Berlinale Blogger 2017 Day of protest

„As duas Irenes“ (Two Irenes)
Filmstill | © Roseira Filmes and Lacuna Filmes | “As duas Irenes”

Brazilian filmmakers read letter in Berlin asking for their country’s audiovisual policies to be upheld and expanded. In the letter, the filmmakers point to the advances made by the audiovisual sector in recent years in terms of public policy, thanks to the work of Ancine, Brazil’s regulatory body for the film industry. The advances can be seen in the participation of the Brazilian films in international film festivals – such as the Berlinale.

Directors participating in the 67th Berlinale, in partnership with other Brazilian cinema professionals, wrote an open letter to protest the democratic crisis that the country is experiencing and the risks of regression that the country’s audiovisual sector is facing. During the week’s screenings, the letter was read or its contents mentioned to cinema audiences. It was also read at the Brazilian Embassy in Berlin.

In the letter, the filmmakers point to the advances made by the audiovisual sector in recent years in terms of public policy, thanks to the work of Ancine, Brazil’s regulatory body for the film industry. The letter also highlighted policies supporting diversity in film – regardless of format, genre or style – as well as regional funding. The advances can be seen in the participation of the Brazilian films in international film festivals such as the Berlinale. “Above all, we want to guarantee that any and all change or improvement made to audiovisual policies in Brazil are widely debated with the entire industry and society as a whole”, the filmmakers wrote. 

Double lives

Two Irenes (As duas Irenes), the debut film of director Fabio Meira and part of the Generation programme, is one of the highlights of the festival. The feature-length film brings to the screen the world of two pre-adolescent girls who live in a small city in Brazil’s interior. Irene, the middle daughter of a traditional and conservative family, discovers that her father has another family and another daughter of the same age as her, and who even goes by the same name. Despite the similarities, though, her half-sister Irene has a very different lifestyle, and she is more extroverted and a free spirit. 

The two girls soon grow close and form a bond of friendship and companionship. With a well-crafted script and outstanding performances by the two protagonists, the film takes a light-handed and delicate approach to revealing the uncovered world in which the girls are living and the way in which they construct their identities. As the girls discover adolescence, such as with a first kiss in the cinema, the family’s secrets come to the surface and have to be told. The solution the girls arrive at ends the film playfully and in a manner suitable for the world inhabited by the characters.