Opening Ceremony – 45th Brasilia Film Festival 1

45th Festival de Brasília do Cinema Brasileiro – Opening night

Yesterday was the opening ceremony of the Festival. It is very special for me to be here. I am taking part in the Festival with the documentary “Parece que Existo” by Mario Salimon. The film has, at it’s main focus, my formative years as a young artist in the young capital of Brazil. I remember in those same years I always attended the Festival, often watching every single movie.  These were in themselves important events for me. It is emotionally and spiritually significant that I am here now and a part of it. I am grateful for it. Today I have an opportunity to trace back that moment of my past, but I also have a chance to be acquainted with the latest production of Brazilian cinema.

Now I am a collector of stories, always making note of a tale that could become somehow the plot for a new opera. Seeking for the right story to be told, wondering about the questions that may be raised by the contemporary artist’s mind, wondering about the relevance of a subject, the universality of certain characters. In many ways this Festival is an opportunity to dive deeper into the Brazilian soul and in all that makes each of these artists part of this very moment in human consciousness.

The opening ceremony was a very touching moment for me. I have too many emotional ties to be able to give an unbiased account.

Opening Ceremony – 45th Brasilia Film Festival

There was a  screening of the hors concurs film “A Última Estação” [The Last Station (?)] by Marcio Curi. A co-production between Brazil and Lebanon. It is an emotional journey through Brazil and Lebanon. It traces back the steps of the Lebanese immigration to Brazil in the story of Tarik, an old immigrant who seeks to come to terms with the promises of his youth. It would be enough as a portrait of these two countries and all the beautiful locations where it takes place. Besides that there is the more specific issue of the meeting of cultures and there is also the universal issue of confronting the end of life and having to come to terms with frustration and deception, the inevitable shortcomings of youthful promises.

We also had a presentation of themes from the soundtrack of the film by composer Patrick de Jongh backed by the Teatro Nacional Claudio Santoro Symphonic Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Cláudio Cohen. It was a very pleasant performance and the audience seems to have connected to it. Yet, as a composer of orchestral music myself, I couldn’t help to think that it fell short somehow. The orchestra played for less than ten minutes, scarcely justifying the effort to bring all the musicians on stage and then it was over. Patrick himself who is a virtuoso violin player was left to sing and play some weak strummed pizzicato, while his bow remained unused. Some fast runs and high note climaxes would have brought the audience down, but the presentation ended before the music could reach a conceivable climax. There are many variables in an event like this, I suppose there were time constraints that could have been managed into a more satisfying result. When I see so many good musicians on stage with a nice orchestral blend, I want to hear them for at least 20min, or else there seems to be a dis-balance in the time necessary to set up and the performance time itself. My. Jongh’s orchestrations were especially effective in the percussion and low strings.

Overall there was a great atmosphere, a celebration among friends. There were some anecdotal moments, I’ll leave them for a later post. I will try to see all 14 features (8 documentaries and 6 fiction movies) plus the 34 shorts and animations… let’s see how well I’ll manage that.