In this edition of the ArchitectureFilm Exhibition in Brasilia, Cinema Urbana brought the proposal of the theme“Memories under Construction”, with the objective of instigating the debateabout the notion of heritage and the processes of memory construction in thecontemporary society, marked by globalization and its scenarios of dominationand deletion. Heritage, when understood as memory, is presented in theterritory lived between the intersected times - past, present, and future -that happen connected in the city.
From the beginning of this century,large flows of immigration, mass tourism, population growth in urban centers andnew forms of sociabilities mediated by technological apparatuses mobilize newforms of consumption and senses of belonging. A new economy, with a morecreative bias, comes to conceive of the metropolis as transcendence, as asource of magical power, emanating from no specific element (diversity ofmobility, novelties and architectural greatnesses, original urban plans, etc.),but from the city in its entirety.
The films bring out real and symbolicnarratives that reveal and harbor memories, affections, disputes, longings,possibilities. They also present relationships between what was constructed andimagined that help us to reflect on the way we currently live and narrate ourcities. Thus, the festival's curatorship, aware of the complex networks of intricatecode and symbol systems, precisely due to its polysemous nature, wished tobring in the curatorial orientation a broad repertoire of marks that expose theasymmetries of the world urban scenario, approached in this theme by choosingwhat must be remembered and celebrated, and what can be destroyed and deleted.
In this selection of more than 50films we bring our desire to broaden the visions about the relationship ofcinema with urban issues, as one of the fundamental platforms for thinkingabout the binomial - architecture and urbanism - within the articulations ofaudiovisual and technological narratives. These are narratives that, as awhole, present the plurality of the world's spaces, places we see little andknow little about them.
The strengthening of the materialbrought by the films reveals that, by launching the theme and provoking thediscussion about heritage and memory, we are, in fact, being surprised by theurgency of the theme of survival. The films portray the survival / existence ofpeoples, places, memories, wishes, life forms, and dreams. The flowering ofthis theme can be associated with the book Survival of the Fireflies in which Didi-Huberman resumes Pasolini's disquiet bydeclaring the disappearance of fireflies, which, among various possiblemeanings, refers metaphorically to the small flashes of resistance, fragile,but full of desire. And that thereare moments of exception when human beings become fireflies — luminescent,dancing, erratic, untouchable, and resistant beings, as such — under ourastonished gaze.
Among the 57 selected films, thereare examples of various ways of survival. Kurdish director, who currently livesin Turkey, Hebun Polat's film "There Was a Country” talks about survival as a peopleby portraying the brutality of the war in the barbaric attack on the Kurds. Thebarbarism of war is also brought forth in The Sea Swells (IslamicRepublic of Iran, Amir Gholami, 2018), in which we follow a man in hisunderwater shelter and his survival tactics.
We found in The Hive (Poland,Jeremi Skrodzki, 2018) an example of survival as a place by showing acommunity living off the land and its growing in a green area that resists incentral Warsaw. The reconstructions and new uses given to abandoned ordestroyed buildings appear in Reko City (Germany, Jörn Staeger, 2017)and Dreaming Squares (Ireland, Paddy Cahill, Shane O'Toole, 2018).
Survival as a tactic to overcome theprecariousness of living conditions in large cities, as in theseries Born and Raised in the Ghetto (Johan Mottelson, 2018) in threecapitals on the African continent; or in India, in Abridged (India,Gaurav Puri, 2019), which shows us how the population occupies and lives thespaces under the bridges and viaducts. Survival as a way of imaginingfictions in everyday gestures that erupt in the ways of work manifest in Cabeçade Rua (Brazil, Angélica Lourenço), or on the way home, as in the daydreamof the protagonist of Da Curva Para Cá (Brazil, João Oliveira, 2018),through the capixabas alleys andlanes.
The ever-increasing need of taking aside in the contemporary world, for choosing between one side or the other, forchoices limited to only two options, in a deletion of subtlety and hesitation,is brought up in Aporia (Italy, Salvatore Insana, 2019), an experimentalfilm that investigates the moment we remain stranded, the hesitation that pullsus from the flow to evaluate the "if" and the "how", toguide us in the continuation of the action.
However, we see that even themanifestos, the taken and strengthened positions, fight for survival, as in thefilms that bring icons of modern architecture, trying to resist in the midst ofthe global city and real estate speculation. This is the case with FacadeColor: Blue (Ukraine, Oleksiy Radynski, 2019) and Niemeyer 4 Ever(Lebanon, Nicolas Khoury, 2018).
Survival as a permanence of symbols is recalledin Still Turning (Canada, Jesse Pickett, 2017) by the reconstruction ofthe waterwheel that started the city of Lanzhou, and in Lupa (2018), theCapitoline wolf reproduced in cities across the globe and that was portrayed byRomanian director Aurelia Mihai when she found out that there were 22 copies ofthe statue only in Romania. The film asks the question: what burden of meaningdoes this statue, associated with the foundation of Rome, carry to these days?And what makes us wonder by whom and why these memories are being constructed?
In this sense, it is the survivalthat expands as desire, when we see Isidora in the movie New York Woman(Chile, Martin Pizarro Veglia, 2018), when her plans and wishes to travel toNew York fuses her body and image with the city's. And, taking upDidi-Huberman's thinking, how can one, therefore, declare the death offireflies, that is, of memories, desires, survivals? Wouldn't it be as vainas decreeing the death of our obsessions, our memory in general?
Didi-Huberman replies that toknow the fireflies, one must watch them in their current survival: one must seethem dancing alive in the middle of the night, even though that night is sweptaway by some ferocious projectors. Though for a little while. Pasolini'sperspective on survival in images and taken up by Didi-Huberman can beconsidered as a political gesture that illuminates the darkness in a flash andallows us to think of other ways of being in it.
Thus, through the Cinema UrbanaExhibition, we affirm our belief in the power of cinema to present cities andtheir landscapes in narratives that compose the imaginary and form the set oftheir memories and their history. Even though bordering the ground, thoughemitting very dim light, though moving slowly, don't the fireflies draw,strictly speaking, such a constellation?
It is in this set of over 60 films,among those selected for the competitive exhibition, the guest and honored ones,that we seek to form a constellation, embrace the most diverse landscapes torethink our principles, allowing us to take root and preserve our memories, andat the same time, to shine in a set of small glimmers forming a flash in order to,somehow, illuminate our future.