Cesar Oiticica Filho’s first film is a visually striking found-footage documentary about the filmmaker’s uncle, Hélio Oiticica (1937–1980), one of the most important Brazilian artists of the 20th Century. Foregoing voiceover narration and expert analyses, the film allows Oiticica himself to narrate his life and expound upon his art in his own words, and in extremely rare archival audio and visual material. The artist’s commentary guides us through his artistic development and expansive political and aesthetic interests, from his modernist paintings and sculptures in the 1960s to his expanded cinema installations and slide show environments of the 1970s, and from the favelas and the lively street life of Rio, New York and London to samba schools and the tropicália cultural movement, jumpstarted by Oiticica but associated with musicians Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil. The film’s rhythmic montage of images doesn’t simply illustrate the artist’s commentary, but both contextualises and radically expands upon it. The result is a bold and complex portrait of an artist for whom life (including homosexuality and drug use) and work determined and transformed each other. (Forum catalogue; Marc Siegel)
"Hélio Oiticica" received both this year's Caligari- and FIPRESCI Prize.
For more information visit the film's webpage.
Cesar Oiticica Filho was born on 23 February 1968 in Rio de Janeiro. He first trained as a journalist and studied at the New York Film Academy. Since then, he has worked as a painter, photographer, exhibition curator, and filmmaker. "Hélio Oiticica" is his first fulllength documentary.
My uncle’s inner voice
While researching the films of Helio Oiticica, I discovered around fifteen rolls of Super 8 film. I was impressed that they were still unknown, as he was one of the greatest artists of the second half of the twentieth century. At that moment I had the sensation that, together with the cassette tapes with which I was already familiar, one would be able to see through the eyes of the artist and hear his inner thoughts. This was still very little, compared to what was to be discovered, experimented with, invented, discussed and lived. The research resulted in historic moments, not only relating directly to the film, but also to the discovery of each of the treasures presented by the film Helio Oiticica. The greatest challenge in making a film about an artist who pioneered the introduction of the sensorial and interactive in works of art is to transmit these sensations to the viewer. The sound that envelops the entire film is always accompanied by a sensorial layer; in truth one more layer in its dimensions. Perceiving and experimenting with the concept of each one of these layers of the artist’s work was an enlightening path to take; facing the challenges from those points of developing cinematic solutions was one of the most wonderful rewards of the work. Assuming the philosophy of Helio Oiticica enabled an understanding of how to realise images that can be confused with his, thus transposing the tone of discussion over reality. The use of 35mm slides as photograms and running them at 24 FPS to create 'quasi cinema', goes beyond cinema while remaining faithful to the use of the still camera. Fellini said, 'It is as if we are always making the same film.' In this case it is never finished, being always an encounter between cinema and life. The film doesn’t employ the words 'the end'; after a screening, it continues to be something beyond cinema, encouraging the public to immerse themselves in and experiment with the ideas of Helio Oiticica and to live the 'Delirium Ambulatorium'.
Cesar Oiticica Filho, Rio de Janeiro, January 2013
Caligari Prize Tour (screenings presented by Cesar Oiticica Filho):
29.09., 8 pm, Film Museum Frankfurt
30.09., 8 pm, Arsenal Cinema, Berlin
07.10., 8 pm, Caligari Filmbühne, Wiesbaden
09.10., 7 pm, Kinemathek Karlsruhe
Additional screening presented by director:
04.10., 21 Uhr, filmpalette Köln
Exhibition of Hélio Oiticica's work in Frankfurt/Main
September 28, 2013 – Januar 12, 2014
Parallel to the theatrical release of Hélio Oiticica the MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt/Main will feature the most comprehensive retrospective of his work ever staged. To be shown in Frankfurt following presentations in Brazil and Portugal, this overview will encompass works from all phases in the career of the most important Brazilian artist of the post-war era. This exhibition is being realized within the framework of the cultural programme on Brazil as the Frankfurt Book Fair's Guest of Honour in 2013. From 31 August to 27 October 2013, the MMK show will be supplemented by three outdoor walk-in sculptures presented at the city of Frankfurt's Palmengarten. Visitors are invited to interact.
Country: Brazil 2012. colour & b/w. Running time: 94 min. Language: Portuguese, English. Language Version: OV with German subtitles. Director, screenwriter: Cesar Oiticica Filho. Director of photography: Felipe Reinheimer. With: Estelle Hebron Jones, Carmen Menendez, Camila Mota, Fred Steffen, Acauã Sol, Cassandra Melo, Armando Queiroz, Zé Celso Martinez Corrêa, Ana Tavares, Claudine Franco, Ana Guilhermina, Carlos Nunes.