August Winds (Gabriel Mascaro, 2014): Brazil

Reviewed by Anissa Perez. Viewed at the AFI Fest in Hollywood.

August Winds; directed by documentary film-maker Gabriel Mascaro, is a unique film that shows its strengths in cinematography dialogue, and symbolism. The writers Rachel Ellis and Gabriel Mascaro are very distinct in their style in that they use the maximum amount of subtext throughout the character’s dialogue. The audience isn’t told the story but instead is given the task of deciphering the tale through the characters mannerisms and sporadic words. Aside from the two main characters, the director casted non actors who live in the actual town where the film was shot. This added to the films authenticity and hearkens back to Mascaro’s documentary films. The opening shot of this film is of the outdoors and sets the tone for the recurring theme that is nature. The begining of the film establishes the two main characters well. Shirly played by Dandara De Morais is seen helping her ailing grandmother getting into bed wich shows that she cares for her. Jeison played by Geova Manoel Dos Santos is seen diving through the water showing that he is an explorer and curious. The two of them work on a coconut farm and while they are putting coconuts in the truck, Shirly only tells the workers to fill it half-way. As the scene plays out we see that this adjustment is ment to accommodate her and Jeison to have sex. As soon as their relationship is established they go diving in the ocean. Jeison discovers a skull. He shows it to Shirley and they both decide to find out who this person was. The finally happen upon an old fisherman who said that he knew the man. The fisherman states that he knew the man when he was a boy and that he died long ago. Then the fisherman says a very piognant line when he utters, “The dead here don’t go to Heaven or Hell, they go into the ocean.” That line perfectly encapsulates the entire movie because the whole film is centered around nature. Death is like nature. It cannot be avoidable and yet it is always changing the being that it grabs a hold of.  Change is a big theme in this film and is characterized through nature because it is never the same and is always shifting.All of the characters go through changes in the story and then learn to carry on. Like in the begining of the film Shirley had to move in with her grandmother. She didn’t want to at first but did it anyways. She then went with the flow as it were and like the ocean in this film.  This classically made drama might fly under the radar, but for me the beautiful cinematography, curious choice of punk music and charmingly simple plot is enough to make me enjoy this “acquired taste” of a film.

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