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Film revives memories

From August 30 to September 8, waves of joy, struggle, passion and vivacity will fill the city’s movie theatres at the 11th edition of the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival (VLAFF). Representing Brazil, two movies will be competing for the First Time Director Award, Avanti Popolo and Jonathas’ Forest, while three titles have entered the short film competition: The Love that Dare not Speak its Name, Tastes Like Chicken and The Sad Tale of Little Mr. Jerk-Off.
Following a recent flood of docu-fiction in Latin American cinema, Avanti Popolo stands out as the most internationally acclaimed Brazilian movie at VLAFF this year, bringing a lot more than just an interesting narrative.
Although born in Uruguay and raised in Israel, director Michael Wahrmann, has been living in Sao Paulo for almost ten years, and succeeded in exploring a very Latin American theme in Avanti Popolo, picking up awards at festivals in Lima, Mexico City and Rome.
In the movie, a man knocks on his father’s door, needing a place to stay after a fight with his wife. He is coldly accepted by the old man and his sole companion, a dog named Whale.
In the modest house, the son digs up family memories, concealed in old Super 8 reels, of a missing brother for whom the father has been patiently waiting for over 30 years.
Wahrmann’s tale approaches a situation sadly and painfully carved in the history of Brazil and of many Latin American countries:A military dictatorships and the eternal wait for loved ones exiled elsewhere.
The director tackles these personal and collective memories not only through the storyline, but also through a fragmented, postmodern narrative, refined visual metaphors and an outstanding use of sound.
Subtle scenes during the drama reflect the characters’ aversion to metanarratives such as communism, capitalism, nationalism and other kinds of isms, exposing the deep wounds left by their respective ideologies.
Avanti Popolo hits Vancouver’s big screens during peculiar socio-economic times in Brazil. The country’s population experienced a few years of prosperous economic growth and wide optimism, which came to an abrupt end this summer when thousands took to the streets of the state capitals.
The manifestations, whether against proposed increases in bus fares and over expenditure on infra-structure for the World Cup, or lack of funds for education and health care, not only brought about a wave of nationalism, but they also dug up memories of the resistance against the military dictatorship and of the protests for then president Fernando Collor’s impeachment in the 1990s. Avanti Popolo is subtly connected to those social and political events of the past and present and is a highlight that will certainly appeal to many moviegoers in this year’s VLAFF.

About Vi­tor Borba

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