It was 122 years of waiting.
In 1898, the Italian-American Afonso Segreto brought a camcorder to Brazil and filmed ‘Uma vista da Baía de Guanabara’.
Supposedly, they were the first images recorded in Brazilian territory.
The history of our Cinema was born there.
The history of Brazilian cinema is marked by being the history of Brazilian white men with camera in hand, and white male critics, pen in hand, reviewing the work of white men.
(In a country where there are more blacks than whites.)
A vertigo that takes place on account of an old, colonized doing, and an old, colonized look.
Black people who could manipulate a camera have built, until today, a less colonized history. bulb Joel Zito. Odilon Lopez.
But still, we didn’t have movies where most of the people in front of and behind the camera were black people.
Until today. 122 years later.
‘Medida Provisoria’, Lázaro Ramos’ debut film as director, is a premiere of an unprecedented representation of our country.
Starting with the deconstruction of the representation of the black body on canvas. There is a group of black artists, in Brazil and in the world, who no longer want to represent bleeding black bodies. Even though the market wanted black characters for the role of police, thug and miserable. ‘Provisional Measure’, from now on, is a gift for young filmmakers who, at this moment, are trying to defend their projects to sponsors, streaming companies and producers, without being able to convince them that it is possible to make good stories with black class characters. and, above all, it is possible to make extremely violent films without having to shed a drop of blood.
The second novelty that Lázaro Ramos’ film brings is a reconstruction of the imagery of the Southeast. The film, directed by a Bahian, written by Bahians, based on a play written by another Bahian, seems to be set in a southeastern city. Rio and/or São Paulo.
A nightmare city, discolored, sad, inhabited by pale Brazilians, scared and full of anxiolytics. An exquisite work by the art direction and photography, which makes ‘Medida Provisoria’, filmed in Rio de Janeiro, a visual relative of ‘A Clockwork Orange’, in which Kubrick transformed the suburbs of London in 1971 into a futuristic city, and ‘Alphaville’, in which Godard transforms the outskirts of 1965 Paris into a 21st century noir location.
In this southeastern city, the only people who seem to know how to be happy without taking Frontal are black people. Soon, the government will propose that all of them, and their descendants, be expelled back to Africa. Some black people, aware of how much our country treats us, even think it’s a good option. Others don’t. They understand that this country is ours too. That we build them together, like building a bridge that sways in the wind.
Joint construction. There are many white actors on the scene, all brilliant. But what makes the trio of protagonists is the kind of thing capable of elevating our belief in what may come.
On fire is sweet Alfred-Enoch, black-British-Brazilian actor (consider the hyphens metaphorical bridges). His journey between sweetness and flame is the dramatic center of the film. The pride of being Brazilian that your character has is, in times of crude-conservative patriotism, a gift.
Seu Jorge is even sharper here than in Marighella. If other directors never realized that his smile is his greatest weapon, Lázaro didn’t let it go. Seu Jorge, and his character, is hope that shines in the midst of despair. And sort of voice of reason in the movie.
Play the role of a black journalist. Of those that laugh when you read one of the many articles with racist perfume that you see around.
And Taís Araújo. In his most complete performance, a step in a career that seems to know no limits. She plays the role of one of those surgeons who are seen in the newspapers when they are discredited by white people. Taís gives so much life to her character, gives so much to Méier (neighborhood where she was raised), which lends the film a documentary quality as well.
In a certain scene, when Taís’ character dances in her apartment, and we think we’re going to see something like Steve McQueen’s brilliant ‘Lovers Rock’ (a 2020 BBC production that dazzled the world with the recreation of scenes of young black men) from the suburbs of London dancing at the parties that would, in the 60s, give rise to Reggae), Lázaro subverts expectations, closes the plan, and works with depth of field, in order to asphyxiate us (language that will be intelligently adopted by the throughout the film).
The spectator, at the same time close to that wonderful creature that dances and smiles slowly, but distant, separated by something terrible and invisible, something disgracefully Brazilian, or unfortunately southeastern, something that only the work built by a team that is very interested in Brazil can provide . The materialization of what it’s like to live in a racist country materialized in the film’s own language.
‘Medida Provisoria’ also debuts with the fame of its numerous special appearances. Before the pandemic, one of the biggest avenues in Rio de Janeiro was closed so that the many hundreds of guests could film a certain climactic scene. The result is grandiose and is reminiscent of Public Enemy’s lines in ‘Fear of a black planet’.
Brazil is afraid of the black country that it is. But the film by Lázaro and crew is also made for fearless white people. Whatever is terrifying in the film is metabolized by figures like Emicida and, above all, the film’s great revelation: teacher Diva Guimarães who, over 80 years old, has a screen presence that welcomes us and gives us strength needed to move forward.
And what’s ahead? Everything we want with force, says the film.
The measure is provisional.
With 122 years of delay, the work of Lázaro and team begins a new history of our cinema. Therefore, it is already a national landmark.
This milestone being a spectacular film qualifies it as a must-see.
The fact that a landmark in cinema, a spectacular film, qualified as a must-see, premiered in an election year, and in divisive elections, I would say intra-diasporic, equals going to the cinema in the next few days to going to the polls in October.