The City in Motion

CITY IN MOTION

Daily displacements

Images that fissure the idea of a center, narratives that tell stories of ordinary people that inhabit and activate the urban space, the place of the camera in the production of the quotidian flows and the sociocultural memory of Belo Horizonte. From the theme Daily displacements, The City in Motion Exhibition is, now in its 3rd edition, showing films about a pulsating city that presents, within its limits, a set of singularities that make visible other ways of being, living and surviving in a great metropolis.

By proposing this route through the images, the show causes, at least, three distinct forms of displacement of the spectator's gaze. First, the one that rethinks a certain model of fruition of the cinematographic image, valuing zero/low budget productions and innovating aesthetically and politically,independent filmmaking, and the production in mobile media as well, as the old saying of Glauber Rocha goes, "a camera in hand and an idea in the head". Second, the one that displaces stigmatized point-of-views about urban life, its places and its people: the camera that drifts through thecity’s street, which registers popular cultures, which denounces the various types of violence, which documents the cultural and political facts of our place and from it. Finally, the one that brings the viewer closer to the different places of speech that reverberate in the peripheral neighborhoods, in the social networks, in the artistic spaces, in the organized groups for their causes and in the support to the causes of others. Places seen in contemporary times, which face the oppressive and selective development of large metropolises, which speak through audiovisual production, thus constituting a cartography of cities, people, and their daily struggles.

Unlike previous editions that have highlighted the social, artistic and political movements of Belo Horizonte and its Metropolitan Region, this year’s The City in Motion Exhibition brings to the forefront something from daily life, from routine displacements, encounters, and friction experienced by the population in its relationship with the city. In the words of the French thinker Michel de Certeau, "escaping from the imaginary totalization of the gaze, there is a strangeness of daily life that does not come to the surface, or whose surface is only an advanced boundary, a boundary that stands out over what is visible[1]" In this sense, the films nominated for the 2018 festival bring forth nuances of this strangeness, letting something slip through us, something, however, that pass unnoticed by the frenetic movement of the city. If during the first and second edition, we focus on the emergent movements of the city, this time the highlight is the city in its constant, habitual movement, which keeps it alive, both from the point of view of its powers and in relation to its weaknesses. To what extent do such everyday displacements build the ways in which people relate in the city and the city? Starting from this issue, the exhibition was organized in five thematic sessions that invite us to think about and with the metropolis.

The first session, "The city and its multiples", shows films about the displacements that the city engenders, both territorial and symbolic. On the one hand, the session brings to light the powers provoked by these displacements, on the other, it makes visible the violence that the city produces in its processes of a territorial dispute. In the short film, BH is the Texas, the city is seen through its infinite limits: people flows, traffics, rallies, everyday rites of a space that goes beyond its geographically determined margins. In Urban Scenes short film, a gaze upon the city and shows us what is generally not seen. Marquinhos and Princesa narrates the daily life of a carter's relationship with his faithful squire, the struggle for the right to work, the friendships that they build wherever they go, the bonds of affection and care that demonstrate a traditional craft that resists among cars and stares that criminalize the practice. Favela in Diaspora documents residents of the Morro do Papagaio in their process of resistance against the expropriation of their houses, consequently, against the dismissal of their life histories. Finally, From Hand To Hand shows the trajectory of an artist who moves "from the ghettos" to the downtown of the metropolis with its pulsating music and an unusual way to value and distribute his work.

From the walk through the flows of the present, we return to the flashes of memory that the city opens to us. The "City and Memory" section brings films produced by new filmmakers from Belo Horizonte on historical events in Brazil and Latin America, as well as productions that show the marks that our city and its environment still carry on from the times of dictatorship and asylums. In the movie essay Video-letter, we relate to memory, the one that inscribes itself, that touches us, that surrounds us, that scares us. Those who travel to Confins airport cannot imagine what is behind the "Serra Verde Clinic" plaque, at the height of the Vespasiano municipality: the short film Sierra Green reveals traces of the asylum history in that place. Essential Memory oscillates between the recollection and the pain of remembrance in the face of historical facts of the Araguaia Guerrilla and the dictatorial period in Brazil. The short film Arara: A Film about a Surviving Film presents archive images of the teaching of torture to indigenous peoples during the military period, images of the graduation of the Rural Indigenous Guard in Belo Horizonte, produced by the indigenist Jesco Von Puttkamer in 1970. Against the dictatorship and asylums, against everything that imprisons and curtails the free right to come and go, the session is a response of the city to the dark times we are living.

From the bodies that fought in the old days, to the bodies that are thrown into the complexity of a plural existence amid the attempts of totalization of being. "Political Bodies" puts the ordinary lives of trans people, black women, women, and artists on the scene, opening space for these bodies to position themselves and to manifest themselves before the city, as they emerge from a common and singular daily life. Bodies that claim and point a place of speech to their way of being and to relate in the community, making visible their daily challenges and powers. In the fictional short Four Walls, Cristal Lopez, Ed Mars, Nath Rodrigues, Simone Ordones and Teuda Bara, figures of the artistic scene of Belo Horizonte, staged in the staircase of a building daily situations that cross the routine of any of us. In the film Rosa, the ordinary memory of three women. In We Define Ourselves by What We Do, the cross-dresser, singer and performer Titi Rivotril, records her daily life with a cellular device and puts us before the strategies of this body that resists and survives while enchants and attracts thousands of fans and followers.

In the "Events" section, other bodies are open to dialogue with the viewer through fiction films that translate women's issues - pregnancy, abortion - and the youth of our city. Situations experienced from the center to the periphery of the metropolis and that demand the displacement of generally crystallized glances so that these realities can show theirresignification. The short film Right After  the story of a tragic situation reported on TV, showing how the news reverberates through the streets of a neighborhood of the capital. In Misfortune, the problem of exclusion and social prejudice, unplanned pregnancy and crime that border the life stories of the city’s youth, are themes of a narrative that surprises us.

In a daily life flooded by intense flows and bodies that resist amidst the exclusions that the city creates, The City in Motion Exhibition screenings close the cycle with the session "Urban Quilombos", bringing together two films on different forms of organization of black people in the City. The first, a short film about the Black Monday – 2nd Season, an urban quilombo of the performing arts that agglomerates artists and black collectives, from theater dance and performance. The second, They always speak for us, a feature film that listens to women from the Luízes urban quilombo, a traditional community that has been resisting since 1985 in the region of Nova Lima, occupying a territory in the Grajaú neighborhood in 1930. From the fights for the speech’s place, to the daily life of these powerful agglomerations, the films emphasize the place of the black woman in the resistance, or also saying, their survival in of these universes.

In this brief foray into the flows, memories, spaces and bodies that inhabit the daily life of the city, we open a display window for productions that connect past and present, stories, and paths, characters, and events. Daily displacements and ordinary memories that lead the viewer to the singularities and multiplicities that vibrate in the avenues, streets, alleys, neighborhoods and dwellings of this great Belo Horizonte.

Paula Kimo
Curator of The City in Motion Exhibition