Hamburg Filmfest 2014 Review: AUGUST WINDS Gets Your Whole Body Covered In Coca-Cola

Contributor; Austria
Hamburg Filmfest 2014 Review: AUGUST WINDS Gets Your Whole Body Covered In Coca-Cola
Gabriel Mascaro's August Winds (Ventos de Agosto) is a love-dance of life and death. With a remarkable background in documentary filmmaking, the Brazilian Mascaro combines an observational nonfiction-styled movement and a poetical reflection on age, youth, flesh, and memory.

There is no linear story told by the film. Instead a series of beautiful glimpses unfolds. One observes a young couple, Shirley and Jeison. She is young, sultry and hungry for life. When she is not working, making love, or thinking about making tattoos, she cares for her grandmother. In a scene full of sensual power and humour -- aspects that are true for the film as such -- she puts on some unusual lotion: Coca-Cola.

Jeison, on the contrary, is fascinated by death. He does not want to change life nor preserve it. He searches for the mysteries of death and finds them in nature. This is also why he is drawn to the sea, where he dives in search of beautiful treasures and dead people.

The region in Northern Brazil where the film takes place is filmed in stunning images of pleasure. Mascaro sometimes forgets that a banal shot here and there could add either to the beauty or help the viewer to acknowledge the contemplative mysteries of nature and work.

Nevertheless, a strange effect occurs with all those beauty-shots that makes one listen to the images. Some funny moments scatter the patience of the repetitive life. There is something in-between; one can sense it though it is never spoken of. Therefore, not only due to the avoidance of too much dialogue, a closeness to Lisandro Alonso's ongoing search for South American souls cannot be dismissed.

We watch people climbing on trees, Shirley and Jeison making love in a heap of coconuts, and a sound guy who records the wind until the sea takes him and his sound. Nature is its own character. Take, for example, the sea: It is a murderer, an employer, a femme fatale.

The film is full of secrets and it works like a summer breeze. One thinks one knows how it feels but every time one watches and listens, it feels slightly different. Then a cut arrives and everything changes. A thunderstorm is approaching. The love-dance of life and death is also one of future and present. Thus August Winds is also a film about time, a time to live and a time to die.
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