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51 min. Portuguese.

Isa, a young artist invited to propose a project for an exhibition, sets out to stage a dramatic adaptation of ‘The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas’, a satirical 19th-century novel by Machado de Assis. The rehearsal is marred by difficulties which the viewer must interpret as being due to the fact that Isa is a woman, young, black, all of the above, or as difficulties anyone would encounter.
The novel delivers a mordant critique of Brazilian society in the guise of a satirical autobiography narrated by a dead protagonist. In 1880 its author foresaw the abolition of slavery that would happen in Brazil eight years later, but predicted that it would be a mere formal measure, informally everything would remain the same.
The film was shot at the Ibirapuera pavilion designed by Oscar Niemeyer and its cast is made up of professional and non-professional actors, several of whom worked or currently work for the São Paulo Biennial Foundation. Featuring actors recast from another project Guimarães had worked on eight years earlier, O Ensaio is a film about the passage of time, about short lived revolutionary actions, about institutional memory, racism, and sexism in Brazil.

Tamar Guimarães, born in Belo Horizonte, Brazil in 1967, is a visual artist working with film and other forms of time based media. She studied Fine Arts at Goldsmiths, University of London and at the Konsthögskolan i Malmö and Art Theory at Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi, København. Guimarães’s work has been exhibited at biennials and in solo and group exhibitions worldwide. She lives and works in Copenhagen.

Production Luís Knihs, Maria Chiaretti, Tamar Guimarães. Production companies Tamar Guimarães (Kopenhagen, Denmark), Fundação Bienal de São Paulo (São Paulo, Brazil), Danish Arts Foundation (Kopenhagen, Denmark). Director Tamar Guimarães. Screenplay Tamar Guimarães, Melissa de Raaf, Lillah Hallah. Cinematography Bárbara Alvarez. Editing Tamar Guimarães, Beatriz Pomar. Music Arto Lindsay. Sound design Rubén Valdes, Filip Caranica. Sound Rubén Valdes. Production design Luís Knihs, Maria Chiaretti. Costumes Dayse Barreto. Make-up Guilherme Funari. Casting Tamar Guimarães, Lillah Hallah, Maria Chiaretti. Assistant directors Lillah Hallah, Patrícia Monegatto. Production manager Luís Knihs. With Isabél Zuaa, Germano Melo, Camila Mota, Julia Ianina, Kelner Macêdo, Silvio Restiffe, Suely Rolnik, Ivo Mesquita, Pablo Lafuente, Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro.

World sales Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel


selection: 2010: Canoas (14 min.). 2011: The Work of the Spirit (Parade) (12 min.). 2014: A Família do Capitão Gervásio 2013 - 2014 / Captain Gervasio's Family (with Kasper Akhøj, 16 min.). 2015: The Parrot’s Tail (with Kasper Akhøj, video installation, 17 min.). 2016: La Incorrupta / The Uncorrupted (36 min.). 2017: Studies for A Minor History of Trembling Matter (with Kasper Akhøj, 32 min.). 2019: O Ensaio / The Rehearsal.

Photo: © Tamar Guimarães

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur