In this audacious debut feature, João Paulo Miranda Maria conjures a surreal image of the racial and social rifts in modern day Brazil. Cristovam (played by Cinema Novo icon Antônio Pitanga), an Indigenous Black man from the rural North, moves to an industrialized Southern town populated by the descendants of Austrian ex-pats to work in a milk factory. Immediately confronted with their virulent racism, he becomes more and more estranged from the white world. Upon discovering an abandoned house filled with objects reminding him of his origins, Cristovam begins a spiritual and physical metamorphosis...
With dreamlike images steeped in traditional Brazilian folklore from cinematographer Benjamin Echazarreta (Academy Award winner A Fantastic Woman), Memory House is a “a study of what happens to an oppressed minority as decades of abuse chip away at his humanity” and “a timely commentary on integration and colonialism” (Variety).
Commentary by director João Paulo Miranda Maria
Bonus short film:
The Girl Who Danced with the Devil
Directed by João Paulo Miranda Maria
Portuguese with English subtitles
A girl living in a conservative religious society finds paradise in an unlikely place - at the local disco. Winner of a Special Jury Mention at Cannes 2016.
Sound: 5.1 Surround & 2.0 Stereo
- "Everything from the imagery to the performances and measured pace makes João Paulo Miranda Maria’s Memory House one of the most memorable films of the year."
- "This dream-like slow-burn drama comes off like a waking nightmare. Maria uses imagery from Brazilian folklore to deploy a haunting interrogation of colonialism’s treacherous legacy. This uncompromising tale of one man’s spiritual reawakening is one of the year’s most ferocious social commentaries."
- "With its supernatural flourishes and its unsparing take on a Brazil that looks both dystopian and nostalgic in equal measure, Miranda Maria’s debut feature is an impressive calling card. “Memory House” is, above all, a fable about identities lost and cultural artifacts in need of recovery that doubles as a thrilling and foreboding ride designed to rattle audiences at home and abroad with equal verve."
- "One of the most original works in recent cinema. Memory House... is the definition of vigor in cinema. Through its direction and technical aspects, it establishes João Paulo Miranda Maria as one of the most exciting directors in recent years."
- "João Paulo Miranda Maria’s first full-length film melds past and present, realism and fantasy, to offer a mesmerising symbolic and political immersion into the Brazilian collective subconscious"
- "With an exacting and unflinching look at colonialism in modern-day Brazil, João Paulo Miranda Maria’s feature debut is a searing look at the way racism and prejudices are still held today."
- "Memory House, much like Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Donnelles’s recent Bacarau, makes no secret of its disgust for neocolonialism, capitalism, or fascism, though it’s more skeptical of violent resistance even when exercised in self-defense. Miranda Maria’s film exposes the hopelessness and desperation spawned by a society that drops even the pretense of treating people, black people especially, any better than livestock as soon as they get too old to work. "
- "[B]rilliantly executed and hauntingly shot, the director conceives an acid and hallucinating, nightmarish-style, powerfully provocative critique to an intolerable and poisoned society."
- "Rife with magical realist elements, the film is a visual and auditory treasure trove..."
Awards & Recognition
Roger Ebert Award for New Director
Chicago Int'l. Film Festival
Stockholm Film Festival
Chicago Int'l. FIlm Festival
Stockholm Film Festival
Best Feature Film
Torino Film Festival
Best Fiction Film
São Paulo Int'l. Film Festival
New Directors Award
San Sebastián Int'l. Film Festival
Bergen Int'l. Film Festival
People's Choice Award
Pingyao Int'l. Film Festival
Toronto Int'l. Film Festival