Bacurau Scene, a film by Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles. Photo: Disclosure

I just left Bacurau (I haven't left the movie yet, or it hasn't left me).

Between the desire to be art and the certainty of being a spectacle, he seemed to me at once well-intentioned and disingenuous. Well-intentioned because it is intended as a “work”, a great allegory of Brazil, in favor of its “people”, and cynical because it seems to know how difficult (perhaps impossible) it is to synthesize in a single piece the complexity of the country of the last decades. The narrative of Bacurau, despite being forged as a western (“caboclo”, but still a western), it is full of punctual or diffuse quotes from other films that underline its intentionally allegorical dimension. And perhaps it is this characteristic that is so present in him that, in my view, makes him irremediably dated, despite putting himself in becoming.

I try to compare it to other current Brazilian films, but I can't. When I think of any kind of possible comparison, only older productions come to my mind and which also took on the allegorical propensity that characterizes Bacurau: earth in trance (1967) Iracema – an amazon sex (1976) bye bye Brazil (1980); but these films, it seems, keep a topicality that Bacurau failed to keep. Bacurau, strangely, as an idea and a realization, seems to have lodged itself there, somewhere between the 1960s and 1970s – an “ideological period” in which it seems to have been forged – and in that hole it remained as a monument to an idea of ​​a “Brazilian people” or of a Brazil that does not exist today, or perhaps never actually existed. Those other films, in one way or another – and despite having served as a mirror for Bacurau – seem to me closer to the present and that's because they were produced at the right time, and not later, as a kind of nostalgic sob.

A Bacurau I tend to prefer films with less totalizing pretensions, which do not use allegory as a language, but which can be interpreted as. These are productions that, in my view, are able to interpret the country and the various segments of its population in dimensions that are little or not Manichean. mango yellow (2003) Sueli's sky (2006) Elvis & Madonna (2011) The sound around (2013) What time does she come back? (2015) Through the window (2017) every cliché of love (2018) and many other films have been translating (each one with its unique betrayal, let's not forget) the countless Brazilian nations and the countless tribes that coexist in this region of the planet. To use a metaphor dear to Barthes, these films are like countless threads weaving a continuous possibility of thinking about Brazil, a plot that will never end in its becoming.

But it's not just these movies that catch my eye. I'm also more interested in Bacurau and his supposedly portentous allegory of present-day Brazil, some documentaries that investigate segments of the country's multifaceted daily life, such as Waiting for B. (2017) or Yoonahle – the word of the Fulni-ô (2013) (this one on display until November 15 at the 36th Panorama of MAM-SP). Recent documentaries such as be so old closed (2018) Block (2019) and Brazil – Haiti crossing (2019)

From these less pretentious fictions and from these documentaries that seek to interpret the various Brazilian problems, it is possible for the viewer to gradually weave their own understanding of the country and, from there, establish priorities for possible reflection and action. No catharsis, no relief.

And it is within this framework full of inquiries from the current Brazilian audiovisual that I also place the work of several artists who, coming from the visual arts or other segments, find in what is conventionally called “video art” a protein space for the discussion about the country. and its inhabitants.

It would be difficult to list them all here, but the videos by Rosangela Rennó, Chico Zelesnikar, Rafael Cordeiro, Dias & Riedweg, Lais Myrrha, Dora Longo Bahia and others, bring several and unthinking threads for the viewer to weave their own idea of ​​country and reality. contemporary.

Watch the Bacurau, even made me remember the power present in the exhibition held at the beginning of the year here in São Paulo, at Sesc 24 de Maio, Northeast. Faced with the unavoidable Manicheism of Bacurau, how can we not review the importance of the videos by Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca, and that of Jonathas DE Andrade? Of course, these artists had already demonstrated the importance of their work before that show, but getting in touch with their new works in that context and being able to compare them with the strength of the videos by Cristiano Lenhardt and Ton Bezerra (among others), reaffirms the feeling that it is in what is called “video art” where part of the most powerful art is produced in Brazil today (in fact, the production of Guerreiro do Divino Amor is there to prove this thesis).

Rather than Bacurau, closed work, I tend to prefer these loose firecrackers towards our conscience.

***

I keep thinking that in a while Bacurau and all its proselytizing will end in the same place where the other works cited are or will be: in sites and/or platforms streaming. Such a location raises at least one question about the future of cinema, cinema (fictional or documentary) and “video art”: in this immense archive, I believe that they will all reassume the condition of merchandise, only now at the disposal of the planetary consumer, capable of to access them from wherever you are, in that big supermarket that seems to have always been the internet, and no longer in movie theaters or in the magnetized spaces of galleries and museums.

Many have already said that with these new devices, everything will change or is already changing. What we once called cinema, video, etc. it is no longer what it was yesterday and will be very different from what it is today. In this new situation, it will be up to potential spectators to understand that some of these products, despite being there for their entertainment, can be more than that, they can also be instruments for their awareness and/or engagement; others, on the contrary, deprived of their initial elan, will go to hell. What will happen with Bacurau?

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