Feminism, faith and football came to Cine Chat yesterday. Joana Mariana’s Marias follows the religious phenomenon of the cult of the Virgin Mary across Latin America, comprising both testimonies from ordinary people as well as footage of local processions and festivals.

Patrícia Rebello, the journalist who led the conversation, asked about Mariana’s own relationship with religion. The director was emphatic: “I’m not religious. I don’t believe religion is the same as faith; faith is something else. I do have faith, even more so now, after having made the film. This film is about the feminine. It started life as a film about faith, but then I realised that it was about the feminine.”

Mariana revealed that since the project commenced in 2009, she visited various countries and interviewed more than 150 followers of “Maria”. It took one and a half years to complete the film. Rebello commended the delicacy with which the subject is dealt: a healthy mix of respect and curiosity. She also commented on the real emotion that was conveyed by the soundtrack.

Many people felt inspired to join in the discussion, leading the director to conclude that the project “is not over. The documentary can be continued since there is much to be said about religion. Religion can take you to many parts of the world.”

Another film that was the subject of a heated Cine Chat yesterday was Hopefuls (Aspirantes), a film about a young footballer whose girlfriend falls pregnant, by Ives Rosenfield. The debate opened with high-praise from the journalist Luiz Carlos Merten: “This film touched me both aesthetically as well as personally”.

Rosenfeld explained that despite having begun his career as a composer and soundtrack specialist, he had always wanted to direct. The film tells the story of a frustrated young boy who is determined to become an international football sensation, but is trapped in a provincial town in the province of Rio de Janeiro. Rosenfield explained the desire to use football as a background for the complex relationships in the movie. The director admitted that his co-scriptwriter, Pedro Freire, isn’t even a big fan of football, although he and his photographer, Pedro Faerstein, are sport-mad.

On that topic, Freire stated that in Brazil today football is one of the only ways a young, uneducated boy from the sticks can become socially mobile. 

Productor, Tatiana Leite, informed those assembled that the feature-length, awarded a prize at the Locarno film festival, is going to do the rounds before arriving in cinemas in March 2016.

Adapted by Gill Harris from texts by Juliana Shimada and Maria Caú.

Photo: Carolina la Cerda




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