Can you explain your choice of title? Is it a Brazilian saying?
It’s not a Brazilian saying. There’s a sentence in a book called Os Cus de Judas (“The Land at the End of the World”), by António Lobo Antunes, a Portuguese writer, which says “triste como a chuva num recreio de colégio” (“sad like rain during recess time” in English) that I really liked. I remembered this sentence when I started thinking about the film. I changed its intensity by adding “mais triste que” (“sadder than”), for I felt that this way it could better explain a feeling many Brazilians feel in this current time when hate is being stirred through a hybrid war that has been taking over since 2013. Today, Brazil is a success case in the financial markets that walk hand in hand with the Far-Right.
What links all the events covered in the film (the stadium, the football game, the coup etc.) ?
The film makes narrative provocations with the intention of collecting comprehension clues for the current time in Brazil. To that intent, the film promotes clashes by mixing different spaces and historical periods: images of the renovation of the Maracanã Stadium in 2011; the narration of the biggest catastrophe in the history of Brazilian soccer during the 2014 World Cup, which took place in Brazil; the voting for the impeachment of the President Dilma Rousseff in 2016; the speech for the Labor Reform in 2017 by Michel Temer, who became the President of Brazil after the coup-impeachment. We used soccer as a common thread for the narrative, because it is one of the foundations that allow us to understand Brazil after the 20th century. In 2014, an idiom came about after the humiliating defeat suffered by the Brazilian national team. Whenever something bad happens to Brazil, we say “Another goal for Germany”. Some say that the defeat suffered by Brazil by 7 against 1 was a milestone in the purely emotional rivalry of the party-political discussions, when a conversation is replaced by name-calling and by the incorrect belief that anything that goes against the ideological bias is a lie or is wrong, as if it were a game that’s played between soccer rivals in a hostile context.
How did you choose which speeches to play?
Choosing the speeches was the first hands-on stage of the film editing process. The voting session of president Dilma’s impeachment in the Deputy’s Chamber lasted over 9 hours. I decided not to listen to it fully, and did an initial screening using the Internet. Many of the speeches are comic, absurdly pathetic and extremely moralist. I was tempted to use them, but I chose the ones that represented the situation better, and also some of Rio de Janeiro’s deputies’ speeches, in order to link them to the images of the Maracanã Stadium, which is also in Rio de Janeiro. I also used the speech of the only female deputy – who was at the same time the only one who defended Dilma in the film – in order to represent another 7 X 1 defeat against a male deputy majority. As for the second part of the film, I listened to the entire transmission of the Brazil/Germany match. This transmission was made by the main television network of Brazil, which decades ago supported and grew because of a military coup which initiated a long and bloody dictatorial period in Brazil and which, once again, had a major role in another coup, with the fall of Dilma Rousseff and later imprisonment of Lula, stopping him from running in the presidential elections. Such elections were won by one of Rio de Janeiro’s deputies, a former military man, which you can hear in the first segment of the film as he commended a former colonel who tortured Dilma Rousseff during the Military Dictatorship regime. The narrator in this transmission is the most popular narrator in Brazil and could be considered the maximum representative of Brazilian patriotism, of the “nation in soccer boots”, of the country where everything works out even when it loses a game. So, I created a conversation between this narration from the game and the draconian labor reform of the then President Michel Temer, the former vice-president of Dilma Rousseff, who helped coordinate the coup in the backstages of Government.
Can you tell us more about your choice of images?
I could say that the images are of a personal archive, because they were filmed between 2011 and 2014 for an unfinished project. The opening image, by the cinematographer John C.M., was what started everything for me; the idea of the whole narrative structure of the film, from choosing the narrations to the images. Because I had a lot of rough and diverse material, a kaleidoscope that pointed to different sides, I decided to concentrate the film’s imagery around the renovation of the Maracanã Stadium, which, besides being the hardest ones to make, were also the most representative and aesthetically powerful for the idea of the film. To note that the renovation happened still during a Worker’s Party (PT) Government, with Dilma as President, accelerating the developmental aspect of the PT government. For good and evil. From then on, first I edited the sound part of the narrative (votes of the Federal Deputies, narration of the match and the President’s speech). Then, it was similar to editing a video clip, where these edited narrations work as a song that already exists, and the images, a puzzle in which the pieces could fit freely into each other. However, every choice of fit of these images would create changes that would at times be subtle, and at times radical, including causing snippets of the sound part to be changed. I experimented a lot. The movie is ready because at some point I gave up on it, I gave up on changing it once more. Otherwise, I could have still been playing with this image puzzle.
Would you say that the short film format has given you any particular freedom?
Yes. In two different spheres. Most of my audiovisual work is related to the Education and Cinema area. The short film format is a perfect fit for the classroom, and, in practical terms, the most producible format. It was when I was a film student in Universidade Federal Fluminense. A few years ago, I had the urge to make my own movies, with projects that I could afford, that I could produce almost by myself and during the time I had off work. The short film was almost a natural consequence, for it brought to me a great freedom of creation, but still inside the dome of the low budget, small team and little time logistic limitation. The exchange of ideas was intense, but in low quantity, in the few films I’ve made. Being a director, almost sole producer, writer, editor, sound editor of my own films gave me agility, as well as aesthetic limitations. It’s a choice, however, of a strategy to make movies that are in context with myself. Being a filmmaker of gaps, if you wish. Being in constant movement is what matters. And making a short film is like writing a short story or a chronicle. It’s film and literature, no matter the size. It’s magical and powerful either way, and there’s the bonus of making more works and, with that, most importantly, building bridges where one can meet the other. Here’s a living proof: me writing, while you read, and we increase our possibilities of exchange. After all, why make films? Why are we alive after all?
Mais Triste que Chuva num Recreio de Colégio was shown in International Competition.