A disarming meditation on memory, aging and letting go of the past, Júlia Murat’s beguiling film takes place in a town where time stands still. The tiny Brazilian village of Jutuomba may be hard to locate on a map; indeed, it might exist only in the collective imagination of its few remaining residents, a tightly interconnected group of elders who enact daily routines of baking bread, churning coffee beans, attending Mass and enjoying communal meals al fresco. Into their autumn years drifts Rita, a young photographer captivated by the lush locale’s picturesque greens and ochers, and intrigued by the local cemetery’s mysteriously locked gates. As Rita discovers the village’s intertwined past and present through her camera lens, she forms a strong bond with Madalena (standout Sonia Guedes) and offers her new friend a chance at long-desired liberation. Murat has cited Jia Zhangke’s Still Life (SFIFF 2008) and Hirokazu Kore-eda’s After Life (SFIFF 1999) as models for her film’s similarly deft blend of fictional and documentary elements, to which she adds Caravaggio-like interiors lit only by oil lamps (in brilliant work by cinematographer Lucio Bonelli) and a palpable affection for her characters and their otherworldly bit of Brazil. “I’ve never heard so much silence,” Rita says of Jutuomba, yet this silence speaks volumes.
Added by cinesoul on June 18, 2012