Cinema: “Manga D’Terra”: Tribute to the Women of Reboleira

Cinema: “Manga D’Terra”: Tribute to the Women of Reboleira

There is only one Swiss film in international competition in Locarno this year. “With Manga D’Terra, I wanted to pay homage to the women of Reboleira on the outskirts of Lisbon,” Swiss and Portuguese director Basil Da Cunha said in Locarno.

Basil da Cunha: “I wanted to give a voice to women”

Director Basil da Cunha of Morges presents his film “Manga D’Terra” at the Locarno Film Festival.

05.08.2023

Like two previous feature films – “O Film do Mundo” (Locarno, 2019) and “After the Night” (Cannes, 2013) – this one, which centers on the heroine Rosinha, played by singer Eliana Rosa, was shot at the Reboleira cash. Proposal oscillates between musical comedy on the sounds of Cape Verde and documentaries.

We follow the journey of this 20-year-old young woman, who arrived from Cape Verde, who has to start from scratch, without anyone to support her, said Nuha Gomez, a neighborhood resident who became an actress. to the press. She plays Rosinha’s boss.

“I would like to say in the preamble that this film is the offscreen of the previous film, which gives a voice to women. Because I have made films for boys until now,” said the 38-year-old director, who is Swiss and Portuguese.

Revenge through music

“My ambition is to show several ways of being a woman and in particular this young woman who finds her strength and power in music, a way to take her revenge. Eliana Rosa’s contribution is enormous not only because she carries and embodies the film, but also because it is her voice that we hear when she sings and because she composed most of the songs.

Music and creativity are two ways to survive in immigrant quarters, suggests director of photography, Lausanne-based Patrick Tresch.

Every society needs a cinema.

If the movie wants to be light, it has immigration as a backdrop. Faced with the “vile” reality of those who have not succeeded and must leave,” one has the desire to create myths. “Every culture, every society, every society needs a cinema and to make one.”

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Basil da Cunha used to work with Cape Verdeans as well as with non-professional actors. “He takes bits of life from our stories to make his movie,” explains lead actress Ileana Rosa.

“Thanks to the entire Rebolera community, we were able to make this film: she was the one who brought the sets, the stories and the music,” continues Patrick Tresh. And Basil da Cunha makes this population present in the eyes of the rest of the world.

In Portugal and Lisbon, the highlighting of this area, a place of police raids and often headlines, has sparked vigorous debate.

One last movie

Movie after movie, the director says he will be the last in this neighborhood to disappear. “But we’ll do another one this summer,” he smiles. This is not the end with the people I photograph with: we are forever linked. Because he formed around him a team of neighborhood residents who play in his movies.

It’s hard not to stick to Basil da Cunha’s approach. However, despite the ambition and generosity of the subject matter as well as the subtlety of tone and emotion in many scenes, the construction of this film is characterized by something ‘float’, centered around a single character. The director seems to distance himself from any real narrative construction to just watch Rosina. ‘, as one film specialist remarked upon leaving the screening.

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About the Author: Aldina Antunes

"Praticante de tv incurável. Estudioso da cultura pop. Pioneiro de viagens dedicado. Viciado em álcool. Jogador."

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