Wexner Center for the Arts

Santiago, Playing

Thu, Apr 3, 2014 7 PM
Film/Video Theater

Along with Twenty Years Later, Santiago is one of the most acclaimed Brazilian documentaries. In 1992, João Moreira Salles started making a film about Santiago, the butler who had worked for his family for decades. Unable to find a shape for the footage, Salles returned to the project and completed it 15 years later, after Santiago’s death. The resulting film is a portrait of an extraordinary and complex man who, in addition to his demanding work for the family, researched and wrote countless histories of aristocratic lifestyles, including that of the house in which he served. The film’s construction and a voice-over by Salles layer this unique character study with an inquiry into the nature of memory, identity, and documentary filmmaking. (80 mins., video)

The highlight of the great Eduardo Coutinho’s recent films, Playing is an exhilarating look at performance, storytelling, the lives of women, the line between fiction and documentary, and so much more. Coutinho placed an ad in a Rio de Janeiro newspaper asking for auditions from women over the age of 18 with interesting stories to tell. A handful of these women then filmed interviews with Coutinho, recounting dramatic stories of heartbreak, loss, love, and life. Coutinho then complicates things by having some of Brazil’s finest actresses recreate the interviews, using the monologues as texts. As the film progresses, the difference between the authentic and acted becomes ever more slippery. (100 mins., 35mm)