“Nostalgia and missing are not synonymous. One imprisons, the other feeds off what it lacks in order to create something new. One way today, some other way tomorrow.”
João Guimarães Rosa
In Swirl we wanted to breathe the atmosphere of the place and the people that had inspired us to make this film. It was a process of encounter, exchange and intense openings. In the midst of this, our greatest challenge was to create a fictional narrative with all the characteristics of this small town, lapped by the tides of the São Francisco River, and its townsfolk, Bastu and Maria.
During filming, we had to understand the transformations our characters were going through and their desire to reinvent themselves through the making of Swirl. Their reactions before the world and the process of filming brought power and grace to the images. At various times they were able to change their stories, sometimes by creating a new memory, sometimes by having the chance to relive something that no longer existed. To share these moments and perceive how the film was also emerging out of their own desires made it freer and brought it closer to life, such that Swirl, like life itself, was in full spin.
Bastu and Maria drive the narrative by playing out their own stories and, every now and then, so as to attain some awareness of the feelings they carry within, the film drifts, revealing the surroundings and making way for the younger characters and the local landscape. In this manner, the hinterlands are portrayed in more subjective fashion, as opposed to as a picturesque mode of life or mere description of a terrain.
We believe that everyone comes out of Swirl transformed. The characters enter and leave, go and return, circulating through the film leaving traces or voices that seem to say something in unison, something that draws attention to the changes in life. In this context, the film reveals a subtle tension between reality and invention, between tradition and the contemporary lifestyle, between life and death, time past and present. The reality was the beginning of everything; and in that reality fantasy resides.