José Padilha In the Berlinale again By Myrna Silveira Brandão
After receiving the Golden Bear last year with The Elite Squad (Tropa de Elite), José Padilha returns to Berlin with his new film, Garapa, a documentary about hunger in northeastern Brazil. Garapa is Padilha’s second documentary — his first was Bus 174 (Ônibus 174), the awarded film about a violent incident that occurred in Rio de Janeiro in the year of 2000.
Padilha considers the Berlinale the ideal festival for premiering his film:
“It took quite some time to make Garapa, and (it) is a film that I like a lot. When I received the Berlinale invitation it made me very happy, since it’s a festival with a tradition of raising debates. And Garapa deals with hunger, which is a global problem. (The) FAO informs that more than 900 million human beings live without enough food. And with this economic crisis and the raising prices of grains, it will get worse. It’s a huge political question.”
Padilha emphasizes that his film does not discuss acute undernourishment, but the chronic hunger of persons who are badly fed for their entire life.
“This is also an extreme form of violence”, he says. “I think that the problem of misery and lack of food in some places of Brazil’s hinterland should be more debated by the society. It is a real problem that needs to be faced on its totality.”
The title Garapa comes from the name of a mixture of water and sugarcane juice that some poor people give to their children when they lack another kind of food. Padilha says that he does not imagine what will be the reaction of the international audiences to his documentary.
“It’s a difficult film, sad, slow, shot in black and white and without a musical soundtrack. It is the opposite of The Elite Squad. But if it brings any contribution to the discussion of the chronic hunger of human beings in my country, I am satisfied. It is very nice; I have good memories from the Berlinale. This return is a privilege, mostly because it is the second consecutive year I come and competing on (in) a different category.I am finishing a script adapted from the novel “Marching Powder”, a true story of an English drug dealer that (who) was arrested in Bolivia”, he says, after informing that he is finishing — with Felipe Lacerda — the edition of Fierce People, another documentary, this time for BBC.”