The New Europe competition contender The Dead and The Others offers a unique insight into the life of the Krahô Indian tribe. “I’ve been working in that community since 2009. We’re trying to map the local customs and the stories of the elders so we can preserve them for future generations. While listening to them it struck me that they could be turned into a film and so reach a different audience,” said Brazilian director Renée Nader Messora, explaining the project’s origins.
She made her debut, which straddles documentary and fiction, with João Salaviza, whom she had helped to make his film Montanha. “During the shoot for Montanha it was so intense that for three months we couldn’t go for a beer with friends or to the doctor. We wanted to shoot this film while also living. Filming should be a pleasure,” the director said during a Q&A.
The Dead and the Others came about naturally, free of time pressures. “We shot for nine months on 16mm film so as to respect the natural rhythm of the life of the tribe. People said we were crazy when we set off for the jungle. But the shoot was simple – the whole community helped us,” said Messora. However, working with non-actors did have drawbacks. “We don’t speak their language and it sometimes happened that we only later discovered that a scene we’d shot didn’t contain some important information, so we had to shoot it again differently.”