Léo Bittencourt

Não recomendado para menores de 18 Anos
Not recommended for under 18 years Sexual content. Nudity; Explicit Sex

Léo Bittencourt

2021, 19min, BR
Não recomendado para menores de 18 Anos
Not recommended for under 18 years Sexual content. Nudity; Explicit Sex

Léo Bittencourt

2021, 19min, BR
Não recomendado para menores de 18 Anos
Not recommended for under 18 years Sexual content. Nudity; Explicit Sex

Use the voucher CineEsquemaNovo2021 to watch the movie.

The night side of a modernist icon. The fauna and flora of Roberto Burle Marx's gardens inhabited by visitors to Flamengo's Park while the city of Rio de Janeiro falls asleep. Vagalumes is a fabulated ethnography of the night at Flamengo's Park.


Production Company: Fauna Filmes e Esquina Filmes
Directed by: Léo Bittencourt 
Produced by: Léo Bittencourt e Júlia Murat 
Executive Producer: Sabrina Bitencourt
Director of Photography: Léo Bittencourt e Juliano Gomes
Sound design: Felippe Schultz Mussel 
Montage by: Ricardo Pretti e Waldir Xavier 
Cast: Daniel dos Santos de Andrade, Elisa Lucinda , Gleiton Matheus Bonfante, Lino Besser, Niana, Machado, Nico Arawá, Paulo Guidelly, Rafael Medina, Wallace Lino 

24ª Mostra de Cinema de Tiradentes – Panorama
Festival de Curtas-Metragens de Clermont-Ferrand – LABO Competition 2021(França)

Production Company: Fauna Filmes e Esquina Filmes
Directed by: Léo Bittencourt 
Produced by: Léo Bittencourt e Júlia Murat 
Executive Producer: Sabrina Bitencourt
Director of Photography: Léo Bittencourt e Juliano Gomes
Sound design: Felippe Schultz Mussel 
Montage by: Ricardo Pretti e Waldir Xavier 
Cast: Daniel dos Santos de Andrade, Elisa Lucinda , Gleiton Matheus Bonfante, Lino Besser, Niana, Machado, Nico Arawá, Paulo Guidelly, Rafael Medina, Wallace Lino 
Real Main Characters (people portraying themselves): Gabriel Fernando de Castro ; Lourival Júnior 
Written by: Léo Bittencourt and Ricardo Pretti 
Director’s Assistant: Juliano Gomes
Story line: Juliano Gomes
Director of prodution: Sabrina Bitencourt
Color correction: Fábio Souza ABC
Sound Editor: Felippe Schultz Mussel, Laura Zimmermann and Verónica D. Cerrotta
Mixagem: Bernardo Adeodato
Sound operator: Felipe Luz
Foley: Pedro Coelho
Direction and cast assistants: Giovani Barros and Lorran Dias
Art department suport: Wellison Foguinho
Research: Giovani Barros, Sabrina Bitencourt and Vanessa Marques
Post-Production coordinator: Isabel Lessa
Opening and credits: Flávio Soares. 



Photo: Amina Sophia Nogueira

Léo Bittencourt works as director, screenwriter and director of photography in fictions and documentaries for cinema and TV. Born in Brazil, in 1981, Léo graduated in Journalism at PUC-Rio, in Philosophy at the UERJ and studied History of Art at the Universidad Autonoma of Madrid. He began his professional life as a director and DoP in 2008. 


Dia dos Pais - Léo Bittencourt e Julia Murat (2008, 73min)
Satélites - Léo Bittencourt e Juliano Gomes (2013, 61min) 
As Ondas - (2016, 13min)



Originally, Our idea, mine and Juliano Gomes, was to make a more traditional observation documentary about the daily life of Parque do Flamengo. It would be a three-act film, shot as if it were a single day, divided into morning, afternoon, and night. 

After we started the research on the construction of the park, we decided to change the focus of the film. The Flamengo Park, or simply Aterro, was one of the Great Public Works of renovation of Rio's downtown. These works of “improvements” included the construction of large avenues, squares, and public buildings, the grounding of small mangroves, and a faster connection between downtown and the South Zone of Rio. In this process of “modernization”, numerous families were removed to the periphery, and important morros were demolished, such as Morro do Castelo and Morro de Santo Antônio. 

We chose to shoot at night in order to focus the film on a portion of the population that inhabits the park and that is not part of this ideal of progress and modernization. This population has always been marginalized and that has its refuge in the night. Aterro do Flamengo is seen as a dangerous place to go at night, so most people who go to the park for sports or leisure leave as soon as sun light goes out. There, remain the people who have no other home to live in, people who will exercise their religiosity of afro-Brazilian origin, and boys who go to the place in search of other boys. 

