A Look at the Portuguese World



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Melodies of a mute life

Written by  yvette vieira ft tânia ornelas

André Moniz Vieira is a young filmmaker who enjoys exploring several more obscure universes through his uncritical and artistic gaze. This is his second film, which considers his greatest production because it was thought and idealized in detail.

What led to a short film on the subject of depression?
André Moniz Vieira: What led me to do this project was very spontaneous, it was an idea that came to me from an artistic area that I like to explore that is the obscure, mainly, the feelings of people. I like to say that I am an astronaut in the sense that I explore my inner universe and I like to compare it with the universe of other people. I know that in these worlds there are many feelings that were not awakened, as I am a curious human being wanted to know more about this subject, since I cannot evaluate my perspective, I see it from other people's point of view and try to exploit this way. I read about depression, about suicide and saw a few examples of artists, from musicians to famous people, about why it took them to take their own lives, which is one of the most macabre feelings a human being can have.

How did your creative process run?
AMV: I decided to challenge myself and even thought it was something that had not been done, but after all there are many Hollywood filmmakers who do that is filming, filming and filming. Of course, I have the basic concept and what I did, essentially, was to use the camera every day for three months. Sometimes I wandered the streets where I never went and decided to take risks, I saw things I had never noticed before, some nook, or place that turned out to be appropriate for the movie. I mounted the tripod and the camera, played in front of the lens, or simply recorded the events of things, in all I got to have 100 different footage. I also made some collages with newspaper and magazine clippings, as some artists do, removing what I was interested in, pasting it into a sheet of paper and then using it in an artistic way with everything I had filmed. Then I took what I filmed, edited, went on to set-up, and realized that I was creating a narrative for what I wanted. I concluded that I could explain the same theme in 6.7 different ways, that is, it is a very open and theoretical message that allows people to evaluate in their own way.

Was not there a script itself?
AMV: There was no script.

And was it purposeful? Because there are only parts where text appears. What was the reason for this choice?
AMV: I purposely chose to put in a little text, it was phrases that the main character was absorbing, words around him that he kept in his mind. Much is said to the character, but as he was already in a more fragile state, he keeps some of these phrases, such as, "would you cry if I was not here?", Or "I want to show you something", the character is who captures these messages and he is always the receiver and not the sender.

Did you also want to show that the person in depression does not externalize anything?
AMV: Yes, and especially the introspection. The person gradually closes, absorbs everything and reaches a point that closes in such a way that afterwards he only listens to what is convenient for him, which in general he should not absorb.

In your narrative in terms of images, there is little color at first, some backlit planes and then color appears. Because?
AMV: In visual terms, not only does sound tell the story, the picture has a great impact by itself and then it is responsible for the complete narrative. The film begins with some colors, because at the beginning of the short film the character is still able to live and socialize with some people. As the narrative develops the colors become more saturated and contrasted, they become stronger, so much so that in the end, the last scene is black and white. It was a gradual process and thought of this perspective, it is the idea of a mind that is falling.

The soundtrack draws much attention.
AVM: There are themes that reflect my personal taste, however, there are two songs that refer us to the theme addressed. One of them is quite recurrent in the short film, appears four times, it is the "Ave Maria" of Alessandro Moreschi that was the last castrato of the history, although, in the time in which it was born already did not do this, they did it without its consent, because Alessandro was an orphan who had been left at the door of a church. I noticed when reading about his life that singing was his only escape and since there were no more castratos, if not him, Moreschi always had this weight on his back. That's why I was inspired by the depression that certainly he had and wanted to use the "Ave Maria" which was one of the few themes that he recorded. Then we have a song by Rezső Seress, a Hungarian pianist, who composed a song that became known as the suicide song, " Szomorú Vasárnap " which in Portuguese translates for "Gloomy Sunday", the lyrics approaches a Sunday that never ends and that can also be interpreted as the end of a week, the sonority is in decreasing, it is very somber and this song has this connotation, because the singer and author committed suicide and many say that it was his art that killed him.

Why the title in English? Are you going to enter this short film at film festivals?
AMV: In english because the concept I want to present has no nationality, no identification, or borders when it comes to depression. This is a problem that exists in all cultures and peoples and I have used english as a universal language, and yes, this short film is registered in 12 festivals around the world.

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