Suely in the Sky: A bridge between Brazil and Germany
by Vitor Pinto
Venice sidebar section Horizon on Sunday screened Suely in the Sky [+see also:
film profile], the latest film by Karim Ainouz, currently one of the most prolific directors, producers and screenwriters within the Latin American film panorama.
Set in a poor countryside region of Brazil – portrayed in direct contrast to the country's clichés, which include samba and football, but very much in keeping with the latest films produced by Walter Salles depicting a Brazil struggling for survival – Suely in the Sky is the story of single, teenage mother Hemilda who decides to raffle a "night in paradise" (with her) in order to collect enough money to start a new life away from her little home town.
This unexpected decision – which is obviously seen as prostitution by the other characters – seems to be the ultimate expression of the personal despair of a young woman who cannot find her place in society and who no longer believes in men either, as if social and personal drama could not be experienced separately.
The entire film appears to have been constructed in open antithesis to its romantic opening scene, in which still innocent Hemilda recounts how she got pregnant and dreams about her shiny future life. In this tale of lost innocence, male characters are almost demonized, yet paradoxically portrayed in the script as a source of dissolution and as the character's only possibility for escape.
As with Ainouz’s two previously projects (Madame Sata, which he directed, and Movies, Aspirin and Vultures, which he wrote and associate produced), Suely in the Sky is once again a co-production with Europe. The production was made by Rio de Janeiro-based company Videofilmes Produções Artísticas, in association with Germany's Shotgun Pictures, Portugal's Fado Filmes and France's Celluloid Dreams , which is also handling international sales.
"The relationship between Germany and Brazil is rather peculiar", emphasised Ainouz. "There is a great curiosity and exchange of ideas. South American film is opening itself to world cinema, and this is very healthy. We have developed a solid and concrete collaboration with Germany. I received a prize there, I lived there for a while and [Germany] is also where I wrote the script for Suely in the Sky".
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