Let this be a lighthearted and happy introduction in celebration of the ten editions of our Janela, presented by Funcultura, through the Government of Pernambuco, and Petrobras. Janela also belongs to the public, somewhere between 15 and 18 thousand spectators who, for these few years, have been coming to our festival looking for ten days of movies, looking for someone, and, in the process, maybe finding a kind of shelter in the city. To watch something that might make an impact, to make a discovery, to enjoy and to agree, or to disagree with films and ideas.
The challenges that come with making an event that brings together movies, people, and ideas are still big, and more so in downtown Recife. In these ten years, we started out in Teatro do Parque, now closed with no reopening date in sight, a real loss for Cinema, for Music, Theater and Dance. How amazing it would be to count on that venue in the (hopefully) near future, pairing it up with São Luiz as the homes to our screenings.
In 2008, Janela’s first year, it was São Luiz that was closed, but, since 2010, it has become impossible to think of Janela without the large 1952 hall, without the sense of collective heritage that São Luiz represents. In that first year, there was a predictable reaction from part of the public, who expressed disbelief in our first showings at São Luiz, exclaiming things like “No one is going to watch a movie downtown at 10 P.M.!”
Well, already in that first year there were lines around the block not only at 10 P.M., but also at 11. To this day, for those who make and participate in Janela, one of the festival’s great images is seeing São Luiz pour onto the sidewalk and the street – sometimes at 1:30 in the morning – a thousand people electrified by a new Brazilian film, by a foreign movie premiere, or by a classic picture.
Occupation of the city has been a much-discussed issue in Recife in the last few years, and Janela has always believed in São Luiz as a fantastic space. This in a society fully dominated by market logics in which products like automobiles, shopping malls and pure and simple fear need to be sold and protected, and in which the city center is treated with neglect and a lack of vision.
Nowadays, in an organic fashion that owes much to the undeniable strength of cultural production in Pernambuco, São Luiz is occupied, smartly and democratically, not only by Janela, but by a steady flow of festivals that have come in our wake, or that finally understood the value of having São Luiz as an ally. Most of these festivals take place in the second semester. They bring life and ideas to downtown Recife.
In these ten years, we have come to understand that everyone working in the field of audiovisual production needs to stay vigilant when it comes to the maintenance of São Luiz as an arena for culture. Fundarpe maintains the theater with lots of respect and some difficulty; its physical structure is large and challenging, and demands a budget it does not have. Many of these challenges are met by the fantastic team led by Geraldo Pinho and Gustavo Santos, a labor of love and nursing for the benefit our great hall.
It would be impossible to assemble this festival – its 120 films, with our protagonist heroines (Janela Classics Volume 8), with L.A. Rebellion’s new American Black Cinema, with the strengthening of a new Brazilian Genre Cinema made by men and women, with a big sense of diversity channeled in the best way we could think of in this tenth edition – without, effectively, mention 2017 Brazil.
Our country has been shaken by a stealth takeover of power, the repercussions of which have been worrying in our day-to-day life, to the point where there’s been a backlash to the idea of living in a democratic, collectively thought out society. Culture remains a shelter, but there are fears that freedom of expression is being cut back a little bit here, a little bit there. The word “Censorship” appears to have risen again as something real, decades after it was retired.
Against all that, we can offer our 35mm screening of John Waters’ Pink Flamingos. Divine, it seems to me, is symbolic of so much of what we live through today: Divine doesn’t fit into ordinary criteria, be they aesthetic, masculine or feminine; her behavior is wild. May cinema always be diverse, with strong women and with men who make sense.
For Divine, John Waters, Emilie Lesclaux, Lucrecia Martel, Laurent Cantet, Vania Catani, Fernando Weller, Dea Ferraz, Melinda Dillon, Helena Ignez, Paulo José, Julie Dash, Chantal Akerman, Gabriela Amaral Almeida, Maeve Jinkings, Sergio Oliveira, Elem Klimov, Charles Burnett, Débora Butruce, Julie Andrews, Clara Moreira, Blake Edwards, Sigourney Weaver, Marco Dutra, Geraldo Pinho, Lis Kogan, Adirley Queirós, Clebia Sousa, Renata Pinheiro, Rodrigo Teixeira, Marcelo Gomes, Karen Black, Agnès Varda, Ousmane Sembene, Mbissine Thérèse Diop, Harry Dean Stanton, Fellipe Barbosa, Juliana Rojas, Leonor Seraille, Bárbara Wagner, Larry Clark, Dora Amorim, Lesley Ann Warren, Isabella Raposo, Gustavo Vinagre, Barbara O. Jones, João Vieira Jr, Caroline Abras, Carol Ferreira, Clara Linhart, Juliana Antunes, Nele Wohlatz, Alexandre Barros, Helen Mirren.