A small note about memory

Mariana Souza

In the dictionary, memory is described as the preservation of ideas and images by the imaginarium. The imaginarium rekindles the real. May it be to keep us alert, or to find ways to deal with what haunts us. During the Première Brasil’s session at the Festival do Rio that counted with the screening of the films À Tona and Deslembro, the spectator faces these two sides of memory.

In Daniella Cronenberger's À tona, a woman revisits her past. Alone – always alone – the character narrates episodes of physical and mental abuse suffered by her and other women in her family.

The film’s fragmented style establishes a direct dialogue with the process of remembering. The woman runs. Running is a literal and symbolic escape. The mind creates survival mechanisms. The body realizes the desire to escape that is born in the imaginarium. The last card in the fight to stay alive. And the voice of the protagonist echoes solitary in the movie theater.

In Flávia Castro's feature film Deslembro, nobody is alone. Large family, lots of voices. The story of a family exiled in Europe during the dictatorship is kept with a feeling called in the film as "affective memory". The classic story about the dictatorial period is told in the usual way. Nothing new appears in the narrative. The same tropicalism, the same dramas, the same outings. And the same affections.

The impact of memory on the reunion of these two films is dissonant. From the possibility of embracing memories to the possibility of dialogue, both very different in the two stories. Does anyone notice this?

The country has been through moments of crisis – more than five hundred years ago – and keeping alive the memory of what the Brazilian people is going through is of the most importance. The representative democracy is threatened, but so have been the micropolitics, always. "Fuck the class struggle", shouts the bourgeois girl in Deslembro. She can be heard, she has an interlocutor. The black woman in À tona forges ahead alone in search of someone who understands her struggle.

I left the session with a lonely feeling as I listened to moviegoers in Gávea humming their old tropicalism. In times of crisis it is always good to remember. What do people remember?