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Santiago

João Moreira Salles
Brasil 2007 / 80’

Santiago is a story about a beloved butler. No, that won't do: Santiago follows a man from Buenos Aires who dances, plays castanets and piano, arranges flowers to perfection, recites poetry that reflects his life. That doesn't sound right either: Santiago depicts someone who spends his life documenting the lives of the world's aristocrats, amassing more than 30,000 pages of notes. Inspired visually by Ozu, documentarian João Moreira Salles (brother of Walter, the director of The Motorcycle Diaries) started making this film about the servant that most inspired his childhood in 1992, but was ultimately frustrated in attempting to edit the gorgeously photographed material together. In the interim, his subsequent work including News from a Private War, Entreatos and Nelson Freire - has brought Salles to the forefront of Brazil's burgeoning documentary scene. Thirteen years later and long after Santiago's death, he returns to the footage to discover how the process of documenting a most personal memory leaves the filmmaker as caught on screen as his subject.

Jeffrey Middents, FF Tribeca 2007

João Moreira Salles a documentary filmmaker, was born in 1962 in Rio de Janeiro. In 1987 he directed his first movie China, The Empire of the Center. Together with Katia Lund, he directed News of a Personal War, about urban violence in Brazil. In 2002, João Salles directed Nelson Freire, his first documentary for cinema. In 2004, he launched Intermissions a behind-the-scenes look at the election of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazilian president. His last film up today, Santiago, was screened at many international festivals.

Filmography:

1987 China, The Empire of the Center (dok. / doc.)

1989 América (dok. / doc.)

1990 Blues (dok. / doc.)

1998 Somos Todos Filhos de Terra (dok. / doc.)

1999 Notícias de uma Guerra Particular / News of a Personal War (dok. / doc.)

2002 Nelson Freire (dok. / doc.)

2004 Entreatos / Intermissions (dok. / doc.)

2007 Santiago (dok. / doc.)

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