Presented at the Cannes Film Festival, at 61And Critics Week Kristel Elvis Mira’s first feature film – Alma FIFA – is a funny and sensitive poem of Portuguese folklore, evoking a bereaved family.
introductory anecdote and Lovely
Alma FIFA It is a very personal business. Franco-Portuguese director Christelle Alves Mira chose to put her plot of land in the heart of her childhood village. The director honors the mountainous landscapes of northern Portugal. Highlighting the residents of a remote province, it shows another side of the country, away from sunny beaches and postcard clichés. Salome (Loa Michel) is on vacation with her grandmother, Fatima (Anna Pedrao).
She regularly prays to Saint George, in the company of Salome, who initiated a magical rite, the latter of which strongly believes in the power of occultism. When she dies suddenly, Salome finds herself responsible, in spite of herself, to avenge her grandmother’s death. Because the girl soon discovers that she possesses mysterious powers. Strange events suddenly hit the village, which sees in Salome a witch who must be eliminated.
Cristel Alves Mera approaches the Portuguese folklore world with tenderness and subtlety. It is not a matter of mocking those who believe. Alma FIFA On the contrary, faith is respected. This constitutes, in the film, a force that allows the characters to expel mourning by making loss a (new) means of (healthy) communication. And so this heartbreaking fairy tale takes on the appearance of an introductory novel. Salome discovers her powers as she enters adulthood. This becomes, therefore, the silent witness (and observer) of the world that surrounds him. Alma FIFA It is a movie made for children. Frankly (false), Salome’s gaze condemns lies and other small arrangements of adults.
In short, Fatima’s death transforms the film towards a study of the character. The arrival of Salome’s mother, who lives in France, takes the plot – for a time – from its fictional dimension to lead to a stinging depiction of a (dysfunctional) average family. All (or almost) family members are reunited. However, nothing is going as planned. If Salome’s mother, returning (Jacqueline Corrado) is devastated by her mother’s death, her grief does not reach the same extent among her other brothers and sisters. In a hurry to receive a long-awaited inheritance, some decided to reduce the funeral budget. This decision angers Fatima. The fictional (re) returns in the person of Salome, an avenging angel bent on punishing these thirsty vultures. Funeral fare turns into comedy, and, at times, turns into a real scorecard in the OK Corral.
This comic dimension allows the filmmaker to start thinking about mourning. What do we do with death? How sad when you bring back the old buried jealousy? The work evokes the bonds that bind the living to their dead (and vice versa). Alma FIFA Literally means “living soul”. Slashing imaginary images on the screen is not only a way to put the beliefs of the characters into the images, it is also a metaphor for mourning. He questions the way the living manage their mourning.
Alma FIFA It depicts a family facing death. Cristèle Alves Meira makes a great choice in order to ward off any pity. Fatima’s death sparks an eventful encounter that paves the way for the creation of new relationships. Then the old rivalry gives way to reconciliation. The funeral will take place. Even if it was necessary to expose himself to the danger of the fires ravaging the region. Imagination is reborn (one last time) in the form of a supernatural rain, eliminating the selfish greed of a family on the verge of (re)finding each other.
Alma FIFA By Kristel Alves Mira: Introduction
the film, Alma FIFA By Cristèle Alves Meira at International Critics’ Week at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival in the Feature Film Competition.
Written by Kristel Alves-Mira and Laurent Luneta
With Loua Michel, Anna Padrao and Jacqueline Corrado