Deslembro is a remembering of dark times in Brazil

in 20th Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival

 

By Tatiana Trindade

Dictatorships leave marks. In hard times when the real and the fictional combine to became a devious reality where the dictatorship was benefic for the country, “Unremember” (Deslembro), first fiction movie of Flavia Castro and winner of FIPRESCI award in Rio’s Festival, leaves its message. The film brings the human side of who, in different ways, was affected by a Military Regime.

 

In 1964, Brazil was in a turbulent period, with the Cold War and the threat of the Communist Rise. In this year, militaries taked down President João Goulart, in order to take power by force. A regime that would last 21 years, ending in 1985, devastated the country. It was a time that, besides the media’s repression, that did not allow journalists to write anything that couldn’t go through military agreement, exiles, murders, torture and disappearances happened with frequency. With this context, “Unremember” shows how Joana’s family (Jeanne Boudier) deal not only with this particular dictatorship, but also the struggles of the Argentina’s Dictatorship as well, since her stepfather experienced with the same level of intensity as her biological mother experienced Brazilian one.

 

With all the teenager uncertainties and the abrupt moving to Brazil after the approval of Amnesty’s Law, in 1979, flashes of childhood memories begin to emerge, and she don’t know already what is real or not in the middle of several confusing remembrances. Her Grandmother, played by Eliane Giardini, who also won the best supporting actress award of the Festival, tries not only build an affective bond between her and her Granddaughter, but also tries to rebuild this forgotten memories with facts, that she kept saved, from her own investigation and research. This work helped dozens of families with lost relatives or, as people used to say in those times, “Political Disappeared”. Not only the story is very touching, but the soundtrack needs a spotlight: Caetano Veloso, at that time, was one of the country’s exiled, for protesting with his songs.

 

It is very interesting to see how Joana adapts to the city where her father disappeared and also the country that forced her family to run away, at the same time that she discovers her own sexuality and begin to draw an evolution to become a woman. Contrasted with the problems of that period, with the impeccable movie photography and the talent of Jeanne Boudier, that not only acts, but also sings and speak at least three languages, all those elements together raise the movie to another level. It has problems at some point, like a not so good French accent of the Mom (Sara Antunes), or some medium performances of the secondary cast, but this few details not jeopardize the message that the script wants to pass, also made by Castro, that shows itself so current in Brazil’s reality.

Therefore, Unremember is a movie that, in confusing times, its a reaffirmation that the dictatorship leave a mark, and change families constitutions, that often can never recompose itself in the same way they used to be. On the other hand, shows the narrowing of the affective bonds provided by lost and grief, and the hope that this period never return to haunt new families or children, by the lost of their parents.

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