In Portuguese cinema, the first work of fiction by a fearless Portuguese filmmaker without references to… Portuguese cinema. Indeed, Baan points to other landscapes. It is also the discovery of the actress, Carolina Miragaia, her truthful face, and a kind of reflection of the filmmaker herself. Essentially, a character-filmmaker in a game of reflections. Personal reflections, but also reflections with cinematic influences. Baan nods to the memory of Asian cinematography. The altar to Wong Kar-wai is the “mood” of the endeavor, but there is an entire aesthetic resulting from the tradition of Asian filmmaking.
The “Thai” fascination then becomes the driving force of a story about L, a young architect in Lisbon dealing with the aftermath of an ended relationship. From the moment she accidentally meets K, a Canadian woman of Thai descent, something changes. Lisbon becomes a synthesis of time and space, where a corner on Av. Almirante Reis can lead directly to an alley in Bangkok. When K suddenly disappears, a void emerges in L’s life – after all, our home is a state of mind. At 31, Teles is a clear treasure of our cinema, someone with an eye for camerawork that is not only about photographic skills (Leonor was the director of photography for works such as Verão Danado by Pedro Cabeleira and Viver Mal/Mal Viver by João Canijo). Her approach to aesthetcs goes far beyond the sensuality of colors. Hence the award in the main jury of Caminhos for Best DP.
In Baa, everything is intimate and secretive, even when indecisive, in a narrative that closely feels the pains of an adult life at a time when a young woman in Lisbon with a degree has to live in a small room, due to the lack of economic resources. In this sense, it is a film with a generational signature: Characters involved in digital silence, a lot of mobile phone screen, a lot of discourse from this new urbanity. Contributing to the impeccable visual enchantment is the soundtrack that understands the dramatic times: From Chaka Khan to Prince, the songs possess tremendous power.
Rui Pedro Tendinha
© FIPRESCI 2023
Edited by Ela Bittencourt