In Agreste, a dry, poor region in north-eastern Brazil, lies the city of Toritama with its 40,000 inhabitants. About 20 million pairs of jeans are produced and finished here annually, resulting in the town being known as the ‘capital of jeans’. In addition to the gigantic textile factories, some of the town’s inhabitants have founded so-called ‘factiones’ in garages and backyards where they work independently as small-business entrepreneurs and organise the workload themselves.
Marcelo Gomez’s film paints a picture of a town where the majority of inhabitants live from the jeans business and where the sewing machines never seem to stand still, even for a moment. Only during carnival season does the city feel like a ghost town, for this is the time when almost everyone goes to the coast for a few days. Some even sell their fridges or television sets to finance this trip. Shot in largely static, observational images and with a rich soundscape, this film not only documents the lives and work, dreams and desires of the protagonists – it also uses this microcosm to depict the excesses of modern-day capitalism and shows ways in which they can be overcome.
Documentary form86’ · Colour
Born in Recife, Brazil in 1962, he founded a film club in his home town at an early age. Whilst studying at the University of Bristol, he directed a number of award-winning short films. His feature debut, Cinema, Aspirinas e Urubus, screened at Cannes in 2005. He co-directed the feature Viajo Porque Preciso, Volto Porque Te Amo with Karim Aïnouz and O Homem das Multidões with Cao Guimarães, the latter screening in Panorama in 2014. His feature film Joaquim screened in the 2017 Berlinale Competition.Filmography (selection)
2005 Cinema, Aspirinas e Urubus (Cinema, Aspirins and Vultures) 2009 Viajo Porque Preciso, Volto Porque Te Amo (I Travel Because I Have to, I Come Back Because I Love You); co-director: Karim Ainouz 2012 Era Uma Vez Eu, Verônica (Once Upon a Time Was I, Verônica) 2013 O Homem das Multidões (The Man of The Crowd); co-director: Cao Guimarães, Panorama 2017 Joaquim; Wettbewerb
Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2019