Bruno Ribeiro on „Manhã de Domingo“ / interview

Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1994, he grew up in Brazil and Portugal. His short films screened at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, Doclisboa and the Janela Internacional de Cinema do Recife. With „Gargaú“, he won the Volvo Award for Best Short Film at Doclisboa.

What was your starting point for “Manhã de Domingo”?

I guess it started with a persistent image in my mind: a virtuous black pianist playing her piano in a small room while someone was watching her out of frame (although I couldn’t see him, I felt there was a person present there). I talked about this with a screenwriter and filmmaker friend, Tuanny Medeiros, and invited her to unravel this image with me.

At the time, my mother was fighting breast cancer, and the fear of losing her seeped into me. I was very melancholic and had a constant feeling that I had lost something along the way. I began to have many dreams that were as clear as reality, and most of them were back in the house where I grew up in Gargaú, a small town in the interior of Rio de Janeiro state, and where I lived with my mother and grandmother. In conversations with Tuanny, these issues were always brought up. In addition, Tuanny and I talked a lot about the expectations created around the black artist, who often feel that they have no right to take risks and, therefore, no right to a fulfilling artistic experimentation. 

Eventually we understood that this character in the image was reflecting something that was inside both of us; our fears and ambitions. The next piece of the puzzle came when we met Raquel Paixão, a black pianist from Rio de Janeiro that also came from a small town in the state’s interior. We first met at her house and she played a beautiful song and offered a delicious hibiscus tea. We understood instantly that she was the character that inhabited our minds. We invited her to give life to Gabriela, and Raquel ended up putting a lot of herself into the character as well.

Do you have a favorite moment in the film? Which one and why this one?

It’s hard to choose one favorite moment, but one that really moves me is the one in the van, when Gabriela goes back to her hometown. Just before we started shooting that day, I was talking and drinking a coffee with Ítalo Pereira, the driver of the set. At a certain point he told me a story about his daughter and that he discovered very early that she has a rare sensibility for music. He didn’t know yet what the film was about, so I told him. Few minutes later he was driving the van, but as a new character in the film.

What do you like about the short form?

I don’t think the short film is different from other film forms. I think the choice to make a short film or a feature film, for example, is based on the idea you have for that particular project. Some ideas need a shorter length and others call for longer lengths. Unfortunately the short film lacks the attention span that the feature film has, and this often creates a false perception of inferiority, or even that short films would be a ladder leading to feature films. The argument that short films are a space for experimentation is correct, as long as one considers that feature films and medium-length (or any other form) are as well.

Photo © Dorothea Tuch

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O que o título significa para vocês?
Bruno Ribeiro: Por mais que a gente não quisesse cravar uma interpretação sobre o filme, criamos algumas premissas para facilitar o diálogo entre nós. Uma delas era de que a trajetória da personagem se passaria dentro de um sonho. Isso não fica evidente no filme, mas não se trata apenas de um sonho – seria um terreno híbrido entre sonho e realidade. Dessa forma, imaginamos que esse tempo do filme, de um dia, aproximadamente, pertenceria à temporalidade de uma manhã. Seria um sonho, numa manhã de domingo. Essa é outra questão: para a gente, domingo era um dia interessante para localizar o filme. A gente poderia falar muito sobre sensações que esse dia evoca, por ser o dia de maior suspensão. Ele representa o fim desse período de lazer e descanso, e de alguns rituais específicos (pela visão da religiosidade cristã), enquanto representa uma passagem ao começo da semana, à rotina. Essa suspensão combinava com o tom onírico do filme.
an interview with Bruno Ribeiro, Laís Diel and Raquel Paixão by Bruno Carmelo for papo de cinema

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