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Happy Desert

Paulo Caldas
Brasil, Germany 2007 / 92’

Jéssica is 16-years-old and lives with her mother Maria and her step-father Biu in a village on the São Francisco River in eastern Brazil. Bui works at one of the vineyards that have sprung up on the other side of the river. Thanks to the vineyard's irrigation system, the whole valley is booming. This prosperity has not had much effect on Jéssica's family. Biu earns a bit of extra cash with the illegal sale of rare wild animals. As for Jéssica, her life revolves around school; her afternoons are spent with her mother and her girlfriends. But then, one day, Jéssica is raped by Biu. Maria urges her not to report the crime to the police. All at once, Jéssica's intact world is in ruins. She feels just like one of the armadillos that Biu slings into the backyard after his hunt. Like so many girls who suffer a similar fate, Jéssica starts working as a prostitute.

IFF Berlin 2007


The first element that drove me to make this movie was the sensation of weakness that I felt when being exposed to the drama of sexual tourism with underaged girls on a daily basis. Literally I was watching at a distance, although very close, this brutal and extremely violent reality, and of course the only instrument I had to show people my revolt was putting that on film. As far as cinema language is concerned, my first film is a fiction about a man doing a

documentary. My second film is a documentary shot like a narrative feature. In Deserto Feliz, my third film, I have attempted to put together these two previous experiences using the syntax of a run and gun documentary to portray a real story that we've created from scratch. Personally I am very happy with the strength that these combined shooting styles gave to the film and in a very sensitive way we achieved our main goal: telling a complex psychological story within a very simple framework.

Paulo Caldas

Paulo Caldas was born in João Pessoa in 1964. He is working for over than 20 years as director and scriptwriter, including for TV programs, advertisings, and music videos. Among his shorts are O Bandido da Sétima Luz and Chá. In 1997 he co-directed his first feature, Perfumed Ball, along with Lírio Ferreira. In 2000, he released his first solo-directing film, the documentary The Little Prince's Rap Against the Wicked Souls. He was one of the scriptwriters in Cinema, Aspirins and Vultures.


1983 Morte no Capibaribe

1985 Nem Tudo São Flores

1987 O Bandido da Sétima Luz (kr.m. / short)

1985 Chá (kr.m. / short)

1992 Opera Cola (dok. / doc.)

1997 Perfumowany bal / Baile Perfumado / Perfumed Ball (współreż. / co-dir.)

2000 Rap małego księcia / O Rap do Pequeno Príncipe contra as Almas Sebosas / The Little Prince's Rap Against The Wicked Souls (dok. / doc)

2007 Deserto Feliz / Happy Desert

2008 Amor Sujo

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