“Muito Romântico”, a feature film by Melissa Dullius and Gustavo Jahn featuring in this year’s Forum Expanded section, is about moving from Brazil to Germany and the first years in Berlin.
The film opens rather nostalgically with a transatlantic voyage on a container ship from Brazil to Germany. The couple spend their days reading, taking pictures and filming. The crossing is slow. The two filmmakers worked on this project for nearly ten years. The film mixes memories and true stories with staged scenes that eventually lead to poetic images of a new life in Berlin. “The film runs along three axes,” explains Dullius: “the experience on the ship and the associated images, the scenes acted out in the room and footage from our own archives.”
APPROPRIATION OF SPACE
“Even in scenes that follow a script and that we staged,” says Jahn, “we used costumes, props and materials we already had.” The film shows Berlin from a romantic side, which is the two protagonists’ very special point of view. The camera moves from the narrow confines of the room to a sequence of urban images which the filmmakers had already showed in a previous work entitled Fotokino. Additional sequences are photographs of Berlin shot by the actors themselves, in particular shots of the ever-increasing number of building sites. Taking these pictures is a way for the protagonists to appropriate the new space around them, to assimilate a city that is constantly in motion and constantly changing.
MOSAIC OF THE PRESENT
Another project in the Forum Expanded section is Mina dos Vagalumes by Raphaël Grisey (Brazil/France). It’s an installation comprising three videos in which the artist addresses problems facing the descendants of runaway black slaves (Quilombolas), such as property speculation on municipal lands as well as mining companies’ incursions into the hinterlands of the Brazilian State of Minas Gerais. The personal accounts of descendants of one-time slaves alternate in the videos with government meetings and images of local landscapes. The resulting mosaic is a reconstruction of the day-to-day reality of these communities.