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Antti Alanen: Film Diary:

Sodankylä morning discussion with Fernando Meirelles

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Fernando Meirelles in the Sodankylä morning discussion with Mika Kaurismäki, 15 June 2019. Photo: Juho Liukkonen / MSFF. Fernando Meirelles in discussion in English with Mika Kaurismäki. Midnight Sun Film Festival (MSFF), Sodankylä, The School, 15 June 2019. MORNING DISCUSSION WITH FERNANDO MEIRELLES MSFF: "On the Saturday morning discussion, Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles told about his versatile career, which has included various works from video art to successful international films and from experimental TV series to opera." "Meirelles remembers his first film experiences are related to his father’s movie clips which were shot on 16 mm film. However, the career as a director was not Meirelles’s original plan. He grew up in São Paulo and after discontinuing his biology studies Meirelles studied architecture. He decided to become a filmmaker after seeing Jorge Bodanzky and Orlando Senna’s Iracema (1975). It was a film that combined fiction and documentary such an exceptional way and was so impressive for Meirelles that he decided to make a short film as his final project and, as a result, made his introduction to the film industry." "At the beginning of his career, Meirelles and his colleagues made experimental short films and video art. He also directed several years fun and experimental series and worked in advertising. However, the ads were not enough for Meirelles – instead, he dreamed of directing a feature film. He practiced directing a feature film with his first film Maids (2001)." "“I always want to get involved in projects that make me feel insecure. The topics I don’t know much about and I usually even regret, that I agreed to take on such an impossible idea. For some reason, these work the best in the end.”" "Meirelles wanted to film José Saramago‘s novel Blindness, but because of the copyrights, the plan was almost canceled. One of the luckiest coincidences on Meirelles’s career was when the publisher of Saramago asked if Meirelles would be interested in directing Paulo Lins‘s novel The City of God. After a short moment of hesitation, Meirelles grasped this opportunity and chose a completely different topic." "Meirelles’s The City of God was screened at the Cannes Film Festival and was a great success. The film was followed by another success, The Constant Gardener (2005), after which Meirelles announced that he would stop making movies. However, he went back on his decision, as he finally got the opportunity to direct a film adaption of Blindness (2008). The film was followed by 360 (2011) and then Meirelles returned to TV series. Even after that the director has still broken new ground." "Trying something new has always inspired Meirelles. He has directed, for example, the opera Les Pêcheurs de Perles in 2015 and the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Currently, the director has many projects in progress, including a climate crisis series for the BBC, a science documentary and the feature film The Pope produced by Netflix." "Meirelles would bring the film Iracema with him to a desert island. That movie which originally encouraged him to become a director." (MSFF) FERNANDO MEIRELLES Otto Kylmälä / MSFF: "Fernando Meirelles (born 1955) is one of the globally leading filmmakers of post- Cinema Novo, ”retomada do cinema brasileiro” (the resurrection of Brazilian cinema). Having started his career with commercial films and television series just like Walter Salles, Meirelles is one of the most successful international directors in his country. Together these two directors constitute a continuum of filmmakers whose connection to new methods and forums relieves them from the load of national cinema and allows them to combine international methods of narration with Brazilian stories more freely." "Meirelles’s debut film was the humorous satire Domésticas, o filme (Maids, 2001) directed together with Nando Olival. It set the foundation for the director’s episode-style narration and adaptations based on literary sources. Set in the lively metropol of São Paulo and seasoned with Brazilian brega music, the play adaptation gave a voice to an otherwise invisible working class in a humane way." "After the debut, Meirelles rocketed to global awareness with his epic crime saga City of God (2002). Set in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, the film’s universe charmed its audiences with authentic and thrilling crime stories and achieved four well-deserved Oscar nominations, one of them for Best Director for Meirelles. City of God introduces us to Meirelles’s immensely rich toolbox: an extensive gallery of characters, solid visual style and nonlinear narration. The director received praise and glory along with references as the Tarantino of South America. Nowadays the film can inarguably be called a modern classic, and it has also given birth to a sequel in the form of a television series, City of Men (2002–2005) produced by Meirelles." "After the action-packed crime feast, Meirelles began to adapt works by masters of modern literature, such as John le Carré’s political and romantic thriller The Constant Gardener (2005). Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz (who won an Oscar for her role) both gave unforgettable performances in the intelligent and skilfully constructed thrill piece that gathered five Oscar nominations in total." "In 2008, Meirelles took on an interesting challenge by adapting Portuguese Nobel prize winner José Saramago’s novel Blindness (1995). The result was a film by the same name and a cast packed with international megastars. Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo and Gael García Bernal lead us to a world in which people fall ill with a mysterious condition that makes them blind. As the epidemic spreads, the blind people are quarantined, resulting in a dystopic human experiment in the spirit of Lord of the Flies." "Meirelles is currently working on The Pope, a film about the relations of the last two popes, but his most recent completed feature is 360 (2011). An international ensemble graces the free adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler’s play La Ronde, made in the footsteps of Max Ophuls and Alan Rudolph. It is a universal and edgy account of lust, shame and choices." "In 2016, Meirelles was given the national task of directing a televised 4-hour version of the opening ceremony at the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics. " Otto Kylmälä / MSFF to be continued FERNANDO MEIRELLES Fernando Meirelles (s. 1955) on Cinema Novon jälkeisen, ”retomada do cinemabrasileiron” (brasilialaisen elokuvan uudelleensyntymän) maailmanlaajuisia kärkitekijöitä. Walter Sallesin tapaan mainoselokuvissa ja tv-sarjoissa aloittanut Meirelles on yksi maansa kansainvälisesti menestyneimpiä ohjaajia. Yhdessä he muodostavat tekijäjatkumon, joka ei uusien metodien ja foorumien vuoksi ole ollut niin kiinni kansallisen elokuvan painolastissa, vaan vapaampi yhdistelemään kansainvälisiä kerrontapoja brasilialaisiin tarinoihin. Yhdessä Nando Olivalin kanssa ohjattu debyyttielokuva, humoristinen satiiri Domésticas, o filme (Maids, 2001) asetti perustan miehen episodimaiselle kerronnalle ja kirjallisiin lähteisiin pohjautuville sovituksille. Sao Paolon vilkkaaseen metropoliin sijoittuva ja brasilialaisella iskelmämusiikilla bregalla höystetty näytelmätekstin sovitus antoi humaanilla tavalla äänen muuten näkymättömälle työväenluokalle. Debyytin jälkeen Meirelles räjähti globaaliin tietoisuuteen eeppisellä rikossaagallaan Jumalan kaupunki (2002). Rio de Janeiron faveloihin sijoittuva universumi hurmasi yleisöt autenttisilla ja viihdyttävillä rikostarinoilla ja ylsi neljään ansaittuun Oscar-ehdokkuuteen, joista yksi kolahti Meirellesille ohjauksesta. Jumalan kaupunki esitteli Meirellesin tavattoman rikkaan työkalupakin: kookas hahmogalleria, vankka visuaalinen tyyli ja epälineaarinen kerronta. Kiitosta ja kultaa sateli taivaalta ja miestä suitsutettiin eteläamerikkalaiseksi Tarantinoksi. Nykyään elokuvaa voi kiistatta kutsua moderniksi klassikoksi ja se on poikinut jatko-osakseen Meirellesin tuottaman tv-sarjan City of Men (2002–2005). Menevän rikosrallin jälkeen Meirelles alkoi sovittaa nykykirjallisuuden mestareiden teoksia, kuten John le Carrén poliittinen rakkaustrilleri Uskollinen puutarhuri (2005). Ralph Fiennes ja roolistaan Oscarilla huomioitu Rachel Weisz tekivät molemmat muistettavat suoritukset tässä älykkäässä ja taidokkaasti rakennetussa jännityselokuvassa, joka keräsi viisi Oscar-ehdokkuutta. Vuonna 2008 Meirelles tarttui mielenkiintoiseen haasteeseen adaptoimalla portugalilaisen Nobel-voittaja José Saramagon kirjan Kertomus sokeudesta (1995). Tuloksena syntyi kansainvälisiä megatähtiä pursuavan kokoonpanon kanssa tehty Blindness (2008). Julianne Mooren, Mark Ruffalon ja Gael García Bernalin tähdittämä elokuva kuvaa maailmaa, jossa ihmiset sairastuvat mystiseen, heidät sokeiksi tekevään sairauteen. Epidemian levitessä sokeat suljetaan karanteeniin, josta seuraa dystooppinen Kärpästen herra -ihmiskoe. Ennen valmisteilla olevaa, katolisen kirkon kahden viimeisen paavin suhteista kertovaa The Popea ohjaajan tuorein pitkä elokuva, kansainvälisellä ensemblellä höystetty 360 (2011) on Max Ophulsin ja Alan Rudolphin jalanjäljissä tehty vapaa sovitus Arthur Schnitzlerin näytelmästä La Ronde (”Intohimojen karuselli”, 1920), joka kertoo universaalilla ja rosoisella tavalla himosta, häpeästä ja valinnoista. Vuonna 2016 Meirellesille suotiin kansallinen tehtävä ohjata Rio de Janeiron yli nelituntisen avajaisshow’n televisioversio. Otto Kylmälä

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