Lepanto - O Último Cangaceiro
Second chapter of the Mega Event's trilogy
At first it was named Lepanto and dealt with a man who lived in a Cappadocia cave drinking Coca Cola. Later we booked a flight from Madrid to Rio de Janeiro and I found myself in Brazil right before Christmas, on a small coach, direction Vidigal, one of the pacified favelas a step further Nyemeier road, connecting Leblon to Barra de Tijuca. Some weeks later I was in São Paulo to perimeter the giant construction yard of Itaquera, with Alessandra, Elton, and Yasmim and there we met Draci and Diana, discussing about the death of workers, occurred during the construction of Arena Corinthians stadium. This name sounding so Greek was another fascination point. An English club with the same name left this reference during a promotional tour at the beginning of the XX century. A Mediterranean legacy, as the location where the Battle of Lepanto took place in 1571. A series of coincidences.
Meanwhile in Rio de Janeiro the Universidade Indígena was under siege. For a miraculous timing we managed to be there during the last hours of resistance of Zè, perched on a branch of a giant tree, with firemen trying to let him down by force and a police squad, called Choque de Ordem, controlling the square in front of Maracanã, the biggest stadium in the World. The number of people that it can contain is not known for sure. I’ve heard of 200.000 people. One of the consequences of the World Cup is the partial privatization of the attached sport installations and we witnessed several demonstrations by athletes and militants of No Copa movement.
Then there was the Minotauro, a famous Brazilian boxer always advertised on the omnipresent screens of the technological invasion afflicting our cidade maravilhosa. Quem matou o Minotauro is a short story written in São Paulo, dealing with the fear of the unknown, the great pretext to build up dread and diversity. It tells that one day, our beloved Minotaur was eventually found dead inside the labyrinth, and how this piece of news made the visits to the labyrinth decrease, although they were considered to be very dangerous. The title remains in a photographic reportage that will be published together with the traditional documentary, which would be called Urgente Brasil, a modern homage to the great Brazilian authors of 1930s and their escapes to a modern, tropical, fantastic imagery. A magic flight above the emotions men and women feel during this rough existence, this constant wreck of our lives.
Urgente Brasil would have been just a second chapter, a repetition of The Golden Temple, maybe with some kind of unscientific worth for having proved that the dynamics of global invasion is a serial process, replicating itself in different contionents, as they were moons to conquer, exploit and leave by an unpredictable international elite hidden somewhere between Shanghai, Ginevra and New York. That is why I asked Mike to step in and together we realised what Freire calls the conscientização, the awareness of the word, the emancipation of the voice. The participation of Mike Wells from London becomes crucial. He puts at stake his life, his troubled relationship with Marie, who has followed us through the whole film realisation, at first, hosting us in London inside her Aden Grove fortress, from where we begin telling the story; then, joining us in Italy, looking for her partner, who is busy saving the world. “If you’re in a committed relationship, you just want your loved one to feel safe”. This protection and care vocabulary sounded perfect to me as a concrete and visceral narration machinery to deal with the world we live in, a world in which the mega event doesn’t worth more than the life of a single individual, taken in his urban conflict, in his competition to life, in his participation to the global body.
The final title of the film is Lepanto- O Último Cangaceiro, as the legendary, revolutionary bandits who fought against landowners between 1800 and 1940s. Portuguese language takes us in the theatre of the new battle, or maybe leads us to an unpredictable encounter to which we attend after crossing Niteroi bridge on Guanabara Bay. The resemblance of the vast desertic landscape and the enigmatic shape of the ocean is uncanny. Someone is coming, as the Buzzati’s Tartars, most likely from the vast ocean. Maybe new Turks, maybe FIFA, maybe IOC, maybe the invaders of globalization, maybe a new era we still don’t know, and luckily we never will.
The transformation into cangaceiro completes the endevour of the transcendence, representing the utmost peak of his global awareness, by bringing back a historic Brazilian character into our contemporary context, as in the pages by Guimarães Rosa on Grande Sertão.
Lepanto is a fairy tale, a spiel, as Germans would say, thence serious and severe, as all plays demand to be.
essay by Enrico Masi