Auteur Theory (iPhone version)
To paraphrase my short introduction to Immobilité in front of the huge crowd in Salvador:
Immobilité is not a film per se.The response was beautiful. The first person to come up to me and discuss the work's effect on him was a local Salvadoran well into his eighties. It ends up that he was the founder of one the city's universities and he told me that he "understood everything" and that this was "the most important" he had seen in a long time. The most important what, I wondered.
It borrows from cinema's past but is itself not cinema per se.
In an ideal world, the work would loop eternally and you would be able to enter and exit the work at will, closing your eyes and opening them on to the film whenever you wanted.
But this is not an ideal world.
The next person to talk to me was a young man about eighteen or nineteen. He said viewing Immobilité "changed my life." He was with his girlfriend. At first, she didn't like it, he said, because of all of the English subtitles which, I explained in my intro, was intentional and no shortfall of the event organizers.
"But," continued the young man, "I would whisper my translation for her during the playing of the work and she began to not only fall in love with the work but felt that she understood why you did not use the Portuguese translation."
"My reading to her," the young man told me, "was similar to the people in your images reading to each other and feeling their presence."
Yes, I concurred, that's beautiful.
"It brought us closer together," he smiled and his girlfriend seemed happy too.
The following two days were full of these kinds of conversations.
Of course, there were those who walked out within the first 15 minutes, and in some ways, who could blame them?
But for the hundreds who stayed throughout the entire screening and everyone else who provided their amazingly warm hospitality, thanks for sharing. It changed my life too.
Metadata: Immobilité, Mark Amerika, Brazil