Elena – the film – 9/12/2014
(Click to enlarge image)
Petra searches for her sister in ELENA, the film. But not all her journey fits in the documentary. Many of the paths and shortcuts she took, landscapes and mazes she found and the discoveries she made you will only find here, in these short films: voices, images and dances combined in memories from her childhood , adolescence, career, family, friends and colleagues. More of the poetry behind the meeting of these two sisters is in the DVD, including 12 additional short films and an extra one about the process of making the film.
1 – I Turn to Water
An Ophelia goes deep in her thoughts, dreams and challenges of coming of age. A clip based in the phrase “You touch me, I turn to water” by Guimarães Rosa, an important Brazilian writer who influenced Elena in her acting, inspired Petra to draw a link with Shakespeare’s Ophelia in the film and was adapted by Maggie Clifford into her song for the movie.
Ophelias floating in the water: Petra in search of her sister along with so many other young women in their journey to “becoming a woman.” A clip of poetic images of water and women floating in it.
3- Memories of the Sea
Petra’s first memory of Elena. Images and sensations liquefying in a come and go of waves and feelings: the fear of the ocean, the protection of her sister, the storm, the lulling, the confronting, and the rite of Yemanja’s celebration – goddess of the sea in African mythology – celebrated on Brazilian beaches.
4- Japanese Diary
Petra plunges into herself and follows clues to search for Elena. In a diary by a Japanese man she finds one of the last sights of Elena: A princess? A mysterious woman? A hurried actress? A scared young lady? The friend writes in his diary about a trivial day he went to watch a movie with Elena, and Petra narrates her encounter with this diary 20 years later.
5- Childhood Underground
Elena was born and spent her early years hiding during the Brazilian military dictatorship. The militant youth of her parents, facts of Brazilian history and memories of little Elena, who was playing, cooling off in the pool, climbing trees and seeking refuge underground with her parents.
6- A passage through the USA
Transitions of Elena: from childhood to adolescence, from only child to Petra’s older sister, from dictatorship to democracy ,and her time in the U.S. as an exchange student. VHS recordings of her family, Elena’s diaries in K7 tapes and emotional testimonies by those who were part of Elena’s life at this time.
7- Casting Test
Elena did not give herself time to see where her career would go. The possibilities were left unfulfilled. An example of Elena’s pursuit of a career in the US: the record of Elena’s interview at a New York casting agency that a friend kept for many years.
8 – Boi Voador
“Elena’s professional defining moment. “Boi Voador” was the theater group in which Elena took part and where her career began to gain prominence. Archival footage and testimonies from members of the group – today’s renowned Brazilian artists – talking about Elena’s talent, determination, grace, beauty, rebellion, perseverance, restlessness, peculiarity, self-criticism, charisma, magnetism, need, creativity, suffering and sweetness.
9 – The Last Trip
The dance is part of Elena, be it in her melancholic steps, or her stride towards a dance course in Hungary: radiantly hoping, bouncing, dancing as remembered by her friend and travel companion and images from a video found later.
10 – Everything is Impermanent
The mother’s relationship with Elena: identification, estrangement, education, guilt, pain, love. The time that goes by in feelings that stay.
11 – Father, Colors and Ashes of Elena
The father’s relationship with Elena: he unearths the longings and memories and also unearths the ashes of Elena, spreading them among the colorful flowers in a beautiful and bucolic landscape.
12 – Elena Dances With Herself
Medley of recordings and Elena’s movements: her gestures , her dancing steps, her spins, her flips and bouncings, her swinging, her dance!
13 -Memory of a Creation
The memories of the process of making of ELENA. The voices of Petra and members of the team (co-scriptwriter, editors, art director and consultant) telling about the construction of the film: the first inspirations, the beginning of the work, the transformation of the narrative and the transformations experienced by those creating the film. The female staff talking about the depth and tenderness of the “come-to-be-movie” of ELENA.