Ilha da Flores

Jorge Furtado
Brazil, 12 min

Ilha da Flores could be summed up in a single line: “the life and death of a tomato, from vegetable patch to dump…”. Except that the odyssey of the said tomato is caught up in a deluge of words:  both scientific explanation and television news reporting. Despite the ‘transparency’ that results from this authoritative two-pronged commentary, a doubt arises: what if the commentary (“comment taire”, in Agnès Varda’s cryptic words) were only a way of saying nothing?

Ilha de Flores could be summed up in a single line: “the life and death of a tomato, from vegetable patch to dump…”. Except that the odyssey of the tomato in question, handled in turn by the smallholder who harvests it, the market trader who weighs it, and the housewife who puts it on the dinner table then throws it in the bin, is accompanied by a deluge of words: both scientific explanation and television news reporting. Despite the ‘transparency’ that results from this authoritative two-pronged approach, a doubt arises: what if the commentary was only a way of saying nothing (“comment taire”, in Agnès Varda’s cryptic words)? Saying nothing about what? Poverty. The social outcasts of the favelas who invade the screen at the end of the film are unforgettable because the film has drawn us into the language of the ruling class, which claims to explain everything, except the results of its market-based rationality. Worse off than pigs, the poor do have freedom. And, as is stated at the end of the commentary, “freedom is something no one can explain, but everyone can understand” . Duly noted.

Laurent Roth

Translation BMP Translations

Duration
12 min
Year
1989
Country
Brazil
Section
Port Franc
Language
Portuguese
Production
Casa de Cinema de Porto Alegre