Once There Was Brasilia Screen 6 articles

Once There Was Brasilia

2017

Once There Was Brasilia Poster
  • The film uses makeshift future-world production design... to cast this fiercely topical speculation in political assassination, class revolt, and intergalactic intercession as a bare bones sci-fi film that makes John Carpenter’s Dark Star seem like a mega-production. The result may be too dedicated to the audience experiencing repetitious duration of action, but the spirit of the production—a sense of camaraderie, shared anger, creative handicraft and a wry sense of humor—is supremely admirable.

  • Quierós works organically, abandoning his earlier more controlled, scripted method, and instead focusing on his mostly non-professional cast in their immediate environment. Perhaps this is why rather than the scant plot, we are immersed in the expressiveness of gestures and language, in the oddity and humour of an intergalactic warrior travelling to earth in a dilapidated wreck of a spaceship, grilling a traditional Brazilian barbecue and smoking incessantly on his journey.

  • Operating well beyond the modest means of production, Queirós has delivered a spectacular vision of the near-future, with an army of non-actors set forth under a night sky ablaze with violence and the sounds of war echoing on the horizon... Shot in rich nocturnal hues by compatriot and fellow filmmaker Joana Pimenta, Once There Was Brazilia offers a bracing and troubling image of Brazil’s current political climate.

  • This special fascination for contemplation of the time travel, or just the passing time in between the actions of the different characters of the film, is somewhat frustrating, but can be easily understood as an analogy for the frustration that comes out of this political struggle that goes nowhere . . . In painting a portrait of Brazilian politics and social turmoil in quite an creative way, Queirós has made one of the most interesting films of the year.

  • Reminiscent of the underground movies directed by the Brazilian maverick Andrea Tonacci during the Seventies, Once There Was Brasilia abjures realism altogether as it appropriates the tropes of Grade-Z science fiction in order to make sense of a contemporary Brazil coping with what many observers consider a de facto right-wing coup. The film assumes that an absurd narrative premise is uniquely designed to delineate the absurd political morass plaguing Brazil.

  • It is the festival’s exploratory programming that distinguishes it, allowing it to follow nonfiction’s many experimental encounters with contemporary art, expanded cinema, and even sci-fi. One particularly vivid example of this capacious definition of the form was to be found in Adirley Queirós’s third feature Era Uma Vez Brasília (Once There Was Brazilia). . . . Queiró’s film creates a vivid afro(Brazilian)futurist dystopia: Mad Max by way of Pedro Costa and Brother from Another Planet.