Eu Me Lembro 2005
1h 48min | Drama | 29 September 2006 (Brazil
The memories of Guiga, from early childhood to young adulthood: his family, relatives, friends, fears, dreams and reality in a still provincial city of Salvador, Bahia, from the 50s to the 70s.
“Eu Me Lembro” means “I Remember” in Portuguese, a title which recalls, of course, Fellini’s “Amarcord”. There are also paraphrases of other Fellini films (“Otto e Mezzo”, “I Vitelloni”, “…E La Nave Va”) and Kusturica (“When Father Was Away on Business”, “Underground”) in Edgar Navarro’s award-winning feature début at 56 (!!), which uses autobiographical memoirs/dreams of his childhood, adolescence and youth. Navarro shows his alter-ego Guiga going through funny/startled/clumsy/painful discoveries on sex, religion (Catholic guilt is all important here), death, love, politics, drugs and art, and above all his relationship with his flamboyant family. Like Fellini and Kusturica, Navarro makes great use of music, wacko characters and sense of humor to create a magical, dreamlike piece of nostalgia, overcoming his tiny budget and making one of the year’s most endearing, personal and lyrical films.
We follow Guiga from about 5 to 20-something years of age, living in (then still) provincial Salvador (capital of the state of Bahia) from the 1950s up to the 1970s. Born into a Catholic middle-class family with a strict father, an oppressed but loving mother, a bunch of siblings and a golden-hearted housemaid, Guiga’s offbeat behavior in his early childhood makes the best part of the film: a candid and very funny account of early sexuality (including masturbation scenes that may startle people who pretend Freud never existed and believe children are asexual) and the delights and pains of growing up.
Navarro uses Brazilian political history as Guiga’s background — the democratic, hopeful, confident atmosphere of late 1950s; the trauma of the military coup in the 1960s culminating in the violent, repressive 1970s, the “lead years”, when imprisonment, torture and murder were a permanent and very real threat for students, intellectuals, artists and political activists. The film loses momentum in the (overlong) third part, as now grown-up Guiga fails to cope with the heavy political repression, the death of his beloved mother and some kind of sexual shortcoming that isn’t quite clear (probably sterility), becoming increasingly erratic and emotionally unstable. Guiga chooses to “drop out” into flower-power, communal life and drugs — and the film loses some of its magic as Guiga loses his Amarcordian family. But overall, “Eu Me Lembro” remains a enchanting journey filled with poetry, originality and humor, an unbeatable recipe.
“Eu Me Lembro” has winning assets: a) a spot-on art direction, filled with Brazilian middle-class memorabilia of the 1950s and 1960s, which probably only Brazilians over 40 will fully enjoy; b) a soundtrack that sets the film’s intense emotional tone and includes Brazilian hits from the 1940s to the 1970s (Carmen Miranda, Emilinha Borba, Gal Costa, Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, the great and forgotten Gilberto Alves etc), classical music (there’s a beautiful scene where Guiga plays Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody n.2 in a radio show) and lovely traditional Bahia folk songs; c) colorful, offbeat dialog (the opening scene between Guiga and his mother, and the “BBC” routine by Maria Maluca are highlights), delivered in that sensuous, mellifluous Bahia accent; d) fine acting, especially from Arly Arnaud (warm and appealing as the Mother), Fernando Neves (making us care for the pathetic Father) and the galvanizing Dantlen Mello as the youngest Guiga, with big curious eyes belying his deadpan expression.
The fact that it took 30 years (!!) for director Edgar Navarro to get his first feature financed, produced and exhibited (he has been making award- winning shorts and videos since the 1970s), just adds to the importance of “Eu Me Lembro”: because he’s had to wait decades to take his story to the big screen, he has painted a self-portrait that’s also a portrait of a whole generation (middle-class Brazilians who are now pushing 60), a generation whose early hopes were stifled by violent military regimes, censorship and the death of utopia. It’s also a story of survival: non-heroic, non- extraordinary, and with a bit of sanity and confidence lost along the way, but survival anyway. The delicate, symbolic, life-celebrating finale (à la “8 1/2”) restates the importance of keeping our dreams and memories alive, even (especially?) in somber times, because they may be the best we’ve got left to tell the world when darkness is finally over.
Director: Edgar Navarro
Writer: Edgar Navarro
Stars: Lucas Valadares, Fernando Neves, Arly Arnaud
Format : Matroska
Format version : Version 4 / Version 2
File size : 4.64 GiB
Duration : 1 h 51 min
Overall bit rate mode : Variable
Overall bit rate : 5 978 kb/s