Porto Alegre Film Festival
In 1972, Mexican writer and Literature Nobel Prize Octavio Paz (1914-1998) gave a series of lectures at Harvard University dedicated, essentially, to the double and antagonistic temptation that fascinated modern poets: from German romanticism to the crises of the avant-garde. In his speech, there was a profound dedication to the contradictions generated between tradition and rupture, origin and originality, nostalgia and utopia, myth and history, religion and revolution, analogy and irony, translation and metaphor, the revolt of the future, the decline of the avant-garde. All of this was part of his dialectical "game", sustained by a worldview full of simultaneous synchronisms and discontinuities. With that, almost 40 years ago (!!!), Paz brought up a crucial expression, which easily surpassed his analysis restricted to poetry, to illustrate a state of mind that is transversal and unavoidable to all the arts and expressions of today: "modern tradition".
This ambivalence, and paradoxical view of modernity, belongs to both the analysis and the object, and even the reasoning, of the Mexican poet and critic. And it fits like a glove in CineEsquemaNovo 2011 - Porto Alegre Film Festival (CEN) in the following sense: how to stay fresh as a festival that promotes the "new", but it's in its seventh edition? How not to make of itself, or how to accept and learn to live as, a modern tradition? How to manage this on two levels, that of the works that are as such, and that of the festival that represents them?
There are other issues, coming from Octavio Paz's literary analysis, which are easily paralleled in all arts and also in CEN 2011 - especially for us Latin Americans. One of them is the relativization of the concept of universality, which for centuries and centuries meant a thought restricted to the canonized traditions of the European world. "In the universal concert of the poetic voices of modernity, the Mexican poet inserted the voices excluded from the Western literary paradigm, especially those arising from the hybrid universe of Latin American cultures, characterized by him as 'an extension and a transgression' of what is defined as 'West'" (MACIEL, Maria Esther, 1998).
There could be no straighter comparison, in our view, to understand the construction of today's audiovisual imagery, shown in all its strength and diversity at CEN 2011. The Porto Alegre Film Festival receives and amplifies audiovisual productions that are independent, Brazilian, Latin American, or international, and that force the established order to hear new voices, create new unanimities and exceptions, relativize standards, subvert industrial systems of image production (check out the essay by Cezar Migliorin mentioned below) and change established reasonings about what film is, or what visual arts are.
This is not a "new generation" or "young filmmakers", because the filter is not generational or demographic; it's about a worldview. From a production that reaches them, and reaches other places, in new ways. And that, ironically, in its trajectory of legitimacy followed by CineEsquemaNovo since 2003, grows, matures, and, suddenly, catches itself as it walks quickly by a mirror as the ultimate "modern tradition".
To seek renewal is part of human nature. It is the essence of the ever perfect natural order. So where do we stand? Where do stand films, works and festivals, as pseudo-bastions of modern, post-modern, contemporary, neo-baroque creativity, experimentation, innovation and surprise?
For CEN, what matters is to accept this end function, this delicious and comfortable cul-de-sac, which is the situation of belonging to modern tradition as a festival dedicated to this cause. Thus, we open a smile when confronted with this sarcastic situation: it is already a tradition, to see the news in language research selected every year at CineEsquemaNovo. Many have done so in the past; others will do so in the future, today it is us, and many others around the world, who are doing it at the present time.
After receiving more than 900 submissions, this is what we are about to see in the screening of short and medium-length films, with 27 works that opened the hybridism of languages (and that, many times, were not intentionally designed for movie theaters). And in the feature film screening, with 12 films that travel through proposals of genre, format, and production methods with all kinds of nuances.
With each edition, the curatorial work of the five CEN partners regarding the competitive sections, and the program as a whole, deepens and evolves in line with CEN's principles. The geographical and daily distances have increased, making the process even more challenging, because in the first edition in 2003 we were all in the south of Brazil, but today we are spread out between the capital of Rio Grande do Sul, São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, and Lisbon.
Six editions have past and we're going on seven. CEN is now assisting the development of the works of directors and of a type of production that, at another time, was considered “minor” by the collective conscience of those who still feel in the role of determining what is or is not cinema in Brazil. However, it is precisely this Brazilian post-industrial cinema that has been most recognized, valued, and awarded inside and outside the country, to the detriment of the national “big films” that in very few cases have found an echo with audiences across the border. And even inside the borders...
Now, the CineEsquemaNovo selection is based much more on the degree of identification of each work with the essential proposal of the festival: there is no longer the need to make the exhibition space itself our end, which was still imperative in the first editions. Because of this dynamic, several films that were aesthetically and artistically aligned with past editions are no longer aligned with the principles today, for different reasons, ranging from the increase in the general level of submissions - especially among feature films - to the repetition of proposals that a few years ago were new and today sound more like repetition than a path of their own.