People who are living in the streets, people who practice candomblé and cruising (the practice of free, consensual, and anonymous sex in public places) are the fireflies that glow in the dark of the Aterro. These characters who even as they are in the shadow of the bourgeois ideal of society and the modernist ideal that conceived and built the park make this space a possible place for the experience of other forms of sociability, fight, and pleasure.   

From the aesthetic/narrative point of view, what most stimulated us was the artificial character of this huge park. The park was created by embanking the waters of Guanabara Bay with the land of a gigantic morro (hill), with equally monumental progress and redesign of the city in mind. This gives us enormous artistic freedom. If everything in that space was created and idealized, then the film can also start from this premise and create another space for itself. A space that only exists because and through cinema. "Vagalumes" narrates a night walk in a cinematographically artificial embankment, which begins with a sci-fi atmosphere and builds a sensory experience between plants, people, animals, and architecture that ends with the entire park cumming. 



I decided to publish the interview granted for the prestigious French Short Film Festival so that the Brazilian audience could have access to it in Portuguese and in full - I just translated the questions and left the rest of the text in its first version. The final interview had to be reduced, due to the limited space that the festival opened for each of the directors of the competitive shows. This was the first interview I gave about Vagalumes. The film was still unpremiered and I had no idea of how it would be received. This interview is therefore part of the process, no longer of the film, which was already edited at that time, but of my understanding of it, which does not stop changing.)


CRITIC by Carlos Alberto Mattos

CRITIC by Francisco Carbone - Cenas de Cinema












Giovani Barros and the research on cruising:

Áudio 1: https://www.mixcloud.com/CineEsquemaNovo/giovani-barros-e-a-pesquisa-do-cruising-1/

Áudio 2: https://www.mixcloud.com/CineEsquemaNovo/giovani-barros-e-a-pesquisa-do-cruising-2/

Áudio 3: https://www.mixcloud.com/CineEsquemaNovo/giovani-barros-e-a-pesquisa-do-cruising-3/


Sabrina Bitencourt and the search for characters who were living in the streets:

Áudio 1 – https://www.mixcloud.com/CineEsquemaNovo/sabrina-bitencourt-e-a-pesquisa-dos-personagens-em-situação-de-rua-vagalumes-de-léo-bittencourt/

Áudio 2 – https://www.mixcloud.com/CineEsquemaNovo/sabrina-bitencourt-pesquisa-dos-personagens-em-situação-de-rua-vagalumes-de-léo-bittencourt-2/



LAYOUT (2015)



PRESS BOOK (2018) 


Filming proposals




This is the script map for the film that we didn't get to make. Or rather, it is the realization of the crossroads that Juliano Gomes and I got ourselves into when we tried to make the filmed material a feature film. Crossroads because we were unable to move forward and two new paths opened up, two new films. It was from the moment that we put the ideas of the 1st stage of editing on paper, that we saw different possible approaches and differences of interest between me and Ju. This map represents how we thought the images in 2019, their classification and their chaining. The solution we found was to divide the project and Juliano and I then started to look for different paths for the material, thus generating two films from the same base, from a common trajectory that followed until the filming, a pre- shared montage that didn’t advance and then split.






Estranho no Lago (2013) by Alain Guiraudie

Justification: Estranho no Lago was the first movie I watched about cruising (the practice of free, consensual, and anonymous sex in public places). The film is exquisite in transforming some of the characteristics of this practice, such as the meeting with the stranger, the horniness, the search for intense pleasure, the randomness of the encounters, and the adrenaline in cinematic narrative. 

It is a film that starts soft, using repetition of everyday visits with humor. Until a murder happens and the narrative gains another weight. At this moment, the film speaks of the human condition, of our paradoxes. Of how sex can be close to death, horniness to fear, and comedy to drama.  


Manhã de Santo Antônio (2012) by João Pedro Rodrigues

Justification: I really like João Pedro Rodrigues's films,  Manhã de Santo Antônioin particular - it is one of his first films. The short is almost a zombie movie. Zombies wander catatonic through the city, but not looking for meat, but for love. João Pedro reverses our expectation and plays with cinematographic genres.   

In this strange movie of zombie lovers, there is no dialogue, so the sound design gains a huge prominence. The sound of the film is hyper-realistic and the viewer can hear every element of the scene, so we are glued to the screen, alert, and paying attention to the smallest details. It is the sound that dictates the rhythm of the film and leads the viewer's gaze on the images; another important formal “inversion” of the film. 

This was one of the first films that made me realize how important sound is to the cinematic experience. It was the main reference to create the sound design of Vagalumes.    


