The Mostra Film Festival came to Northwestern on Thursday night showing the movie “Pacarette” to a student audience at Fisk Hall.
The screening of “Pacarette” was one of 26 films screened across the region as part of the festival, which is the largest Brazilian film festival in the Midwest. Organized by the Nonprofit Partners of the Americas, the event is in its 12th year.
âThe aim of the festival is to show Brazil in its entirety,â said Ariani Friedl, founder of the Mostra Film Festival. “Our films bring politics, history, environmental issues and even social issues.”
The film focuses on Pacarette, an elderly woman living in the Brazilian town of Russas. She tries to organize a ballet performance at her city’s 200th anniversary festival, but city leaders repeatedly push her away. The film explores the themes of ageism, loneliness and death.
Spanish and Portuguese teacher Ana C. ThomÃ© Williams helped bring the Mostra Film Festival to Northwestern.
âPortuguese is a less commonly taught language at our university, and we want to try to give it more visibility,â said Williams.
She said she enjoyed the film because of Pacarette’s passion for bringing dancing to others, even though those around her ostracized her for her passion.
SESP freshman Katherine Ferreira O’Connor, an American of Brazilian origin, said they enjoy being in an immersive space with their peers where they can hear both Portuguese and English.
âIt was really nice to sit down and watch a Brazilian movie in an American context where I didn’t feel like I needed to explain things (about Brazilian culture),â Ferreira O said. ‘Connor.
Following the screening, “Pacarette” Director Allan Deberton joined via Zoom for a live question-and-answer session, speaking through a translator. He said the film was based on his own experience growing up in Russas and hearing about an elderly dancer of the same name. The city’s public administration did not support the arts and the real Pacarette was one of the only champions, he said.
Deberton saw many parallels between his story and that of Pacarette. As a young director he encountered difficulties creating and funding art in Russas.
“Talking about Pacarrete was talking about me … I was motivated because I saw myself transformed by his story,” he said. âI was very touched by his story. I realized this would become my first feature film.
Today, however, Deberton feels that the culture is changing. Despite the absence of a movie theater for Russas, the film was screened in a public park in the city, with more than 3,000 participants.
Despite this, Deberton said the difficulties in making art persist – it took 10 years to develop and fund “Pacarette”. The opposition also extends to politics. Deberton said the Brazilian government censors his films, including a documentary he recently produced about five transgender people in the northeast region of Brazil.
Closing the event, Debeterton said that despite the difficulties in directing his films, he wanted to continue to highlight social issues.
âI don’t want to lose the ability to send important messages about human beings and important aspects of life,â Deberton said.
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