If it is possible to point out a general characteristic of CEN's selection in 2011 - what is certainly also a reflection of what goes on within the selection committee - it would be the certain “weight” present in most of the films. Both in the visual approach and in the themes or characters, they are works that demand a different time for enjoyment and that demand from the spectator to give something in return. They are films "dense" due to their silences, delays, long shots, and few cuts, which give the works a highly contemplative and reflective content. They demand more, while opening up more possibilities for appreciation.
Perhaps it is possible to speak of a phase of Brazilian independent cinema marked by a mood of melancholy or hangover, reflecting the dissatisfaction of filmmakers and visual artists regarding cinema or the perception of cinema in Brazil, because most of the time - perhaps even in its entirety - the works selected for CEN reflect the directors' way of being in the world. Some films this year feature an attempt to give a “slap in the face”. Perhaps it is just a symptom of the “maturation” of these directors, in the best possible sense.
Anyway, this is a cinema with an open proposal and that brings many more questions than answers, that is restless and essayistic in its essence. These are works that inquire and question themselves, their desires, objectives, and reasons for being - and that, by not being concerned with formal narrative ties, or shooting and editing formats, retain a freshness that brings with it a necessary flavor of insubordination.
By directing its gaze towards this production, CEN places itself as a space destined not only for film screening, but also (and just as importantly) for thinking and debating subjects that gravitate towards a single theme: the status of the image in contemporaneity - a subject being under scrutiny in several types of artistic manifestations, some of them contemplated by the festival.
This “problem” is translated by the competitive sections, which present a hybrid cinema endowed with strong intersections with the visual arts, and also by the other activities in the program of the seventh edition of CineEsquemaNovo. Throughout this catalog, you will learn more about all these activities in texts and articles dedicated exclusively to them. Nevertheless, we must highlight these now: together, and alongside the competitive screenings, these compose the true mosaic that we have set up for the festival in 2011.
One of them gives continuity to our relationship with audiovisual production from outside Brazil, a project that CEN has been stimulating since a few editions ago. After the guest features in 2008, and exclusive screenings of foreign works (Zona Livre and Cine en Construcción) in 2009, the Panorama of International Festivals brings to Porto Alegre a sample of works from more than 15 countries, which have been screened at festivals like CEN in regards to dedication to audiovisual production, visual arts, and the questions they arise. The Panorama section shows special programs from five festivals: Transmediale and EMAF-European Media Art Festival (Germany); Temps D'Images Portugal; Week of Cine Experimental de Madrid (Spain) and BAFICI (Argentina), curated by their respective organizers, alongside CEN members Ramiro Azevedo and Alisson Avila.
These festivals have partnered with CEN to present in Brazil some of the best short films screened in their latest years, and, because they're almost 40 works, it is an injustice to highlight any titles in particular. Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning the following: “Silêncio”, by FJ Ossang, awarded in Cannes; “The End of a Love Affair”, a video and performance project co-directed by João Fiadeiro and Pedro Costa - the latter, one of the greatest names in contemporary cinema; “Curso de Silêncio”, by Miguel Gonçalves Mendes (director of the documentary “José e Pilar”); “Rip in Pieces America”, by Dominic Gagnon, a collection of videos banned from the internet due to their content; and “After the Empire”, by Elodie Pong, a satire in which several characters from pop culture appear in sorts of tragic, comical and absurd sketches. These are some among many other good examples, and all can be watched during the week of the festival and read about in full throughout this catalog.
In addition to maintaining a dialogue with foreign production, however, the CEN 2011 resumes practices from previous years that had been dormant, such as conducting visual works that are part of the festival for other exhibition windows besides the cinema theater. If this convergence takes place every year in the dark and closed space of projection, 2011 is the year that CEN resumes the extrapolated use of cinema and visual arts in more volatile environments. This occurred in the video interventions in specific points of Porto Alegre done in the weeks leading up to the festival, curated by members of Atelier Subterrânea (a new and effervescent partner of CineEsquemaNovo), and in two other parallel programs.
One of them is the video installation "Expiration 02", by Pablo Lobato, based in Subterrânea, which comes to Porto Alegre as an unfolding of the exhibition "O Que Pode a Expiração", shown in May 2010 at the Inimá de Paula museum in Belo Horizonte.
