The unemployment is a world problem. Developed or under developed nations present frightening numbers on the lack of employment. The problem gets worse at the proletarian sector, which depends on a salary for its subsistence. These workers invest years of their lives on a qualified and specialized “labour” in order to satisfy the companies’ requirements. But all of this experience can be dismissed or left aside at any moment. Hundreds of millions of workers spread all over the planet live with this sad uncertainty.
This cold and coward relation between employees and employers is the main stream of “Dismissed” (“No Olho da Rua”, 2010), a movie that approaches the causes and the consequences of a universe unjust for the lack of opportunities. This could take a productive member of the society to commit an act of total insanity.
On the drama, Otoniel (Murilo Rosa) is a 38 year old metallurgical worker. He is a good husband for Camila (Gabriela Flores) and a loving father for Caio. After twenty years of a dedicated life to the company, which is located in São Paulo, he is replaced by a machine, due to foreign capital invested in the company. Desperate, he cuts his arm and signs the dismissal papers with his own blood.
Looking for a new job will result in more frustration and psychological unbalance. His wife is pregnant with a new baby and the rent of their house has not been paid yet. During the time Otoniel is searching for an employment, he gets to know Algodão (Leandro Firmino da Hora), an ex-University student who plans to produce a documentary film concerning a dismissed worker. The luck and unexpected happenings give birth to a slow process of Otoniel’s internal stability disintegration.
Otoniel’s story makes an analogy with the real life of Rogério Corrêa, director of “Dismissed”. It is his first movie, and it competes for the position of a fiction standard length debutant director at the Montreal World Film Festival. It took him twenty six years to finalize his first standard length movie and, in spite of having been an assistant to Bernardo Bertolucci’s “La Luna”, back in 1979, he failed to attract possible sponsors. “Le coup de grasse” came in 1990 with the extinction of EMBRAFILME, a Brazilian state owned production and distribution company, during Fernando Collor de Mello’s tenure as President of Brazil. After producing two short length movies and a few half length documentaries, Rogério had to abandon his promising career as a movie-producer in order to secure some income to support his family.
“Dismissed” cost five hundred thousand dollars. This small budged was compensated with talent and creativity. Rogério made use of visual metaphors to illustrate his ideas. Otoniel’s sequences of premonitory dreams illustrates his insecurity and predicts a dark future. The fear of failure nourishes his mind.
The motivations caused by his desperate attitude are real and built with credibility. Rogério demonstrates, frame by frame, the lack of faith that Otoniel devotes to the organizations which could provide some type of support for his work. This is noticed by his disbelief in the union (workers organization) and in religion. At the same time, these organizations do not inspire confidence, due to the fact that they are administrated by the ambiguous Emiliano (Pascoal da Conceição). The family is his only leitmotiv and emotional foundation.
More and more isolated, Otoniel is swallowed by an abysm of doubts. His acting begins to change and denigrate his image as a dedicated father to his family. Cunningly, Rogério shows up at the exact moment in which Otoniel begins to take a way of no return. The scene happens in the hospital, right after the birth of his daughter. Rogério captures, in close-up, Otoniel’s eyes showing no hope at all. The sequence must be also credited to an excellent interpretation of Murilo Rosa (Otoniel) in all several psychological nuances shown.
And, last but not least, Rogério Corrêa demonstrates that Otoniel, besides being a victim, is also the executioner of his destiny. When surprised by himself pointing a gun, there is a glimpse of auto-immolation. It is clear that the system was the catalyzing element of his life, but it is also true that the one who does not believe in anything is predestined to failure.
in 33rd Montreal World Film Festival
by Mario Abbade