Sunday, April 25, 2010

Estamira - A film by Marcos Prado

            Blending black and white and colour film with real-time sound track, Estamira comes across to me as a statement of sanity. While the protagonist herself is seen as a lunatic or unstable person, the message conveyed by her to the intelligent and socially receptive viewer is very down to earth truth, told in a language of the heart. To make it short, I have found a prophet and a philosopher in Estamira.
            First, I would like to think about what she spoke about God and faith. She once was a Catholic. Now, she doesn’t believe in the institutional religion which did not care for her. Even though facts are simple as that, the anger with which he scorns God and the so called men of god makes us think ahead. What human beings seek in god is a place to take refuge in times of need. It is a source of consolation and joy. But when life turns sour from alpha to omega, it is difficult to hold on to faith- especially when the experiences are as hot and terrific as that of Estamira. Being a faithful woman, she could not stomach her husband’s harsh treatment, immoral life, the experience of being thrown into the streets with young children, of being raped continuously on the streets and being treated as a mad person by the family. She ridicules a god who abandons rapes and forgets. And all this experiences change her into a free person, devoid of fear of institutions, laws, social ostracism and hate.
            Estamira places before us another pertinent thought about the society. For her, society is a bunch of untruthful cowards lacking in morality and love. The hands that dragged her into the mental asylum were the same as those that denied her help and that raped her. For her, life is to be lived in its full meaning. She picks up whatever she finds good among the dump. She is happy to be what she is, which the ordinary hypocritical social being is not ready for. Therefore, she is not afraid or ashamed to live in the dunghill of the city or to speak whatever she feels is right.
            At this juncture, let me share a feeling I have. It is about sense and non-sense. What is sense? The normal understanding says, it is conforming to social norms. But our experience clearly shows that conforming to generally accepted norms (laws) result in nothing new. Looking at history, we see whoever brought about a change thought differently and acted odd. They were all enemies of the institutions. Aristotle, Copernicus, Jesus, Revolutionaries, etc. are a few such names. They were all called lunatics by their contemporaries. But what time has proved is quite contrary. They were the wise. And those who threw them to the borders of society were the real lunatics. Estamira is a lunatic for you and me who conform to the social norms for the sake of existence and daily bread. Only time will prove the truth.
            The beginning sequence of Estamira in Black and White was a journey from the urban to the rural into the garbage can of the city. It was a journey that people like Estamira only can undertake. Her journey into the dump was a willing journey. She was going ‘home.’ You and I take the reverse route. We try to escape into the city, to hide under its wings of hypocrisy. She is different, because she is truthful to her heart. Camera brings this aspect out using interplay between B/W and colour sequences. This journey of Estamira ends at the seaside where freedom is in the air. Inhaling freedom and liberty Estamira continues to be an Oracle to the world- let those who have ears listen!