Pablo Lobato has been connected to CineEsquemaNovo since its first edition, in 2003, when we screened his short film “Cerrar a porta em filme”. Later, in 2008, he was part of the festival's official award jury. In the project he brings to CEN 2011, he shows monitors connected to the "Expiration" machine, which continuously rotate videos produced from archive images that have never been used before and that have also never been reproduced. That is, images of which there are no copies. When activated, on the opening day of the exhibition, the machines will randomly determine the time of existence of each video by means of a software developed especially for the project. After a certain time, and until the final moment of the festival on April 30, the images seen in that unique moment will cease to exist, in an inversion of the logic that currently guides the industrial practices of production, storage, and circulation of images: the project enables us to be in front of recorded images and sounds that will cease to exist, going against excess.
The second special program dedicated to this visual extrapolation is the exhibition “Fictions”, curated by CEN members Jaqueline Beltrame and Morgana Rissinger, which occupies the Lunara Gallery of Usina do Gasômetro. After a few years of curating the festival's competitive screenings, and thus having access to films by directors who dialogue and move in the circuit of film festivals and visual arts exhibitions, the curatorship of this exhibition shows works by artists who present a great deal of strong fictional in the selected works - a characteristic frequently observed in cinema, but which here originates from the semantic logic of visual art.
Within this perspective, the research work was dedicated to seeking images, photos, or videos that referred to the creation of fictions, using concepts that are commonly developed in cinematographic practice: a represented scene, a still from an imaginary film, the creation of characters and the relationship between them, images of imaginary situations/facts, etc. Four artists who have in their productions some works that dialogue with these possibilities of fiction taken into account by this exhibition were chosen. Sofia Borges (lives and works in São Paulo and Ibiúna - SP), Cinthia Marcelle (lives and works in Belo Horizonte - MG), Jonathas de Andrade (lives and works in Recife - PE), and Alessandra Sanguinetti (lives and works in Nova York - USA) were the invited names.
If all the possibilities of the CEN 2011 program have already immersed and confused you with modern tradition, we invite you to even more activities - and these, as in all other editions of the festival, are also free of charge, and are counting on your involvement.
The seminar cycle of the seventh edition of CineEsquemaNovo follows the successful change of 2009, where the members of the jury give daily lectures to students, teachers, and the general public. António Câmara Manuel (Portugal), Bruno Vianna (RJ), Júlia Rebouças (MG), Leo Felipe (RS), Roger Lerina (RS) and William Hinestrosa (SP) are the names behind each of the meetings. And, in addition to members of the jury and speakers, they will be remembered for following a change in the rules of the festival this year: for the first time, the feature films and short and medium-length films have separate juries.
This new thing does not alter the logic of the seminars, where everyone will be free to discuss subjects such as "Politics, Cinema and Human Relations" (Política, Cinema e Relações Humanas, William Hinestrosa); "Possible Dialogues" (Diálogos Possíveis), from the collection of Inhotim (Julia Rebouças); "Some Words about Irit Batsry" (Algumas Palavras sobre Irit Batsry), about the work of the prestigious Israeli artist resident in the United States (António Câmara Manuel); "O Fim do Cinema" (Bruno Vianna); "Search & Destroy - O Rock na Arte Contemporânea" (Leo Felipe); and "A Cinefilia ainda existe?" (Roger Lerina).
The debates keep their captive place at the festival, both in diversity and importance. The opening film of CEN 2011 ("Os Residentes", by Tiago Mata Machado); the "possible dialogues" about the insertion of visual art exhibitions in CineEsquemaNovo and the possible consequences of this union; and the public policies of the Brazilian audiovisual sector, given the logic of post-industrial production (a term recently defended by CEN 2009 researcher and jury, Cezar Migliorin) are highlighted in our catalog and program. Not to mention the traditional “debates and battles”, which always happen between filmmakers and the public immediately after the projections of the competitive sections.
The Critics Workshop continues to have its space in CEN's program and is held for the first time in partnership with the Association of Film Critics of Rio Grande do Sul (ACCIRS). A longtime CEN partner, the programmer of Sala PF Gastal, editor of Teorema magazine, and executive director of the association, Marcus Mello, is responsible for the journey that culminates with the choice of the New Critics Award for Best Feature Film.
There is also the Extra Hour section, in the intervals of the evening sessions in the CEN lounge, at Usina do Gasômetro, that presents other works and forms of expression by the filmmakers and the festival team; Rádio CEN, at the happy hour in the festival lounge, with tracklists selected by the invited directors; fraternization encounters; the parties, because it is necessary to celebrate; and, above all, the feeling of a 'temporary autonomous zone' that takes care of those who live intensely this week, coming from all over Brazil and also from abroad.
Porto Alegre becomes, at each edition of the festival, a meeting point, a moment that brings together a significant part of the Brazilian community of independent directors, whether they come from movie theaters or art galleries; cinema clubs or online forums; solitary authorship or creative collectives; analog crafts or technological interfaces.
Be, as always, welcome.
