Filmmaker Eduardo Coutinho
The Brazilian director Eduardo Coutinho (1933-2014), to whom IDFA devoted a retrospective in 2011, described his unique, personal style as 'conversational cinema'.
Many of his films are based on interviews, which he went into without a script, making them more like ordinary conversations. He had different people discussing the same theme. Like metal workers who talk about the battle they fought in the seventies and eighties in Metal Workers (2004), the residents of an apartment building in Rio de Janeiro about their lives in Master, a Copacabana Building (2002) and various Brazilians about songs that changed their lives in Songs (2011). Coutinho studied film direction in France in the late 1950s, after which he started working as a film producer and director in Brazil. He made several feature fiction films, including ABC do amor (1967). Later he devoted himself to writing scenarios, such as for Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (1976). He worked for some time at the TV program Globo Repórter before specializing in making documentaries. In early 2014, Coutinho was stabbed to death in his home by his son, who reportedly suffered from schizophrenia. His last film Last Conversations (2015) was completed by João Moreira Salles after Coutinho's death.
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On the day of the turn of the millennium, five film crews ask the inhabitants of Chapéu Mangueira and Babilônia, two favelas opposite Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, what they have done that day and what their future plans are. With their digital cameras, they also register the moments right before the interview, when the people are busy with their daily activities. Fátima has just dyed her hair (‘I may be poor, but I still have to keep looking good’). She predicts that the 21st century will start with seven dark years. Small Jessica has only one desire: she wants to watch ‘The beauty and the beast’. A young woman expects that love and harmony will reign the world, whereas an elderly woman gloomily anticipates that nothing will change. The violence and unemployment will always be there.