“While waiting for the carnival”, alienation with flat seams

The uberisation of the world, to touch it with a glance, here it is in this film. While waiting for the carnival documents, by making the choice of a chiadée aesthetic pushed to the constant limit of “too much” (too good, from the start: the openness is truly astonishing), a population of micro-entrepreneurs happy with unbridled neoliberalism, savage exploitation which allows them to work like mules to make money, the strict minimum certainly but always better than “The world before” industrious, in the days of the factory or of poor agricultural yields. Morality: it was not worse before but it is not better now (funny conservatism of the film). There, in Toritama, this village at the eastern tip of Brazil and less than 200 kilometers from the sea, the annual carnival and Recife, at work in his “faction” – a term with perceptible irony designating the sewing workshops and of the backyards of the houses of the village, workers’ cells in the sleepless hive of the village planted in the middle of the rough lands of the pampas – each and every one is their own master on board, they say, no account to return to a direct boss, the output alone counts, the non-stop factory of jeans. “Welcome to Toritama, the capital of jeans”, displays a welcoming and gigantic billboard, with a witness couple, Caucasian type, breathing happiness in denim. At the sewing machine, between two hammering in bursts of the needle, a beautiful and serious worker testifies at the request of Marcelo Gomes, the filmmaker returned to question the place, the people and the untraceable memories of his childhood: in the land of this “Economic miracle” on which the sun never sets, a sewn fly is so much, a pocket so much, and if you sew 10,000 a day, you have earned such an amount, 50 dollars a day, period. A single worker will issue a reservation, notes what is lost in the change in the system of self-employment: labor law. Social rights, zero, no more unions, no more hourly or contractual regulation, paid holidays, nothing, nothing more than productivism, this freedom to do away with an enormous amount of work, permanent and that nothing stops. No perspective other than the accumulation, huge piles of jeans and banknotes after resale in the Sunday market – and on market day the film becomes overcrowded, bonkers, exhausted multitude of microcapitalism, of the (global?) Village. . Only one break on the horizon: the carnival.


The only hobby of the year, where the little extra money is spent, where you are suddenly ready to go into debt and resell any good dearly acquired by the sweat of your brow, sewing, TV, motorbike. Carnival is like a totem pole built during the year, a horizon where all that remains of energy, vacation life, freedom of movement, meaning of wasteful spending, passes through. An outlet as much as an exorcism of the bewitchment of the sewing chain and machine rooms to make jeans, jeans, jeans, their overalls to all, which make callipyge women buttock arch that proudly some, stylists, Heads of their small business and claw-footed advertisements of their dressy product display. These gentlemen, the same, but less their buttocks than the studied tears, knee, thighs, or their consummate art of “bleached” for faded denims.

The pretext for the film is the return to his native land, the filmmaker’s scratchy voice over accompanies the images he wanted more beautiful than the reality filmed. He questions aloud what he sees, remembers, compares, criticizes, criticizes himself by changing gear and intervention style whenever he has any doubts, until he gives Leo a camera for the only carnival getaway, by the sea and at leisure. Leo, attractive and innocent character (of the village), Pasolinian if you will in his beauty and his simple physical power, debtor of jeans, sugar canes and truths to the meter very apropos, on capitalism, time and money, the less arduousness of domestic manufactured work, out of which there is no salvation for men and women like him, the poor, and the “originals”. A landscape remembered, a hut has replaced it, the inhabitants in these huts, vaulted over their precision sewing machine, tell harsh tales of the ancient harvest and cutting of sugar cane. Nothing of this rustic landscape remains, apart from a few vestiges, and the only farmer who appears in the image would almost appear as an old-fashioned “bon vivant”, idle or almost, a shame.

Slogan sign

Each, in any case, is a living ad of itself. Advertised for his condition and his labor, this self-slavery accomplished, accepted, and even praised. The splendid, bewitching opening announced the color, that everything is surface in this model village of phantom cardboard: behind the window for globalized customers, behind the spectacularized word, praising holy work and the seamstress life, no depth, only the flatness of the slogan sign, large advertising panels with dreamlike cut-out silhouettes, on the back of which nothing, except the frame. On the other side, the comedy of work, the hypnosis of the chain. There is no tailside.

Gomes progressively struggles solo with the implicit question that annoys him: how to not work on his film in the same way, with the same hypnosis or repetitive nausea of ​​the gestures, and for the same “benefit”, that this work that he has given himself the mission of filming? And why should we first stand out? Not wanting to make the film also its own advertisement, or its advertisement as a self-author as well as a self-entrepreneur? The facetious film counter-steers several times, anxious not to purr and to settle as little as possible in a mimicry of planned profit – in a vertigo in relation to the thing filmed which would therefore be, for the filmmaker to begin with, unbearable , from an aesthetic and political point of view. So what, making a work of art by labor? The question is open like the busy workshops, day and night: what exactly are we doing?

Camille Nevers

While waiting for the carnival of Marcelo gomes (1 h 26).


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