Berlinale Bloggers 2017
Points of contact

"Mulher do pai", de Cristiane Oliveira. Berlinale Mostra Generation.
Foto: Okna

“Nalu on the Border” and “Don't Swallow My Heart, Alligator Girl!”, two films from the Generation programme, tell stories set in Brazilian borderlands.

Directed by Cristiane Oliveira, Nalu on the Border is set on the border between Brazil and Uruguay. Nalu, an adolescent who is finishing up school, is forced to take charge of her house and care for her blind father following the death of her grandfather. In the film, the arid landscape is reflected in the harshness of the relationship between father and daughter, which develops gradually and is mediated by the ceramics classes that Nalu's Uruguayan art teacher agrees to give her father. With powerful cinematography and delicate directing, Mulher do pai is also a film about limits and points of contact: the limits of life in a small border town, the limits of vision, the limits of a country and the expectations in relation to the Other. The 'Other' plays the role of mediator for that which cannot be communicated: Nalu discovers her body through her relationship with a Uruguayan boy, and her father rediscovers himself through his contact with the ceramics teacher while also discovering his daughter through the forms he creates from clay.

Don't Swallow My Heart, Alligator Girl!, by Felipe Bragança, is set on the border between Brazil and Paraguay – a region where you can still find traces of the Paraguayan War (1864-1870), one of the most bloody conflicts in the history of Latin America. Along the border between the two countries, Brazilian plantation owners decimate the few Guarani people that inhabit the region. In the film, the conflict is depicted though the dispute between a gang of Guarani bikers and a rival gang of white Brazilians. Divided in acts that recall the Paraguayan War, „Don't Swallow My Heart, Alligator Girl!“ uses a love story between a white Brazilian teenager and a Guarani girl as its narrative thread. The cast of characters is played by Gaurani actors. "Our culture is our essence. And our essence never dies. We the indigenous people are here to tell our own story," asserted the actress Zahy Guajajara during the film's showing in Berlin.
  Also depicting the world of the Guarani people, but through the genre of observational documentary, the short film Em busca da terra sem males (In search of the land without evil, also part of the Generation programme), by Anna Azevedo, shows the everyday lives of children in a village of landless indigenous inhabitants, who live near Rio de Janeiro and face the risk of being expelled from their homes. During the day we see the games the children play in the forest, the work they perform in the fields and their fascination with video games. At night, traditional storytelling circles, hunting rituals and Guarani hip-hop provide the narrative tone.