By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The short film “Vazio do Lado de Fora” (Empty on the Outside), by director Eduardo Brandão Pinto (BP), will be the only Brazilian representative in the 70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, one of the most important in the world cinema, that takes place in the well-known French city between May 17th and 28th.
The 22-minute film is a fiction set amidst the rubble of the Vila Autódromo demolition, a forty-year-old favela community located in Jacarepaguá, in the Zona Oeste (West Zone) of Rio de Janeiro, which was forcibly removed for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Eduardo BP Explains that the short is not an attempt to represent the struggle for housing and the evicted residents, but to approach the theme from another perspective.
“The film deals with emotions. It has a script, has dialogues, had an intense preparation of cast, some people of Vila Autodromo acted, but the majority is actor from outside. The film has a documentary dimension, but with an experimental footprint, it does not tell their story exactly, it’s more aesthetic,” says BP.
The “Vazio do Lado de Fora” short movie will be one of the sixteen films shown in the Cinéfondation Selection category, which shows works produced by film students. The Brazilian short was chosen among 2,600 entries from around the world.
“I did not even have much hope to go, as it is a very experimental film, did not know if the curatorship of Cannes would have that interest, this opening. I did not know what profile the foundation was looking for. I was very surprised, even because [the short] was entered without any contact with the festival,” says the director.
About the filming at Vila Autódromo, he said the team also researched a possible location in Metrô Mangueira (Mangueira Station), another community removed in Rio, next to the Maracanã stadium, but ended up opting for Vila Autódromo, where they spent three months visiting the place and talking to the locals.
“Recording there was very crazy, because [the area] was in the process of redevelopment, we were in an open place with 30, 50 tractors passing all the time from side to side … We had to relate so much to the residents, and with the workforce. We were in doubt to do it, because they were in a very fast process, every week was different. Every week we had to reassess what we could do. The recording itself lasted six days,” BP explained.
Authorities cited the evictions and demolition of Vila Autódromo as necessary for Olympic-related development, which was perhaps the most visible of such forced relocations in Rio. The favela community was founded by fishermen in 1967 in Barra da Tijua, but sat next to the Olympic Park where the majority of the 2016 Games took place.