Berlinale-Blogger 2017 Brazil in the competition

Joaquim by Marcelo Gomes
Photo: REC Produtores & Ukbar Filmes

The feature-length film "Joaquim" and the short "You Are Seeing Things" (Está vendo coisas) compete for the Golden Bear, the Berlinale's top prize

Joaquim, the new film by Marcelo Competitiva, premiered in the Competition section of the Berlinale, and brings to the big screen the story of Joaquim José Xavier, aka Tiradentes, the martyr of the so-called Minas Gerais Conspiracy, an 18th-century Brazilian independence movement. Set in colonial Brazil, a slave society rife with corruption, Joaquim explores how a man who worked for the Portuguese Crown gradually changed his view of the world and decided to join the resistance movement that fought for Brazil's independence from Portugal.
The physical and intellectual trajectory of the story is set in the middle of the forestland of Minas Gerais, as colonists search for gold that is becoming increasingly scarce and come in contact with those protected by the Crown – indigenous peoples and African slaves. The effervescence of the events and the instability of the Joaquim's life are captured in the cinematography, which depicts constant motion and is shot using a hand-held camera and multiple close-ups.
"The Portuguese came to Brazil and built an inhumane society in which the objective was to explore the land. And this very process of exploration is in the mind of anyone who is born in Brazil. The local elite begin to copy the colonising Portuguese by exploring the land and keeping it in the hands of the few. To this day, we need to work from within a context of decolonisation," the director stated at a press conference, after reading an open letter to the international press which was written by Brazilian filmmakers to call for audiovisual policies in Brazil to be upheld and expanded. "We need to fight against this illegitimate government," Gomes affirmed.


Kitsch from Pernambuco

The short film You Are Seeing Things (Estás vendo coisas), directed by Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca, was originally conceived as a video installation and presented at the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo. The film presents the world of contemporary technobrega (or 'cheesy techno') music from Recife, featuring different composers and tracing the lives of hairdresser MC Porck and firefighter/singer Dayana Paixão, who are shown working both in the studio and on stage. The image that the musicians construct of themselves in their videos reflect both their expectations for the future and the desires of the audience.