SHORTS AND MEDIUMS COMPETITION
846 Submissions - 27 Selections
FEATURE FILM COMPETITION
57 Submissions - 12 Selections
INTERNATIONAL FESTIVALS PANORAMA
a sample of works coming from more than 15 countries, and which have been in festivals like CEN regarding the dedication to audiovisual production, visual arts, and the questions they arise The Panorama section features special programs from five festivals: Transmediale and EMAF-European Media Art Festival (Germany); Temps D'Images Portugal; Semana de Cine Experimental de Madrid (Spain) and BAFICI (Argentina).
• Video installation: "Expiration 02", by Pablo Lobato, at Subterrânea, which comes to Porto Alegre as an unfolding of the exhibition "O Que Pode a Expiração", shown in May 2010 at the Inimá de Paula museum in Belo Horizonte.
• “Fictions”: the curatorship of this exhibition shows works by artists who strongly present fiction in their selected works - a characteristic frequently observed in cinema, but which here originates from the semantic logic of visual art. Within this perspective, the research work was dedicated to seeking images, photos, or videos that referred to the creation of fictions, using concepts that are commonly developed in cinematographic practice: a represented scene, a still from an imaginary film, the creation of characters and the relationship between them, images of imaginary situations/facts, etc. Four artists who have in their productions some works that dialogue with these possibilities of fiction taken into account by this exhibition were chosen. Sofia Borges (lives and works in São Paulo and Ibiúna - SP), Cinthia Marcelle (lives and works in Belo Horizonte - MG), Jonathas de Andrade (lives and works in Recife - PE), and Alessandra Sanguinetti (lives and works in Nova York - USA) were the invited names.
(jury: Bruno Vianna, Júlia Rebouças and Roger Lerina)
Best film: “Pacific”, by Marcelo Pedroso (PE)
Justification: A risky wager - to orchestrate a polyphony of narratives of characters who do not know that they are creating a fiction of themselves. Or do they know? "Pacific" plunges into ambiguity and emerges with a multiple portrait that proposes a new form of documentary and, in addition, treats the characters with dignity.
Special jury award: “Álbum de Família”, by Wallace Nogueira (BA)
Justification: The motto evolves and matures in the course of the film itself. The intelligent and sensitive use of light and montage leads the viewer with a growing interest in the unfolding of the story. The end touches dangerously the sentimental, but the twilight tone keeps the narrative dry.
Best Direction: Helena Ignez and Ícaro Martins, for “Luz nas Trevas - A Volta do Bandido da Luz Vermelha” (SP)
Justification: The risk again: a totem of Brazilian cinema, “O Bandido da Luz Vermelha” is revisited with freshness and shamelessness thanks to the sharp mise-en-scene, which extracts a performance with blood, rhythm, and surrender from the cast.
Best gimmick trophy: “Chantal Akerman, de Cá”, by Gustavo Beck and Leonardo Luiz Ferreira (RJ)
Justification: An aesthetical option that respects and refers to the character, the documentary exposes its guts frankly to the viewer. Rather than weakening, however, the film grows by incorporating its shortcomings - and echoes Chantal's own unveiling, humanly imperfect in the face of the rigorous device.
SHORT AND MEDIUM-FILMS
(jury: António Manuel Câmara, Leo Felipe and William Hinestrosa)
Best film: “O Sarcófago”, by Daniel Lisboa (BA)
Much more than a record of artistic activity, “O Sarcófago” is an immersion in the enigmatic universe of Jayme Fygura. There is no room for didacticism. Expressive montage, rhythm and matter. A film about art.
Awards Free of Category:
“As Corujas”, by Fred Benevides (CE)
A full audiovisual experience. Owls disturb death, and literature is also at play.
“My Way”, by Camilo Cavalcante (PE)
Sadness and loneliness as drivers of a narrative that leaves the streets of a carnival and reaches other true feelings. It's good when film touches us.
“Raimundo dos Queijos”, by Victor Furtado (CE)
The double look of the viewer and the camera builds a dialectic with humor and lightness. Victor Furtado, director and character, shows us in Raimundo dos Queijos not only an urban family Sunday atmosphere, but above all a Brazilian portrait.
Critics award: “Ex Isto” by Cao Guimarães (MG)
For the reinvention of a literary work in the language of cinema through a project consistent in its narrative and visual conceptions.
Best feature film chosen by the popular jury: “Luz nas Trevas - A Volta do Bandido da Luz Vermelha”, by Helena Ignez and Ícaro Martins (SP)
Best short or medium-length film chosen by the popular jury: "Céu, Inferno e Outras Partes do Corpo" (“Heaven, Hell and Other Body Parts”), by Rodrigo John (RS).
CineEsquemaNovo Award: “Os Residentes”, a film by Tiago Mata Machado.