Phiro begins at the dawn of a new day. A frontal shot of an old house in a Brazilian street shows a concrete facade, some plants on the balcony and ugly graffiti on all the walls. On the second floor, a cleaning woman opens the shutters one by one, and the windows that lie behind them. In the next 12 minutes, we enter the house and are gradually ushered into the occupant's life, an elderly man the cleaning woman looks after. In 2006, director Gregorio Graziosi and Thereza Menezes made the short film Saba, screened at IDFA that year, about the residents of a retirement home. Like that film, Phiro has old age and the related longing for the past as its subjects. In poetic close-ups, the film shows us the old man's daily activities. When he takes a shower, we only see the back of his head, and when he gets shaven only his ear, followed by a detail of the brush. Sometimes, the tightly framed camera takes a little more distance and shows the man, sitting in his chair or watching from the window. But it's the visual details and small remarks the man makes to his cleaning woman which gradually reveal that this hushed life harbours an awful tragedy.
Gregorio Graziosi for Cinemalink, José Gozze for FAAP