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Marie Hendriks is inviting Ana Maria Gomes to this programme which focuses on the destinies of members of their family connected with the world of spectacle.

I discovered Ana Maria Gomes’s work with her film Teresa. I was impressed by the boldness of a biting wit underlying a false naivety. In our second year at Le Fresnoy (National Studio of Contemporary Arts), we became inseparable friends. 

Through a series of questions which may seem insignificant, Ana Maria questions the personalities and memories of her subjects. She reveals their paradoxes and the gap between what they are and how they would like to be seen. This is why she likes filming people who have something mysterious about them, who lead a double life, and who are involved in autofiction (fictionalized autobiography).

With Antonio, Lindo Antonio, Ana Maria questions her family in Portugal about an uncle she has never known. He went off to live in Brazil when he was a teenager, and never returned to his native land in 50 years. In a second part, she goes to Brazil to check out suppositions put forward by the different witnesses. The result is an implicit, diptych-like portrait.

Antonio, Lindo Antonio and Scattering Cake share a similar point of departure, and a similar question: how do time and absence introduce fiction into our family histories?

With Antonio, Lindo Antonio, Ana Maria sets out to check a family legend on the spot, in documentary form; she then deconstructs its share of fantasy. Through the presentation of Scattering Cake, I amplify the share of fiction and thus shift a simple anecdote into the realm of allegory and tale.  Marie Hendriks

Marie Hendriks

Scattering Cake

2015, 6 mn

Scattering Cake is a video loop that is part of a set of pieces (this video, imagined drawings based on archival family photos, and the ceramic sculpture that acts as a set in the video), which celebrate an amorous encounter, between Wim and Johanna, my paternal grandparents. This couple’s courtship took place on ice some 90 years ago. With her fiery-coloured head of hair, Johanna incarnated Wim’s dreams of the female ideal. Spellbound by this vision, the young man decided to win the heart of the red-headed beauty with his performances befitting an experienced skater. The video describes the tension between Eros and Thanatos in the attraction between two people, turning the game of seduction into a marvellous and macabre circus act. MH

Ana Maria Gomes

Antonio, Lindo Antonio

2015, 41 mn 47

Antonio, the director’s uncle, left Portugal for Brazil 50 years ago, at the age of 19 – never to return. Over the years, he has promised his mother that he would come back… but half a century later, she is still waiting.

Why did he never return? "He may believe that life lasts a lifetime, but no," says his brother Bento, indignant. His 90-year-old mother has grown bitter and resigned: "If he doesn't give a damn about me, likewise!" Between the Portuguese hamlet where the uncle was born and grew up, and the megalopolis of Rio where he lives in a self-imposed exile, there is a world of misunderstanding and things that go unsaid.


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