PROJETO MENINOS DE LUZ / PAULO COELHO
2000 / 10’
- by Elisabetta Sgarbi
- editing by Luciano Marenzoni
Shot in Rio de Janeiro, October 2000, on the occasion of the launch, contemporaneously in Italy and Brazil, of Paulo Coelho's novel The devil and Miss Prym, this short is based on a key-phrase, "ando mejo desligado" , the title of the song by Marisa Monte, as well as the film soundtrack.
Fragments and impressions of the Brazilian journey, moments following one another and the characters (not only the author of The Alchemist, but also his wife, a paintress, his agent…) are tied together by the splitting of image, both visual and symbolic, that turns inevitably into a still frame, a desired suspension.
In fact, well already in the opening scene, a background voice introduces to the scenery of Brazilian favelas (compared to a "petasso", a petal come out of its flower that settles far away, on the edges of civilisation), thus causing a fracture between the traditional standards of the ducumentary and the images- very allusive-, of the director while shooting herself - split, precisely -, in front of the Niteròi museum by Oscar Niemeyer.
At the Paulo Coelho Institute, the faces of the children who found hospitality in that charitable house, are crossed by a green bar, just as if they were in jail (another still frame, a film within a film which goes far beyond the realism of the faces and the hands stretched towards the camera). This Institute gives also hospitality to their mothers, being prostitutes, who are 'infected', like the flower of the Botanical Garden is infected by the presence, within the corolla, of a threatening Kafkian insect. Paulo Coelho's profile, briefly introduced by his agent Mônica Antunes, materialises (or, better, projects a shadow) in his villa in Rio, surrounded by votive icons. A shadow on the wall (as if it was a Japanese house), Coelho discusses about literature as an escape from reality, a process whose final outcome is the nothingness, ("Nada, nada, nada"), since the only possible escape seems to be, according to the writer, sex. So here comes another splitting of image, between high universal purposes and low instincts (the pornographic videos Coelho is referring to while the camera shoots the international editions of his novels), the unreality of reality which can only be a shadow, a reflex (clouds and sun mirrored in the water, the wave, hunted at its peak before breaking off on to the shore, the Corcovado trying to reach out for the cloud).
The last still frame is dedicated to a revolting crowd that, while a helicopter circles over them, shouts "Stop!", waving a cloth which shades the screen, like a white curtain.
Projeto meninos de luz is mostly based on the superimposition of fragments "desligadi", on multilingual entity, on the technical device of the film within the film, so as to go beyond the mere documentary dimension and turn into docu/meant.
docu/me(a)nt centered upon the worldwide famous novelist Paulo Coelho