Radicalism Pulsing Against Lethargy

in 56th San Francisco International Film Festival

by Mario Abbade

They’ll Come Back (Eles Voltam), directed by Marcelo Lordello, is a kind of exposed house of dolls, from the observation of reality without the filter of domestic comfort. Cris (Maria Luiza Tavares), a 12-year-old girl, and her older teen brother squabble in their parents’ car and are left at the edge of a road, in the middle of nowhere. They expect their parents to return, but they never do. Nothing is told to the children or the audience to explain the delay. — So the brother goes off looking for help, leaving Cris behind. Slowly, sluggishly, there comes a meeting: a boy who has crossed her way, takes her to his house, feeding her, accepting her. She will have time to breathe and she will have the chance to go back to her own house and find out why her parents had not returned. Chris is not the same anymore. And the delicate interpretation of Maria Luiza is fundamental for the understanding of the atomization (and reorganization) of her feelings. By them, one can also perceive that she acquired the social contradictions of Brazil, a perception that the public is invited to share. By winning the Candango Trophy for the best movie in Brasilia, in 2012, Marcelo became one of the standards of a new lineage of winners from Pernambuco, a northeastern state of Brazil, a lineage of producers who aim for the expansion of the authorial domains of the cinema poll which, since the so called Brazilian Movie Recovery, is considered the largest flowerbed of the Brazilian movie narrative transgression: the town of Recife. The capital of the State of Pernambuco lives on an ascendant line of renovation at the screens. It refers to a harvest time of new directors recently arisen to the full-length features, such as Kleber Mendonca Filho, Gabriel Mascaro, Daniel Aragao, Leonardo Sette, Renata Pinheiro, Camilo Cavalcante, Juliano Dornelles, Marcelo Pedroso, Leonardo Lacca, and Daniel Bandeira willing for the exploration of more ambitious languages than the ones shown by the ones responsible for the audiovisual consecration of that Brazilian state, in the 2000’s. From there came Claudio Assis (Rat Fever), Lí­rio Ferreira (Árido Movie), Paulo Caldas (Happy Desert) and Marcelo Gomes (Cinema, Aspirins and Vultures). In the last 15 years, they surprised the audiences when — with formal sophistication and criticizing dialogues — they treated violence, sex and the conventions by the rancidity’ behavior of the well known Northeast “coronels” by facing Recife’s underworld, the so called Zona da Mata and its typical regional maracatu musical style, or even looking to the past. But Lordello’s generation wants to go further, picturing Pernambuco with its visual radicalism. They’ll Come Back is a standard of this desire.

Edited by Vincent Musetto