A Voz e o Vazio: A Vez de Vassourinha | 1998

Carlos Adriano
Translated by: 

Simply put, Carlos Adriano’s A Voz e o Vazio: A Vez de Vassourinha (1998) stands in the ranks as one of the most important experimental works of cinema to come out of Brazil in the last 25 years. Adriano’s position as the country’s eminent found-footage filmmaker was solidified with his previous film, Remainiscences (1997), in which he rephotographs what is allegedly the first cinematographic footage to be shot in Brazil, — 11 frames of the waves hitting a pier, captured by Cunha Salles in 1897 — and transforms the material into a cornucopia of light and flicker, illustrating the sea changes in technique and metaphysical condition that cinema had gone through within the twentieth century. Vassourinha approaches the question of the archive with an opposite methodology, collecting and projecting as many different materials centered around one figure as Adriano could find, to compose a work that intensely reconstructs the short period of time lived by Mário de Oliveira Ramos, the sambista known as Vassourinha prior to his death in 1942 at the age of 19. A very popular musician in his own time, Vassourinha fell victim to what many have described as Brazil’s short cultural memory, as he became quickly forgotten after his passing. Vassourinha is thus not an act of mourning, but one of resurrection, where Adriano imbues these images and sounds with renewed life through montage, arranged under the twin poles of cinema and samba.