"Historias Que So Existem Quando Lembradas," also known as "Found Memories" is set in a coffee plantation town in Brazil that celebrates the raw beauty of life, love, and even death. I'm honored to have had the opportunity to see and support a film from Latin America where the strongest characters are the women.
Synopsis: Like every morning, Madalena makes bread for Antonio's old coffee shop. Like every day, she crosses the railways where no trains have passed for years; she cleans up the gate of the locked cemetery, and listens to the priest's sermon before sharing lunch with the other old villagers. Clinging to the image of her dead husband and living in her memories, Madalena is awakened by the arrival of Rita, a young photographer who is arriving in the ghost village of Jotuomba, where time seems to have stopped. A deep relationship is forged between the two women, which gradually builds to have a profound effect on both of their lives, as well as the rest of the villagers.
How did I come to find out about this award-winning film? Well I'll tell ya!
A colleague of mine - Wally - has been talking about his friends Julia and John, the film maker and photographer (respectively) for years! I found out that the film was playing at MOMA and at the Film Society at Lincoln Center, so I bought tickets to check it out and finally get a chance to meet this artistic couple.
As life has it, when Wally spoke about his friend Julia whose movie was playing, I did not inquire as to her last name. Which is why I walked up to Julia Murat, the Director, and her husband, speaking of Wally, expressing my excitement to finally meet her and to watch this film. She was very gracious and thanked me without revealing that she had no clue to who Wally was. This just happens to be a classic ME moment, by the way.
The couple I intended to meet was Julia Solomonoff (the Producer!) and her husband John Harris. Despite my horror at having babbled about my colleague to a different Julia in front of many people (including the Julia I intended to meet, a tid bit that I later discovered), I am excited to have met Julia Murat, and am thrilled that I had an opportunity to at least hear Julia Solomonof speak on stage about the making of this film.
Found Memories pays such homage to old age, where the people of this town take solace in their routines, and the surprising way life is painted when a young photographer comes to this seemingly desolate town.
I must say, I really enjoyed the movie. The strength of the two very different, yet very strong female characters of Madalena, a widow and a baker, and Rita, a young photographer really resonated with me. Their sheer stubbornness will make you laugh, but they also evoke an appreciation for this life in the other. And what is also so interesting is that the majority of these characters - who seem like they have spent eons in this town - are not actors at all... but you wouldn't know it.
In a way, this film portrays life as a beautiful dance, and the film captures these moments, with striking images that may move you or even startle you. It was funny, warm and inviting in its stillness and silence.
Found Memories really was a beautiful film in every way. It's the kind of film to watch while cuddling on a rainy Sunday afternoon, reading the subtitles in English, and drinking a glass of Malbec. And I hope you do.