Director : Joao Moreira Salles
(I’ll provide a transcript for this opening dialogue as soon as possible people!)
Ok, as Santiago is the cinematic equivalent of bi-polar and Im feeling apporopraitely blue, I thought now is a good a time as any to review it. So join me Captain Whimsical as we hop aboard the good ship Melancholly and sail off into the Ocean of Tears. (??) Seriously - its not that bad but there is something about this documentary which does knock the wind out of your sails. Its like film-faux-pas -
One is not supposed to give voiceovers confessing one’s mishandling of one’s subject dontchknow Mr Salles.
Nor is one supposed to entice an audience into re-evaluating the authenticity of images that claim to be captured in documentaries.
Nor is one supposed to have regrets.
Nor is one supposed to suggest that life is essentially one big fat disappintment.
But all of the above is present, more than present, its laid flat-out bare. More than flat-out bare, its punching you in the belly whilst poking you in the eye. And if a problem shared is one halved, then you certainly feel the emotional weight of Salles’s regret by the end of the film.
So rather than talk about the narrative as it were, I’ll just do a quick run down of what you need to know in terms of the context of this documntary which is pivotal in being able to empathise with the director and his subject.
Santiago as a film project was a continous non-starter - interviews began well into the subjects retirement, filming and editing spanned something like 8 years I think, within which time the subject died.
The subject himself was the director’s family´s former butler - Santiago.
The Salles family were - for a time - one of the richest in Brazil.
Santiago was a man whose life was consumed by his obssesssion with aritstocracy and nobility; his life’s work - in addition to being butler -was 30,000 typed pages of the history of every noble family, dynasty and aristocracy before and after Christ, in the world.
Whats more, the photography is absolutely captivating in black and white; really exquisite and most appropriate for reflective hue which permeates throughout the film; as a work of art, Santiago has the capacity to change the way you look at life. Now, if that isn’t enough to intrigue you, then you’ve got less heart than Tinman!
Go find! It’s avaiable with subtitles through Amazon!
By the way, I’ve decided to post an interview with Salles, its perfectly bit-size and definately worth three minutes of your time.
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