by Carlota Moseguí
- BERLIN 2019: Helvécio Marins Jr’s debut as a solo director is a rural drama about how cowboys coexist with the wilds of nature in the Brazilian pampas
After co-directing his feature debut, Swirl [+see also:
film profile], which premiered at the Venice Film Festival, with Clarissa Campolina, Brazilian filmmaker Helvécio Marins Jr has presented his first movie as a solo director in the Forum section of the 69th Berlin Film Festival. Homing [+see also:
film profile] takes us on a journey through rural Brazil – specifically, the state of Minas Gerais – on which we are led by a 21st-century cowboy called Marcelo (Marcelo di Souza). This semi-documentary fiction film, starring non-professional actors who play themselves in their homes, on their ranches, at rodeos and in a variety of other places in their native municipality of Urucuia, gradually reveals itself to be an ode to man’s coexistence with nature in this area – in particular, examining how the farmers live alongside their prized livestock.
The Belo Horizonte-born director makes his debut with an inspiring tale about one particular farmer who is struggling to overcome a traumatic event. One night, Marcelo is attacked by unknown assailants who end up stealing his herd of cattle and horses. The sheer violence of this armed robbery, as well as the loss of his 100 or so animals, plunges the cowboy into a deep depression, which he will nevertheless manage to pull himself out of with a little help from his friends. The farming community in Urucuia encourages him to start up another business through which he can express his passion for animals in a different way. And so, in these tragic circumstances, Marcelo will consign his days as a farmer to memory, in order to become a professional master of ceremonies for rodeo competitions.
The plot of Homing encapsulates the transition from Marcelo’s grief to the realisation of his dream. In other words, it follows him until he reinvents himself and begins this second life in which he has not had to give up his unconditional love for animals. Helvécio Marins Jr depicts the quiet – practically bucolic – life of the Brazilian pampas during the day, and effectively contrasts this with a series of violent chapters that only take place at night. On one hand, there’s the episode of the raid on Marcelo’s livestock and, on the other, there’s the striking, documentary-like images of the wild beasts that do their utmost to avoid being tamed by the cowboys during the rodeos.
(Translated from Spanish)
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