Each citizen of Jotuomba plays an integral role in village life. Madalena is responsible for baking bread; each morning she stacks her rolls as Antonio prepares the coffee. The two share a ... See full summary »
Each citizen of Jotuomba plays an integral role in village life. Madalena is responsible for baking bread; each morning she stacks her rolls as Antonio prepares the coffee. The two share a morning ritual of arguments and insults, followed by an amicable cup of coffee on the bench outside Antonio's shop. At midday the church bells ring, summoning the villagers to mass. In the early evening, they all share a meal together. And so life proceeds in Jotuomba, the days languidly drifting into one another. The only variations seem to be in the weather. One day Rita arrives looking for a place to stay. She came upon the village while traveling through the valley, following the unused railroad tracks. She is a photographer, intent on capturing the village's special allure. Initially reticent, the townsfolk gradually open up to her, sharing their stories and allowing themselves to be photographed. Rita is comfortable with technologies old and new, and Madalena teaches her to knead dough by the ... Written by
A beautifully photographed fable about the importance of not letting life slip away
This film is a beautifully photographed fable about a ghost village where no one has died since 1976, and where old people are stuck in their memories - until the arrival of a young female photographer changes things. It is also a melancholy ode to the heydays of the coffee plantations in the Paraíba Valley, once the symbol of Brazil, and a flourishing region that prospered thanks to its coffee plantations, but now a derelict region full of empty estates and ghost towns. This wonderfully touching and melancholic story is beautifully shot, sweet and sour, honest and heart-warming. It shows Brazil as a country with many realities, and reflects one of these realities, one that often remains untold. The film is very well acted, slow at some points, but it definitely stays with you after it ends. It is also a fantastic reflection on the passage of time, a poetic, humble film about the last people left in this small village, people full of hidden memories and set in their ways. As the worlds of the young and old intertwine, the dichotomies between resistance and understanding, and between labor and art begin to fade (like the old photographs hanging on Madalena's walls). Through a growing relationship, each teaches the other about life and about the importance of not letting it slip away. A real gem!
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