By Mónica Delgado

This is the realm of the camera, a sort of Go Pro that serves as a pendulum, as a nib, as an extension of hands and eyes, a camera that follows in impossible angles bodies and walks, that travels with the protagonists in cars and skate boards through the streets and avenues of Guinea-Bisseau. In the short film Parsi (2018), Eduardo “Teddy” Willams and poet Mariano Blatt prolongs every possibility of the film-poem, or video-poetry, to establish a strange correspondence between the rhythms of pop verses and the visual cadence of a camera in freedom, given to the characters so they can bring it to life.

Presented in the last Berlinale and in the short film competition at Cinéma du Réel, Parsi is a work in collaboration where two types of experiences come together, the escape from the hackneyed ethnographic style where the figure of the filmmaker is blurred, and the out-of-field cartography that Mariano Blatt’s verses on port city life and pop culture translate. Having repetition as a trademark of his poetic, Blatt’s poem “No es” (It isn’t), floods all the short with a voice-over, starting from the word “Parece” (It seems like), and accommodating an endless number of possibilities, in accumulative tone, as a mantra and giver of rhythm: “Parece un día triste de invierno/Parece que estás enojado/Parece un campamento del club/Parece una canción de Virus/Parece un disco de Virus/Parece que estás cansado/Parece que no me querés más…”, (It seems like a sad winter day/It seems like you’re angry/It looks like a club camp/It sounds like a song of Virus/It seems like an album of Virus/It seems like you’re tired/It seems that you don’t love me anymore…) while the images slowly reveal that the camera is part of a group of dwellers in a peripheral neighborhood of certain African streets.

The encounter of two realities, the visual and the sonic, which are translated by Willams and Blatt, achieve an atmosphere which coordinates between the camera mechanics as a social tool that captures “reality” from its own protagonists (the characters take the cameras with them) and the frankness and looseness of the verses, in a dynamic seemingly impossible to associate. Los abuelos de la nada (the band), YouTube, Pikachu, Alex Andwandter, Facebook, Cristiano Ronaldo, Chacarita neighborhood and other beings and icons of our time, appear fortuitously between gestures, smiles, dances, or simple walks of a group of trans friends, events that will later possibly be registered in social media. The idea of a Facebook Live that unites Guinea Brisseau with Buenos Aires takes on a surreal dimension.

In Parsi, Teddy Williams takes on some early motives of his work, where he inquires on the current character of globalization and the cosmopolite, through “liquid” situations, a product of some elements of “modernity”. As it is in I could see a Puma, Que je tombe tout le temps? I forgot, or even The Human Surge, movement becomes an indispensable element to associate a human urgency, of transit, fluidity and freedom. And also, as in those films, we follow a group of young people through different spaces, where the camera, as a bridge, also has a role of accompanying or disappearing in this search. 

Parsi does not clash with the universe Williams has created, on the contrary, it affirms him as one of the most remarkable and creative filmmakers of Latin American cinema. The feats Williams achieves with a small camera in freedom acquire a level of cinema as matter and poetry which is simply sublime.

International short film competition

Directors: Eduardo Williams, Mariano Blatt
Cast: Ivandro Cá, Cris Gomes, Dijibril Baldé, Leandro Pereira, Edimilson Dju, Alfa Kalido Baldé, Richar Dias, Diomedes S Djú, Janaina Casimiro lé, Vadinho da Costa, Brigila Chico Ca, Nadi Ouadé
Argentina, Switzerland
23 mins.