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Curtains, Beams and Flowers

O Canto das Amapolas (Paula Gaitán, 2023, Brasil)

by Luiza Furtado

         Through a polychromatic oscillation of the sequences, which have among themselves an almost balletic rhythm, the emotions of an extensive relationship between daughter-mother/Gaitán-Dina are interwoven throughout O Canto das Amapolas. Emotions that change according to the segment, but maintain a residue that is always taking refuge in the fissures of each allegorical unit. Such a method makes it feasible to awaken a familiarity with the protagonists, as if we were all sitting next to them. 

          We may ask ourselves, "to whom are these dialogues addressed?" To everyone, possibly. They cross private imaginaries and end up in the collective informality. Such process could well be seen, paraphrasing Peter Sloterdijk, as a door opening to a thousand deserts of experiences, empties and glaciers. Representation here is legitimized as a search for the substantiality of the relationship, from its simplest characteristic to its multiple compounds.

          Their conversation can be heard from the back, illustrated by shots that map the objects in the house, such as the cane static in its corner - is it used? Or has it already fulfilled its function and today has no more than a decorative role? - and the breeze that lightly blows through the living room window. A prose that puts itself as: "I am that which occurs when you are not looking directly, that which is realized in its fullness when the camera does not try to impose itself hostilely on my face. To the conviction of this: at no time are their faces revealed, it is the spoken words that widen the space of nostalgia and inquiry. 

          The more exercised the communication, the greater the imagetic digression. Something like a procedural dialogue with disagreement and solution (and the images appearing as parentheses of the narrations). By this fluid principle, a gradual change in the somber rhythm that takes place during the opening of the film is perceived. Mother and daughter begin to read past letters, which recount the horrors of war and the fatalities implemented (//the future is over and the children cry//), and find each other in grief. Then, from the rear (and gradually), a new space is made for us, filled by the red sea of amapolas. They erupt with the rapture of a reminiscence: strolling pleasantly through the fields, we glimpse a woman who seems to have been the memory of one of the two. The figure rests in the lap of opulent nature, achieving a harmony that is so much sought after, and occasionally found.

        Ornamentation is sometimes the vital semantics, which falls back on the intrinsic character of intimate relationships: one seeks to adorn, constantly, or the relationship falls into flagellation.  Without the flourish of uniqueness there cannot be enough composites to form a relationship or even a film. On this side, O Canto das Amapolas is an experience of meetings and mismatches without rules of beginning-middle-end. As researcher Laurent Desbois questions when writing about cinema in Brazil: "Could this juxtaposed inversion of the time scale be one of the keys to the South American mystery in general, and to the Brazilian enigma in particular?"

          Like the Leibnizian spiritual monad (Gaitán quotes the philosopher for a brief circumstance), it is worth saying that the choices employed in the feature produce (1) a self-consciousness about affection; and (2) a principle of mirroring that holds in its abstraction the capacity for communion with infinite predicates. 


April, 2023

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