(Landscape of Memories)
Dir: José Araújo
96 min., 35mm, 1:1.85, b/w
Produktion: Araújo-Valladares Productions, Ganesh Produçäes. Buch: José Araújo. Kamera: Antonio Luiz Mendes Soares. Musik: Nana Vasconcelos. Ausstattung: Flor Punk. Ton: Anton Herbert, Marcio Camara. Schnitt: Ismael Saavedra. Ton-Design: José Araújo. Produktionsmanager: Fausto Wolffenbuttel, Marcio Camara. Regie-Assistenz: Bete Alencar, Walter Filho. Kamera-Assistenz: Joe Pimentel. Schnitt-Assistenz: Elizabeth Ross, Anita Ingle, Mauricio Saavedra, Aaron Levaco.
Darsteller: Antero Marques Araújo, Maria Emilce Pinto, Eduardo Braga, Padre Juvemar Mator.
Uraufführung: 6. September 1996, Toronto Film Festival.
Weltvertrieb: Media Luna, Ida Martins, Friesenwall 83, D-50672 Köln. Tel.: (49-221) 139 22 22 / 137 787. Fax: (49-221) 139 22 24 / 135 474.
Fri 14.02. 14:00 Delphi Fri 14.02. 21:00 Kino 7 im Zoo Palast Mon 17.02. 19:00 Babylon
Maria encounters Antero at the foot of the tree of life. Antero is a strong worker and heroic symbol of the peasants. His calloused hands represent years of farming the arid lands. He sees himself as a direct descendant of the line of prophets from the Old Testament. Antero's history intermingles with Maria's. The collective tragedies and memories of the Sertanejos form his own story. Through his dreams he predicts the end of the world. He forsees plagues on the land. The characters he encounters in his visions are from the Bible. Through Antero's interpretation we see the unfolding of biblical prophecy.
Like Maria, Antero also encounters the Dragon which has many faces. It appears to him on the horizon as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, an omen foreshadowing destruction. After this vision, the Sertanejos suffer even more. Politicians from the cities arrive with false promises in exchange for votes. The people listen silently. Daily work is part of their struggle, they have heard these promises before. Their villages are historic regions of social conflict and the site of droughts and famine. Television enters and further alienates people. Mystics appear in villages, decrying the politicians, and inciting the people to revolt. Political agitation intermixes with religious fervour. Antero and Maria are part of the revolutionary process, struggling against the Dragon in all its forms.
But they suffer defeat and crushed hopes and their exploitation continues. However, this is part of the prophecy. Antero and Maria's plight fortifies their inner strength. For them living with adversity is an essential act and one that they share with their community. They continue to cling to the belief in freedom guided by saints and martyrs. It is these beliefs that accompany their work, pain and love for the land. Antero and Maria reflect the typical characters of an ancient and modern Sertão. The telling of their story guides them back to the house of photographs at the beginning of the film. Their story is the homage to the Sertanejos who struggle in anonymity like unsung heroes.
O SERTÃO DAS MEMORIAS is one of those rare films that lingers in the viewer's mind long after they end, with everyone forming their own interpretations of what they've seen. It is an unusual work, its style mixing elements of fiction and documentary. The story is equally unconventional, presented more as religious allegory than as traditional narrative.
In the Sertao, political agitation mixes with mysticism and religious fervour. The people live in adversity, clinging to their belief in a freedom guided by the saints and martyrs. O SERTÃO DAS MEMORIAS is a tender testimony to their culture, their love for the arid land, and their memories, poetry and spirituality.
(Ramiro Puerta, in: Toronto Film Festival Catalogue, 1996)
I am from the village of Miraima, where O SERTÃO DAS MEMORIAS was shot, in the state of Ceara, in Northeastern Brazil known as the Sertão. My parents are peasants who work and live off the land. All my life I have witnessed the strength which enable the people of my village to cope with the harsh conditions, drought, hunger and poverty. I also understand the processes in which we cope with adversities that create our myths and history. These in turn are perpetuated through our storytelling, songs, art, theater, religion and political struggle. O SERTÃO DAS MEMORIAS is a part of this tradition.
The film is the story of a region of Brazil, which is the poorest part of the country. Because of this reality, the people of the Sertão are denigrated, stereotyped and ridiculed by the rest of the country. In every big city of Brazil, it is the Northeasterners who are the manual laborers, house cleaners, street sweepers, prostitutes, and inhabitants of the favelas (slums). The Sertão has become synonymous with the poverty of a rich country. I wanted to show through the film that this is a region which is spiritually and culturally complex. That despite their material poverty, the people have developed a unique mythology and rich history. It is in this region that the heart of the Brazilian culture lies; its crafts, music, art, and literature. Because of these conditions which affect and form the people from the Sertão, their story is worth telling.
This was my inspiration for O SERTÃO DAS MEMORIAS. As a person from this region with an understanding of the stigma of being poor, I wanted to make a film that would capture the sense of dignity within the reality of poverty.
José Araújo was born January 19th, 1952. During his youth he studied at a Catholic seminary, where he began writing short storys, poetry, plays and also worked as a projectionist. Inspired by Brazil's 'Cinema Novo' and by the possibility that film could be used as a tool for political change, he left the seminary to study literature and Romance languages at Ceára State University. In 1973 he left Brazil during the military dictatorship to study film in the U.S.A. at San Francisco State University. In 1981 he returned to Brazil to make his own films and to work as sound recordist for Brazilian and German productions throughout South America. He has worked as a sound mixer for a number of producers and directors including Percy Adlon, Francis Ford Coppola and Gregory Nava. LANDSCAPE OF MEMORY is his first feature film.
1978: Miserere nobis. 1980: Una familia mexicana 14 a¤os después. 1987: Salve a Umbanda. 1996: O SERTÃO DAS MEMORIAS.
© 1997 by International Forum of New Cinema. All rights reserved.