Eduardo Nunes | Brazil | 2011 | 128’ | In Portuguese | English subtitles | black-and-white
Sudoeste – the Southwest... Officially the southwest of Brazil doesn’t exist. With this enigmatic title debuting director Eduardo Nunes sets the tone for a magically-realistic tale in which each and everyone lives in its own time at its own pace. It is no wonder this film has been compared with the work of the Hungarian master cineast Béla Tarr.
A horse cart is driving over a dark, marshy path, heading for an inn in a coastal village. An old woman steps down. She is the midwife who will deliver young Clarice’s baby. Clarice dies in childbirth and the old woman decides to take the child home with her. She witnesses how the child, also called Clarice, grows up from baby to adult woman in one day. For her and the other villagers this day is however no different than any other day. They try to understand what is happening. The strange life of Clarice has robbed them of their grip on reality. Only the mystery of time and life that passes with every hour remains.
Just as Tarr, Nunes shot his film in impressive black-and-white. He uses a striking, rarely chosen film format: Super Wide Screen (3.66 : 1), which offers a literally grand view of life’s mysteries.