Elisa is a young Brazilian woman living with her family, a situation that can be expected to provoke the kind of conflict between father and daughter. When she denies her father’s desire to marry the man of her father’s choice and becomes pregnant by the man she truly loves, the family structure is destroyed. Her father took her to a mental hospital where she was subjected to humiliating torture, along with her fellow “patients”.
It was part of a “mental health” system based primarily on ignorance.
“The system of psychiatric hospitals in Brazil,” explains Andre Ristam, director of Hospicio Colonia, which began in the early 1900s, tried to create a structure that could have psychiatric patients and they were only perceived as caregivers, and criminals. No.
He added: “However, over the years, the system has deteriorated and in many cases it has become a much worse place than a prison, where people were sent with a certificate from any doctor and in many cases were forgotten there forever. ”
Although the film, in fact, documents the past, it is a fictional entertainment of a personal story that speaks to the fundamental cruelty of the system and its devastating effects on individuals. Talked to Ristom Diversity Such a picture is displayed in the pick-in-post competition in Guadalajara Construa.
It turns out that there are various documents and other physical records and evidence regarding the facilities in Brazil as shown in your picture. What did you decide on a fictional presentation instead of a documentary?
All existing materials, such as photographic records, documentaries made at the time, newspaper articles, books, were served for our research and were a great source of inspiration. But when I came in contact with this story, the idea of reconstructing this story fictionally, although it was a big challenge, I thought it would bring a new level, which already existed and was very well researched, and for this reason I fictionalized I chose entertainment.
I just read that the story is also a TV series. Which came first: ideas for movies or TV series? How did you convert from episodic to feature-length? What kind of question of character development, comes to this kind of passage?
The series and the film were born at the same time, a two-pronged project. My co-producer Rodrigo Castella from TC Films and I have seen from the beginning that there is potential in both formats. We thought daily shooting about the series and movie scripts in the best way possible and we shot material for both projects at the same time, which has a strong intersection. In the series, we want to explore the colony universe in a larger way, while in the film we dedicate ourselves more deeply to the story of Elisa.
Do you have any idea how such a horrible system developed in Brazil? Oddly enough, this has happened in many countries. One of the reasons the girl’s father sent her there was moral, I think. And that morality stems from the Catholic Church. But you don’t raise a finger. Have you made a conscious decision not to do it?
The system of these psychiatric hospitals in Brazil began in the early 1900s, seeking to create a structure that could have psychiatric patients, and they were understood only as caring persons, not criminals. Over the years, however, the system has deteriorated, and in many cases it has become a much worse place than a prison, where people were sent with a certificate from any doctor and in many cases were forgotten there forever. The narrative of the film is intended to show this patriarchal, conservative, sexist and racist society, which has dealt with its undesirable in this way for decades. The Brazilian church has always been very conservative, and this certainly influenced the birth of these traits.
Will this picture shock the Brazilian public? Did the TV series push them? When I was there, there was a TV series with a character who was deciding whether or not to have an abortion. Before he made his decision, the screen went black and the show was over. Is Brazilian TV a big influence on social issues?
After its release, the series actually had a strong impact on public opinion, as it is a very sad and little known story. The film, when released, will reach other audiences, and the descriptive cut will certainly have a big impact, perhaps even bigger than the series due to its focus on Elisa’s trajectory.
In Brazil, television still has an important social function, bringing its current problems to a large population through its series and soap operas. Brazil hides under its dirty carpet, so it is essential to talk about these painful things.
You have done a lot of work in different formats, i.e. short film, TV, feature. Do you prefer one over the other?
I like to tell stories through audiovisuals regardless of format. Whether the entertainment is short, long or serial, I find joy in getting into people’s problems, getting into them. And I believe that each of them has their value, because with each cut you choose, it is possible to find a way to point out the problems that are being portrayed.