VIDEO ESSAY: PICTURING THE COLLECTIVE

VIDEO ESSAY: PICTURING THE COLLECTIVE

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by Libertad Gills

This video essay is meant to be a companion piece to the text titled Un gesto de confianza: reflexiones de un encuentro sobre a Vizinhanca do tigre published in Desistfilm on September 1st, 2020, written after the online conversation organized by Cineclub La Quimera (based in Córdoba, Argentina) between Brazilian filmmaker Affonso Uchôa and the Argentine critic and film programmer Roger Koza.

What was originally intended to be a comparative video essay, which would compare and contrast the forms of community presented in Uchôa’s film with the ones proposed by fellow Brazilian filmmaker Kleber Mendonça Filho, has now become a much simpler video, dedicated entirely to the sense of collectivity present in Uchôa’s films and in particular, in a specific scene in his most recent film, Sete anos em Maio (2019).

In the aforementioned text, I wrote: “…In Uchôa’s films, collectivity implies a compromise of the body, including a compromise by the person who is filming, and therefore cannot be taken for granted nor can it exist at all times. Collectivity for Uchôa appears to be in constant construction and it is built through small, almost invisible gestures.”

As I edited this video, I explored and found other characteristics to this image of collectivity, including its similarity to forms of play, as a kind of pact or contract between the participating individuals. In this sense, while in Mendonça Filho’s films the collective is often an ideal, and differences in class, gender and age are subdued, Uchôa renders visible the effort that goes into being part of a collective. The collective here becomes a fragile force, ready to be unmade and then reimagined in its subsequent reincarnation.

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