract for the very last time. As it happens with Bressane’s recent work, O Garoto also recalls elements and patterns from his previous films. These fragments of memories and echoes from a different time are the tools with which Bressane shapes his vision. His newfound Adam and Eve are the sign of a never ending quest. To regain the world, that is the problem. As in O gigante da America, the film is also an arcane and bewildering reflection on the results of colonialism. O Garoto is definitely Bressane’s song of exile. His Paradise Lost, if you want. Minus the angels and the devils. Minus god. There is no regenerative utopia here. The two are destined to be apart. And even though the girl tries to break the diaphragm that separates her from the boy and the camera and the audience (the most sublime moment of the film), she is on her own as is the boy. Bressane films the end of the world as a reenactment of the origins of cinema: a boy and a girl. One plus one. Where the plus sign is obviously the camera itself. A precise yet restless camera, that roams a never before seen landscape as if it were the ultimate set of the world. A world that still hopes to be filmed, seen, and experienced as such. Bressane thus offers the image of a filmmaker at the end of time and space. Looking for signs of life, Bressane comes up with a sensual dance that manages to rethink the Lumière brothers filmmaking in an utterly innovative way.

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