Friday, April 13, 2007

Quote of the Day

Ruy Gardnier (from Brazil), on Colossal Youth and the perceived benefits of understanding the language used in that film ...

"They don't speak in portuguese, but in crioulo, which is a black-colonies deviation from standard portuguese. Even straight portuguese spoken in Portugal generally needs translation for brazilian audiences, and Juventude em Marcha is completely non-understandable for a brazilian audience. Of course, you catch some words, some sentences, but not the whole sense of what's said. "Juventude em Marcha", it seems, is a political-liberation slogan, and naming the film with it is an act of dissonance with the characters' lives as of their diegetic present. In fact, the whole film builds itself between present and past, and the several-times-repeated letter is a way of juxtaposing present and past (of course, the letter does not correspond to the feelings of Lento, who was supposed to sign it). The song played in the gramophone is "Labanta Braço",which is also a liberation song. But as Costa films the scene, he mixes the political with the sentimental (political liberation = freedom = Ventura's love) in a way we can no longer define what's exactly at stake. The film's indefinition is a triumph, not a flaw, IMO."

9 comments:

phyrephox said...

This nice quote underlines a feeling I had throughout the film that I was really missing quite a bit from a standpoint of cultural and geographical ignorance of the very specific group of people Costa was focusing on; I wonder if I had seen VANDA'S ROOM I would have understood more. BAM is playing COLOSSAL YOUTH again in a week or two in NYC.

jpm said...

One thing that stroke me on second viewing was the comparison that can be made with the OSSOS ending. In that film it was very bleak. The newborn was a cause of conflict, and the development of the narrative was pretty confusing.

Here, Vanda's child transformed her life. When she goes doing her cleaning job in the neighbour's apartment at the end, one can trully feel the hope there is for a new generation, with her child in the room with Ventura.

Even if there's some somberness in changing from Fontainhas to the new neighborhood, which Ventura is the passing figure and adoptive father.

dave said...

Juventude em Marcha's formal qualities imply a political radicalism that, until now, has eluded my grasp when trying to describe it; Ruy's comments were very helpful. I noted the nonstandard Portuguese (and the class/race issues it entails) but wasn't aware of the liberation subtexts of the title nor the music. Costa's project is so much more radical than his formal approach; I very much look forward to seeing the film again at BAM.

Anonymous said...

I´ve never noticed that Costa´s film was a kind of "revolutionary" stuff. I think it is difficult to perceive so considering the zombie-like development of the whole thing, from perfomances to mise en scene. Anyway, those who enjoy such demonstrations of frigid filmaking will see ensless qualities.

jpm said...

Frigid filmmaking? There's so much care and attention to the characters who play it and their stories. Real affection.
Plus, being Costa an admirer of Tourneur I don't see nothing wrong with zombielike performances, which I think are more present in the previous films: OSSOS and VANDA'S ROOM.

Zach Campbell said...

Where is our Costa retrospective here in New York? I need to see these other films ...

Anonymous commenter, what have you got against zombie movies!?

Anonymous said...

I´ve nothing against zombie movies. The problem with Colossal Youth is that those zombies (not including Vanda) are not faced with humans. Now seriously, I do not appreciate Costa´s "stylization" (is it correct? English is not my first language) of poverty and alienation, it is too "flamboyant" for my taste. I relly prefer Aristakysian´s approach to outsiders, far more honest and profound in every single way.

Anonymous said...

Zach, be patient, the Costa retro is coming.

Zach Campbell said...

Anonymous commenter #1, I'll keep an eye out for Aristakisian's films ... if they ever show around here.

Anonymous commenter #2, any word on a nice (and subtitled) Marcel Hanoun retrospective? I'd settle for some Stephen Dwoskin ...