NOVOCINE
PT

21

SUNFISH 2011. PT. 31 min


a film by Basil da Cunha

Nuvem (Sunfish), a boy with a particular penchant for wandering and daydreaming, lives in the heart of Lisbon's Creole shantytown. In this neighborhood with the air of a courtyard of miracles, where old toothless fishermen and rappers cross paths, he is taken for the village fool. With little inclination to work, he enjoys the company of dogs and clowns. Faced with the indifference of the barmaid he's in love with and the disdain of his peers, Cloud turns to the search for the mysterious moonfish.




text by António Brito Guterres

On my trips to Rabuleira, there’s a before and an after 2011. If before, even as an outsider, I was just another anonymous person, after, whilst still in the same condition, I’m asked by those who live there if I’m going to meet Basil da Cunha. It’s not a surprising question. Anyone who follows the director’s career, in which Sunfish is the first major milestone in his cinema path and simulatenously in the Bairro, knows that almost everyone who lives there has been involved in at least one of Basil’s films. They’ve been actors, extras, producers. They have lent their coffee shops, houses, props. In the meantime, they’ve become production assistants, screenwriters, sound technicians.

An authentic training in context, only possible because the world that best defines Sunfish is commitment. And the noun is no stranger to the process and the result. This way, unlike the first cinematographic formulations in the self-built neighborhoods on the outskirts of Lisbon, there is no syndrome of discovering something exotic and earn a name through it. In Sunfish, the substance of desires and of a life of shared longings to every human being goes beyond the temptation of voyeurism that is usually common in the approach to these territories: a permanent documentation of the other. A hidden empathy, claimed by the film. Of course, a love story also portrays a reality and its setting. This is accepted. We have a reading of the role of men and women. We understand where and how young people live. We meet the local rappers. We hear the grinder, we glimpse professions, social scructure and various spatial appropriations.

Sunfish takes place in a territoriality built on resistance. This is possible in a country that continues to ignore some of its children, something that becomes palpable in Sunfish’ sequence, Black Cloud, where what has been collectively built is put at stake, threatened.

The State, embodied in the actions of the municipality, stirs up the entire universe of Rabulera’s residents, creating debate and ruptures. Collective organization through non-institutionalizable connections such as affections is a threat. It must be destroyed. At the cost of an alternative that doesn’t consider decent housing, neighborliness, or anything that can be shared; pushing everyone towards a certain end of the world.

For those who remain, the ruin remains as a daily reminder against the courage to resist.

Sunfish and Black Cloud are not black and white framed files. They are lives in color in an ongoing process of humanization.





director BASIL DA CUNHA script BASIL DA CUNHA, NELSON DUARTE, PEDRO DINIZ with TUNA, NELSON DUARTE, PEDRO DINIZ, MARLENE ALEXANDRA LOPES MONTEIRO director of photography JOSÉ PEREIRA sound FILIPE TAVARES editor JOSÉ NASCIMENTO music SÉRGIO RASTA, P. MACHINE, BITOLA production LUÍS URBANO, SANDRO AGUILAR