Blow Job (1964) by Andy Warhol

Justification: Blow Job é uma daquelas obras que vemos uma vez e que nunca sai da cabeça. O filme faz parte de uma série de pequenos estudos em 16mm, retratos de artistas famosos, que o Warhol fez um sua Silver Factory. Especificamente no Blow Job, o que é mais interessante é a decisão do que não mostrar. De focar a observação não o ato sexual em si, mas na reação, fixando o olhar do espectador nas dinâmicas que o corpo humano desenvolve durante um ato sexual. Nós ficamos ali, olhando diretamente para as feições de prazer e até de tédio do personagem ao longo dos 36 minutos da obra. Essa escolha de manter a atenção, de não decupar, potencializa muito a experiência e cria uma situação de voyeurismo que só o cinema pode gerar e que muda a percepção do espectador sobre o ato sexual, abrindo novas camadas de interpretação e fruição. O primeiro plano que concretiza a pegação no Aterro do Flamengo em Vagalumes é um plano Warholiano, um close em que só vemos o rosto de quem está recebendo o boquete, colocando imediatamente o espectador numa posição de um voyeur intensificado, porque o som passa a ter um protagonismo muito maior do que se mostrássemos o ato em si e porque o espectador é também convidado a olhar e quem sabe imaginar o ato a partir de outra perspectiva, uma perspectiva incompleta e, por isso mesmo, cinematograficamente rica.


Cavalo dinheiro (2014) by Pedro Costa

Justification: Contemporary Portuguese cinema, especially by João Pedro Rodrigues and Pedro Costa, was a very important reference for the conception of Vagalumes. I highlight Pedro Costa's work with non-actors, filming in real locations, and the narrative that inextricably mixes the context and life of his characters and fiction. No Quarto de Vanda is one of his films that has these characteristics to a greater degree. I cannot help but comment that I had the enormous joy and privilege of being able to count with Waldir Xavier's precise hand and look in editing the film. Waldir did the sound editing of No quarto de Vanda and taught me a lot with his experience, greatly enriching the final stage of editing Vagalumes. At the beginning of the research process for our short, when we were deciding upon what static we would like to create, Cavalo Dinheiro was an important reference for the cinematography. The way Pedro Costa's film explores the nocturnal environment, how he illuminates and exposes for the black skin, the emphasis on architecture and what is not human in the shot. In the end, we gave up the 4:3, like in Cavalo Dinheiro, and opted for cinemascope, 2:39:1. However, the way we look at space in its relationship with humans and the dynamics between light/dark came from enjoying the images of Cavalo Dinheiro. 




“O parque” by Antonio Cicero


At night he goes to the park
between the sea and the city
and the cliff of the sky
and the abyss of his self.

With all kindness
he throws the net and hurts
the waters of the gentle night
and reaps what is offered:

the lights of Niterói,
the darkness and Urca
and above them the Sugar Loaf;

then car tracks
and in the midst of greenery
who knows what they do
almost motionless athletes;

the hotel Glória lit-up
behind a grove on the pitch;
the monument, a soldier,
and onward the museum

and the marina; and then,
coming from the airport
a distant smell of sewage
offends the ladies of the night;

and there are shapes by the sea
and lovers in Half-Light
and at the surface of the sea
a blue that flickers

and its embodied desire
in the hand of a certain dark-skinned man
so warm and passionate
crazy about the serene;

and finally what is there
it's the Milky Way gushing
high in the firmament
and at his feet without foundation. 

HOLLANDA, Heloísa Buarque de; MARTINS, Alberto. Esses Poetas - Uma antologia dos anos 90. Rio de Janeiro: Aeroplano, 1998. 

Justification: Antonio Cicero's O parque walks hand in hand with Vagalumes through the gardens of Burle Marx. The amazement for the night, for the delight, for the darkness, for the unknown, and for the horniness unites poetry and cinema in the Aterro do Flamengo. 



PLAYLIST of songs and sounds that guided the creative process of the 1st phase of the film



Aterro do Flamengo
by Alessandra Bergamaschi (2011, 46min, RJ)
Viewer's Discretion - Not recommended for children under 12 years;
Impactful content

Sinopsis: A view of Aterro do Flamengo public park, in Rio de Janeiro, from the window.

I remember the impact that the premiere session of Alessandra Bergamaschi's Aterro do Flamengo made on me. It was 2011, and the session was in a cinema a few meters from the park. I was mesmerized by the film, by its ability to present an initially banal situation and a place that I have known since childhood, in something so unusual and powerful. It was there, in that session, that I first saw that Parque do Flamengo was capable of generating a transformative cinematic experience. 

In Aterro do Flamengo, a single still shot, filmed from the window of an apartment, manages to make everyday life into a Greek tragedy. The still and distant frame of the shot is one of the main forces of the film, as it gives human actions a performative character. We observe the dynamics of movement until, suddenly, we realize that there is something strange, which reconfigures everything we have seen until then and reorients our perception of those people, about the park, society and ultimately ourselves.