Dir. Marcelo Gomes and Karim Aïnouz, 75 minutes, 2009, Brazil, In Portuguese w/ English subtitles
Utilizing a number of different formats – DV, Super 8 and still photographs – and effortlessly gliding across genres, directors Gomes and Aïnouz have created an existential road movie that’s also a nakedly honest and moving portrait of loss and recovery. Taking the form of a first-person travelogue – and daringly shot from the perspective of the main character that we never see – the film follows José Renato, a 35 years old geologist who is sent on a work trip to the scrublands of the Sertão, a semi-arid isolated region in the Northeast of Brazil. The goal of his survey is to assess possible routes for a water canal from the region’s only voluminous river. As the work trip progresses, we sense that José Renato has something in common with the places he visits: emptiness, a sense of abandonment and isolation. But he presses ahead, continuing the trip in hope that the crossing can somehow transmute his feelings.
“Beautifully structured and ultimately transcendent…a road movie in its purest form, offering an affecting record of processing loss and coming through to the other side.” – Jay Weissberg, Variety
“No home movie has ever been so beautiful, poetic, and filled with mythical resonances as this one.” –Nando Salvá, BAFICI
“The movie’s true brilliance comes from its portrayal of how the world curls around you in the grip of heartache—every song on the radio, every face you see, every story you’re told reflecting only what you’ve lost.” – Allison Willmore, Time Out New York
Winner, Best Director and Best Cinematography, Rio International Film Festival, 2009
Winner, FIPRESCI Award, Havana International Film Festival, 2009
Official Selection, Venice International Film Festival, 2009