Marvelous Movie Mondays: Ilha das Flores

EPFC | February 26th, 2020

guest curator: Bernardo Britto

theme: social issue films that deal with their subject matter in ways that are not boring and obvious but rather new, fun, different, and cinematic

One of the bigger influences on my filmmaking, Ilha das Flores by Jorge Furtado is a ten minute dissection of society and the entire world that starts with a tomato and ends with you wondering how this system that we have created is at all okay. The use of voiceover, the editing, the macro/micro view of things are all tricks that I still use in my movies to this day. But every time I watch it, I still find myself completely transfixed by it. In some ways it is the total opposite of My Josephine, the Barry Jenkins student film that I wrote about earlier this month. Whereas that film was small and intimate, this is all encompassing. There’s no searching for an intangible feeling. Everything here is concrete and objective. It’s a film that lists facts. That categorizes and labels. A movie that doesn’t shy away from over-explaining something. But that only makes its power that much more compelling. Because these are things as they are. This is the world as we have made it. Even if it isn’t 100% a documentary, even if there are certain things about it that are exaggerated or glossed over, you can’t deny that a tomato is a tomato. And a pig is a pig. And trash is trash. And people are people.

Unfortunately I could not find a version of the film online with the original Portuguese audio and English subtitles. The version I am linking here just has a dubbed English narration. It’s pretty good but I’ve watched this movie so many times that I can’t help but feel like it’s not quite right (he over emphasizes some really weird words, instead of just having the confidence to maintain the matter-of-fact monotone). So, if you speak Portuguese, I would highly recommend watching the original version somewhere else. (though if you’re at all interested in film and you’re Brazilian, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve seen it already)