Black Cinema: In film ‘Guri’, a mother softens her son’s pain of racism through ancestry

Capa - Guri

Note from BW of Brazil: As the existence of racism in Brazilian Society continues to be an issue that people, organizations and institutions still have a problem addressing in a direct manner, it also becomes difficult to deal with the various levels, areas and age groups this social ill effects.

As children are such impressionable beings, they are prone to imitate the behavior of the adults and society at large as examples of the ways are. And discrimination against or lack of concern with the black population is just another of these social norms that children pick up on and end up reproducing. It’s difficult enough to see any media productions that adequately portray the treatment to which the Afro-Brazilian population is subjected every day and this gap is gets even more complex when it doesn’t address how such discriminatory behavior plays out in the lives of specific segments with this group, such as black children or black women.

Recently, a short film debuted that dealt specifically with the experience of racism in the life of a black boy living in the southeast region of the country. Such films bridge a gap in the representation of black life in Brazil and deserve to be distributed so that these voices and faces are known beyond the assumptions and ideas that most have about this parcel of the population. Guri is just one short film, but hopefully in coming years, these types of media productions will continue to present a people that this country continues to ignore as if it doesn’t exist.

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Cinema negro: In Guri, a mother softens the pain of racism through ancestry

Courtesy of Mundo Negro with additional info from Século Diário

Victor is a 12 year old boy who dreams of winning a marbles championship in his neighborhood. From the child’s play, the film Guri presents a black family of the periphery, formed by Victor and his mother, Madalena, who have to deal with their social condition and the racial prejudices to which they are subjected. In the plot, little is known of the father, only that he lives and works in São Paulo.

O ator mirim Wesley Silva deu vida a Victor
Child actor Wesley Silva plays Victor in the film ‘Guri’

The short film takes place in two distinct spaces, the school and the neighborhood in which he lives – Barra do Jucu, in Vila Velha, in the state of Espírito Santo. So we have Victor, in love with marbles, getting ready to play in the marbles championship in his neighborhood. But in the week of the big event, little Victor is the victim of a racist joke of a collegue about his cabelo black (afro).

The mother plays a key role in dealing with the racist act by talking to her son about the importance of valuing his ancestry, his history and not letting himself be bothered by this kind of prejudice. The story recounts the adventures of this boy, who enjoys drawing and playing futebol, who thanks to the education of his mother finds in music the main aesthetic and blackness references.

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In the film, Victor enjoys playing marbles, futebol and drawing

The short film that has direction and script by Adriano Monteiro and executive production of Daiana Rocha, addresses one of the children’s games that marked the era and is almost no longer seen in the current generations. Guri is a drama and a children’s adventure. Despite his conflict establishing himself on a delicate theme, childhood racism, it does not erase his playful and entertaining outlook.

“There is a gap in the Brazilian cinema of audiovisual productions for the black child population, there are few works”, says the director, who is a journalist, social scientist and master in Communication and Territorialities from the Federal University of Espírito Santo (Ufes).

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In the film ‘Guri’, Victor (Wesley Silva) is strengthened and comforted by his mother Madalena (Rejane Faria)

Racism – like other types of violence and prejudice – is often a painful and difficult reality to understand for children, who may be induced to try to hide their identity as a form of protection or to assume it and face the consequences. In the case of Victor, interpreted by Wesley Silva, he finds in his mother, Madalena (Rejane Faria), the strength of a black woman conscious of her ancestry and self-affirmation.

With the proposal to enter the daily life of this black family from the periphery, the aesthetic and cinematographic research began in great works of Cinema Novo and arriving at productions of great relevance in the contemporary cinema, among them are Cidade de Deus (City of God) (Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund, 2002), Ó Pai, Ó (Monique Gardenberg, 2007), 5x Favela – agora por nós mesmo (Cacau Amaral, Rodrigo Felha, Cadu Barcelos, Luciano Vidigal, Manaira Carneiro, Wagner Novais, Luciana Bezerra, 2010).

It is important to highlight the influence of great black Brazilian directors, among them Joel Zito Araújo, Jeferson De and André Novais Oliveira. Regarding foreign filmmakers, the production is anchored in works of the American directors Spike Lee and Ava DuVerney, as well as in the Senegalese director Ousmane Sembène.

The short film proposes an important reflection on childhood from the perspective of the black child, besides contributing to the debate of racism in childhood, so naturalized in our society through “jokes”, and also to value the representations of black characters and black women in the cinema capixaba (Espírito Santo cinema).

Protagonized by black children, the children’s cast includes six characters, in addition to others such as the mother, school director, teacher and a sage, played by the experienced Markus Konká, in addition to the extras.

The production still intends to distribute the film for pedagogic use in schools, as the director mentions. “The film, by giving preference to a cast composed mostly of children, wants to touch on a delicate theme that is racism in childhood and foster this debate in the family, school and other instances of society,” says Adriano Monteiro.

“We have to propose another type of education for children, whether black, white, indigenous or of any ethnic group, to minimize the impacts and trauma that racism causes in their self-esteem, is very cruel,” says the director, with the conviction of someone who felt this from his own experience.

The short film Guri will be released on 03/26, at 7 pm at Cine Metrópolis (UFES). After the showing there will be chat with the director, cast and guests. GURI is a short film project contemplated by Edict 029/2017 of the Culture Fund – FUNCULTURA, of the State Secretariat of Culture of Espírito Santo (Secult). Realization: Bule – Estúdio Criativo.

Short film Guri (Direction and script by Adriano Monteiro)

Source: Século DiárioMundo Negro

About Marques Travae 3109 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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