Olá! Deixe-nos contar um pouco sobre a DocHouse…(Hello! Let us tell you a little something about DocHouse…)

DocHouse is delighted to announce that our shorts programme, British Anthologies Vol. 1, is making its way to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for Sinédoque 2023. With this opportunity, we take a dive into some Brazilian highlights that have featured at DocHouse over the years.

Firstly, a little more about British Anthologies Vol.1. This programme was a re-launch of our short film programming at DocHouse, and so we wanted to place a strong focus on British filmmakers and British stories, representing ‘a snapshot of contemporary Britain today – an insight into our surroundings and personal stories.’

In these four films, we encounter eroding natural environments and eroding man-made infrastructure, stories of growing with a difficult physical health condition and young people thriving into adulthood. At the heart of the programme are four stories that take a look at the quietly unseen Britain of today – far from the flashy news headlines and tabloids.

Following the screening at DocHouse, we hosted a special Q&A with all of the filmmakers. You can watch this below.

DocHouse is a champion of British documentary filmmakers and the stories they tell. But we also have a strong international focus, with Brazilian documentaries often featuring in our programme. Below is a selection of Brazilian documentaries from the past few years to grace our screen.

A Symphony for a Common Man / José Joffily / 2022 / 86 mins

With the US justification of the 2003 invasion of Iraq long debunked, director José Joffily’s riveting documentary offers a voice to those who stood in opposition to US corruption. Despite their good intentions, what were the consequences of such bravery?

In 1997, Brazilian diplomat José Bustani was appointed the first director general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). During his tenure, Bustani fought tirelessly to de-escalate military tensions and work towards decommissioning chemical weapons globally. However, when he refused to comply with the US and fell out of their favour, he was heartlessly ousted, a betrayal he has yet to recover from.

Almost twenty years later, those involved look back on this period of corruption, acknowledging the ability of world superpowers to devastate the efforts of international organisations and spread misinformation. A Symphony for a Common Man acts as a warning to current contemporary crises, highlighting the need for transparency and honesty in international politics.

Now showing at DocHouse. Book here.

The Territory / Alex Pritz / 2022 / 85 mins

A network of government-backed farmers is eating into indigenous territory in the Brazilian rainforest, but a local activist and his team are fighting back with a video camera as a weapon.

In the Brazilian rainforest, a battle is being waged between the last of the indigenous Uru-eu-wau-wau tribe and the farmers who, with President Bolsonaro at their backs, are slowly eating into their otherwise protected territory. But young activist and leader Bitate is mobilising an army of self-taught journalists to patrol the jungle and catch the land grabbers in action, with a video camera as their only weapon against the chainsaws.

With awe-inspiring cinematography and richly textured sound design, The Territory takes audiences deep into the Uru-eu-wau-wau community and provides unprecedented access to the farmers and settlers illegally burning and clearing the protected Indigenous land.

Following the screening of The Territory at DocHouse, we hosted a special panel discussion. You can watch that here

Your Turn / Eliza Capai / 2019 / 93 mins

In the wake of Brazil’s economic and social crisis, students protest and occupy hundreds of schools. Following the student movement from the protests of 2013 until the election of the new president, Jair Bolsonaro, in 2018, Your Turn captures an urgent time in Brazilian politics.

Inspired by the collective voice of the movement itself, Your Turn is narrated by three high school students, Lucas, Marcela and Nayara, who represent the central points of their struggle. They playfully jostle for space and time, and discuss the diverse politics and motivations amongst the students.

Energetic, imaginative and compelling, Your Turn shows how people can have political agency and change the oppressive, capitalist systems imposed by the powers that be. It’s rare to hear the voice of young people in documentary with such power and agency – in front and behind the camera – and what these teenagers achieved in shifting politics is remarkable.

Waiting for Carnival / Marcelo Gomes / 2019 / 85 mins

The small village of Toritama has transformed into the ‘Capital of Jeans’. Residents work day and night, dreaming of their futures, and sell everything to attend the carnival.

The small village of Toritama in Brazil is a microcosm of relentless capitalism. Each year, more than 20-million pairs of jeans are produced in make-shift factories.

Director Marcelo Gomes speaks from behind the camera to the locals about their lives and dreams, and remembers Toritama as it was when he was a child. His father used to call it ‘The Land of Happiness.’ Now the town sign reads ‘Capital of Jeans’.

The locals work non-stop hours, proud to be the masters of their own time. During Carnival – the only leisure moment of the year -, they transgress the logic of accumulation of goods, sell their belongings without regret and flee to the beaches in search of ephemeral happiness. When Ash Wednesday arrives, a new work cycle begins.