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Clarissa Campolina, Helvecio Marins Jr | 2011 | O.V. Portuguese | S.T. French | Brazil, Germany, Spain | 90min | color

Synopsis :

Bastu, a charming 80-year-old, lives in São Romão, a village on the banks of the São Francisco River in the Brazilian backlands. Her husband, a blacksmith named Feliciano, has just died, and she is determined not to shed a tear. Though still sharp as a tack, Bastu is haunted every night by strange hammering coming from her husband’s workshop. She confides in her best friend, Maria, an authority on Brazilian music, and her granddaughter, Branca, who’s stayed behind in the village to help out. But neither woman has the answers Bastu is looking for. Boasting a superb soundtrack, this debut film by Clarissa Campolina and Helvécio Marins Jr. bewitches as it shifts between ethnographic objectivity and magic realism, sorrow and strength, and the past and future. Beautifully filmed by cinematographer Ivo Lopes Araújo, Swirl screened at Rotterdam, Venice and Edinburgh, as well as at Nantes, where it picked up two awards. The film blurs the lines between fiction and documentary with a remarkable impressionist simplicity and benefits from the touching spontaneity of non-professional actors who play themselves in their actual homes.