PAGE 05: World Premiere: A Primeira Morte De Joana

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By Christal Ferrao

A Primeira Morte De Joana (The First Death of Joana) has its Gala World Premiere at the 51st edition of IFFI today, the 22nd of January. Directed by Christiane Oliveira from Brazil, the film is about a 13-year-old girl Joana (played by Leticia Kacperski) on a quest to know how it was possible for her great-grandaunt Rosa to die as a virgin at 70, without dating anyone. Through this investigation, she understands herself and the women in her family. “Every woman has a way to know and live her intimacy and sexuality and for Joana, being in her early teens, she was beginning to explore this,” Christiane said. 

Speaking about the concept of the film, Christiane told The Peacock that she heard a story about an old woman who died without dating. This inspired her to make The First Death of Joana. She said that South Brazil is known for its macho and cattle ragging culture. This masculinity is an oppression for women. It creates a scenario where young girls are humiliated at school due to the social expectations from the female gender. Isabela Bressane (who plays Joana’s friend Caroline) has experienced this humiliation as a schoolgirl. It hinders the development of women. Caroline subtly inspects and questions Joana about the hidden truth of her family. Joana does not want to hide and expresses herself without shame. She also teaches Caroline to be more expressive about her thoughts and feelings. The film charts the journey of two friends on their discovery of relationships and desires of sexual intimacy of woman from their past. The process of making the film took the actor on a path of self-discovery too. “I learnt a lot about myself; that I have a lot in common with my character Caroline. She is introspective and so am I,” Isabella who plays Caroline told The Peacock. 

This is the first time Christiane is in India to attend a film festival. “Important festivals were either cancelled or reduced to a smaller virtual one due to the pandemic. It is disturbing for us filmmakers as we cannot showcase our work on the big screen. Good films that need to see the light of the day are pushed under the carpet. I am very happy to begin 2021 with this premiere at IFFI with a physical screening at a cinema hall. It is an opportunity to meet people and know their perspective of the film. It is also a great moment as my husband Gustavo Galvao’s film We Still have the Deep Black Night (2019) was selected for screening along with mine. He is the associate producer of my film,” Christian said. 

Informing The Peacock about the challenges, Christian said that they were living in good times, making films that were well funded. It is difficult now as the new government has incorporated changes in the funding of films. She was fortunate though, to receive the funds before the changes. Besides, the film has been funded by Avon, the beauty product company. 

Her first feature film was Nalu on the Border (2017), a story set on the border of Brazil and Uruguay. It premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival. It won 18 awards at 21 national and international film festivals. This is her second feature film. She is currently in the process of making her third film titled, Until the Music is Over, a co-production with Italy. 

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