Flavia Castro is the writer, director, editor and producer of Unremember, shown in the Orizzonti strand of the Venice Biennale. With so many recent Latin American films confronting the resurgence of the past, while it is a deeply personal project it doesn’t seem anything new. A safe choice for a side strand of a very conservatively programmed film festival.
The year is 1979 and 14 year old Jôjo is forced to leave her home in Paris to return to Rio Janeiro, where she was. The floppy haired teenager forms her identity through Western cultural references such as Jim Morrison, Edgar Allan Poe and the Beatles. So impressionable at that age, these clichés signify the power of Western cultural homogeneity – the sad fate of the film.
The unexplained death of her father is the spectre that haunts Unremember. While the young family, the mother of which has found a new partner, seems happy and hopeful, it will be his absence that determines Jôjo’s coming of age. It asks how we explain these things to our children, concluding that sometimes we just can’t.
The well-worn subject-matter would have seemed fresh perhaps five years ago before the more cutting-edge festivals took them up. It is a shame that LatAm films, especially those directed by women, are pigeon-holed in this way by Western audiences. Especially given the fact that they need to travel to Europe and the States to receive a release.
CAST: Jeanne Boudier, Hugo Abranches, Arthur Vieira Raynaud, Sara Antunes, Eliane Giardini
DIRECTOR: Flavia Castro
WRITER: Flavia Castro
SYNOPSIS: Teenager Joana feeds her soul with literature and rock. In 1979, when amnesty is granted in Brazil, she’s forced to move with her family from Paris back to the country she barely remembers.