Tuškanac Cinema / Monday, 15 May / 9 pm

Dry Ground Burning / Mato Seco em Chamas

Brazil, Portugal, 2022, 153'
Director: Joana Pimenta, Adirley Queirós · Screenplay: Joana Pimenta, Adirley Queirós · Photography: Joana Pimenta · Editing: Cristina Amaral · Production: Adirley Queirós, João Matos - Cinco Da Norte, Terratreme Filmes · Roles: Débora Alencar, Léa Alves da Silva, Gleide Firmino

“I remember that time… I got wrapped up in some crazy shit with my sister Chitara. My sister made history in Sol Nascente. That was in 2019. I’d just got out of prison for drug charges. My sister asked me to be a part of this crazy scheme she was caught up in. She got a hold of a map of underground oil pipes. She got it and then… she bought a lot in Sol Nascente. The oil pipes ran right under her land. She started making a lot of money with that. So I started working with her. She took me to the lot, where she built a huge structure. Really huge, it was crazy, dope as hell. She taught me how it all worked…how to get the oil from underground, and turn it into gasoline, and all that shit…And she set up a deal with the motoboys, they would buy gasoline from her… Besides the motoboys, Chitara also had a stand at the P. Norte market where she sold her gasoline and a bunch of other shit. Chitara also got mixed up in politics. She made history… We had Sol Nascente on lock, we fucked things up. We really fucked things up.” This is how Léa tells the story of the female gang led by Chitara, Gasolineras de Kebradas, as her words echo through the walls of Colmeia, the women’s prison of Brasilia, Federal District.

This wondrous docufiction tells a story about rebellious half-sisters from a Brazilian favela, who illegally draw oil and sell gasoline from their improvised refinery to mysterious motoboys. It is a story about radical sisterhood and oil piracy, as well as about a community in a fierce struggle for survival and achieving economic independence from Bolsonaro’s rotten fascistoid state, which in the meantime lost power. The directors walked into this blazing world and together with five women told this story which is in a way a retaliation to the Brazilian elite. By mixing real locations and protests with staged events (in which amateur actors impersonate themselves), the film reflects on the fissured land and yearning bodies, pointing to a whole generation of people who were displaced, isolated and imprisoned by the project of building up a model Brazilian nation. (DP)

Awards and festivals: 

Cinéma du Réel: Grand Prize (2022); Indielisboa: Grand Prize (2022), Rio IFF: Special Jury Prize & Best Cinematography (2022)

Joana Pimenta is a Portuguese director based in Brazil for the last eight years. She teaches film directing at the Department of Art, Film and Visual Studies at Harvard University, where she heads the Film Study Centre. Her latest work, An Aviation Field, won the grand prix for best film at Zinebi ’58.

Adirley Queirós is a director from Ceilândia, Brazil, where he filmed his last three feature films: Cidade é uma só?, Branco Sai Preto Fica and Era uma vez Brasília. His works have been screened at the Lincoln Centre, the Museum of the Moving Image, the ICA London, the Pacific Film Archive and reviewed in journals such as Artforum, Cinemascope, and Cahiers du Cinéma.