THE KNOTS CAN BE UNTIED NOW
Janela, like any organism, has its norms and conventions. However, like any other exercise in curatorship, the rules of a film festival are made – or, rather, borrowed – from the images, year after year. It’s like a knot after another knot, in a net of more or less inextricable knots: the festival ties down a film, that ties down the festival itself, that ties down other films, the festival we’ve already done and the one we’ll do next year. And so the films tie knots with history, with the present, with the city, and with that which makes its experiences.
What inspires a curatorial work is just that: giving out clues for an undercover agent, perhaps a rebel, to untie everything, to unravel the scene set up between the films. It is only when the films reach the festival audience, like a set of prescriptions, that the secret behind the web starts to be revealed, like a game that only makes sense because it’s being played, and that wishes to play as well. One must follow the clues. And it’s because the knots the films tie with the festival are already, beforehand, entwined in the sordid state of things that this weaving game is already untying itself, impatiently, begging to be found out. The knots with a mysterious Brazil that insinuates itself, with the vices of a time of oppressors that seems to become ever more the status quo. They must be pulled apart by force. Unmade in a hurry, eloquently, noisily.
Not for nothing, we have christened the clues to Janela 9 with the concept-theme of disobedience. That word points to a path (between so many, innumerable ones) in which to trail through our noble Janela Classics features. If last year our films gazed at the horizon confused by future roads, this year they people our movie theaters with the certainty of insurgency. Hair, popular allegory celebrating transgression. They Live, hyperbole-report of a world of the mighty that came to rule the planet, made for us to cheer alongside the subversives. Throw ourselves down the stairs, stubbornly, in The Tin Drum. Stage a coup for the master, in The Servant. It’s not as simple as it may seem, and the homage to disobedience makes our own rules seem suspicious – as spectators, as festivals. Self-criticism and doubt are as necessary as security: in face of the bank robbers turned anti-heroes in Dog Day Afternoon, of the policeman made cyborg in Robocop, of the historical outsider in Memories of Underdevelopment, which will be screened in a recently restored copy rereleased in the last edition of Cannes. In face of the liar Pinocchio, who knows what he wants. In face of this 35mm rediscovered in the Berlin Film Festival and found at the Deutsche Kinemathek: 1 Berlin-Harlem is, from the moment of inception, a problem made film, a profound experience of iconoclastic and anarchic damnation. It’s a testimony to unrest – of images, of life, and of good taste – come from the past to mess up our present with a gleam in its eyes. We have seldom shown a film so wrong. We needed, of course, a concept-theme with a feminine pronoum. In a year like 2016, in face of macho reactions, an uncontainable impulse arises to disobey in loud and clear tones the violence against those other bodies and subjects. While the seamstress of Ms. 45 brings down men, Liliana Cavani rises up with this lustful strategy of disconcert that is The Night Porter. A thirst for being a body of desire overflows and floods the program schedule, with a more or less visible weaving of gestures made by women. Astounding, Isabelle Huppert fleshes out inadequate bodies in double shades: in Cannes sensation Elle, she is Paul Verhoeven’s latest anti-heroine. Also restless, but of a more bittersweet soul, in Mia Hansen-Love’s beautiful Things To Come, awarded best director in Berlin. Women make questions. The girl from Wild, in its Brazilian premiere, answers herself through negation of a society of normal, under a refreshing pop glow. We’ll watch scenes of violence, it’s true. But we’ll see women reaffirm themselves in the world – through sweetness and the belief in transit and encounters, as in A Cidade Onde Envelheço, or through direct and instrumental bravery as in Chamber of Mirrors. So many short films stake their claims to territories, what a great surprise. Dia de Pagamento, Balada de um Batráquio, Estado Itinerante, Heterònimo. You are seeing things.
It is necessary to discover Martírio. It is really necessary to see things, redirect our vision, and, coming from Lisbon, the collective Rabbit Hole corrupts the festival screens with non-normative bodies in an exciting queer pedagogy of the gaze, through the exchange between film forms, visual arts and pop culture. It is necessary to redirect the gaze and the body from Recife to shore of Olinda, and see what is happening right now in the premises of that city’s mythical downtown street-front film theater, closed for 50 years. We are proud to be in intimate dialogue with the Occupy Cine Olinda movement, that reaches out to Janela 9 as a partner and presents a film program in the occupation. We strongly recommend visiting and frequenting it, and we endorse the desire that Cine Olinda live on. Film Club Toca o Terror, that hosts a haunting screening on Halloween. Cachaça Film Club, that has been bringing us Brazilian features to be rediscovered in a collective environment. Janela 9 has a festival running parallel to it, giving off sparks to the rest of the scheduled program: in a new and precious partnership with British Council, 400 years of Shakespeare come to light in some of the most fantastic adaptations of the bard’s plays ever to be converted to the movies. Cinema São Luiz is a potential portal in time, and will host a veritable remake of the Bossa Jovem sessions with Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet, to be shown in the same matinée hours it was first seen, before some of us were born. Polanski returns to Janela with his Macbeth. Short films from the turn of the 20th century, restored in the UK, will be screened with live musical accompaniment from RUMOR, a sound art project from Pernambuco. It will be lovely. Sofilm Summercamp, a festival we’re friends with from Nantes, France, lends us the idea and some material for a cine-karaoke, with restored scenes to sing along to. It will be a curious holiday eve.
Frankly proud of this constellation of knots, we invite everyone to, once again, peer over not only the stage, but the sills of Janela. Pick apart braids and lines. We invite all to see João Botelho, who comes from Portugal to Recife to present his film-homage to Manoel de Oliveira. To see Jim Jarmusch, Maren Ade and Eryk Rocha, but perhaps also to investigate Lucas Ferraço Nassif, Leon Sampaio and Miguel Antunes Ramos. The shorts by Lola Quivoron, Ben Russell, Gabriel Abrantes, Camilo Restrepo, Filipe Marcena, Rodrigo de Oliveira. The lovely Solon, by Clarissa Campolina. That you may come, of course, to inhabit the stage, which is a road. We wanted to make the beginning of the way quite clear, free to roam around without a doubt, and we decided to bring Ken Loach’s red piece of work for opening night, alongside the beautiful chronicle of displacement and conviction that is Fellipe Fernandes award-winning Delusion is The Redemption to Those in Distress. It’s a happy fact that Abraccine, our partner, came looking for us to show They Don’t Wear Black Tie. Leon Hirszman’s film seems to us precisely seminal for inspiring the first of all breaths.
Thank you to all the adventurers that helped dismantle Janela. And thank you, finally, to those that helped assemble it. Petrobrás, invaluable partner. The Government of Pernambuco’s Funcultura, who sponsors for the ninth time. Janela is a machine made with the hands of many people, some not even aware of it. So let it be unmade and remade freely, with no timidity, by those that follow us, so that it shall be a permanent space of exchange, great screenings and long-lasting stories. What a pleasure it is for Janela to host Lucrecia Martel, we can start learning right away.
Luís Fernando Moura – Programming Coordinator