Waiting for the Carnival

Marcelo Gomes
Brazil 2018 | 89 min | engl. subtitled
Sat, 01-Jun-19 08:00 PM

The small town of Tori­ta­ma in the barren land­scape of north-east­ern Brazil has declared itself the “cap­i­tal do jeans.” Mil­lions of pairs of jeans are made there every year, most of them in small fac­to­ries run by fam­i­lies who are proud of their inde­pen­dence, which is really self-exploita­tion. While search­ing for child­hood mem­o­ries of this place, the direc­tor cannot escape the cease­less clat­ter of the sewing machines, which are silent only once a year, when every­one drives to the coast to cel­e­brate car­ni­val. The inhab­i­tants once made a poor living from agri­cul­ture and sell­ing their goods. Today, the indus­tri­al growth of the emerg­ing nation of Brazil promis­es pros­per­i­ty and well­be­ing. How­ev­er, this seems doubt­ful in light of the drudgery that man­u­fac­tur­ing jeans requires. In the days before car­ni­val, many fridges and tele­vi­sions are taken to the pawnbroker’s, so their owners can pay for the amuse­ment on the coast.

The film does not judge. Instead, Marce­lo Gomes gives the people free rein in front of and with the camera. He shows the work­ing con­di­tions and life today and com­pares these with his mem­o­ries. His essay­is­tic approach cre­ates many mag­i­cal and real moments that reveal the price that is being paid for pro­duc­tion in the name of progress.