SANEAMENTO BÁSICO, O FILME (Basic Sanitation, The Movie)

(Super-16/35 mm, 112 min, color, 2007)
(Aspect ratio 1.85, Analog sound Dolby SR, Digital sound Dolby)

In the small town of Linha Cristal, the community gets together to have a sewerage system built and the creek’s smell problem solved. Marina, the movement leader, learns that this year the City Hall has funds only for the making of a fiction short video. Then, she and her husband, Joaquim, decide to shoot a story about a monster that emerges in the middle of the sanitation construction works. Marina writes a script, Joaquim sews a costume, Silene accepts to be an actress, Fabrício has a camera. Gradually, the filmmaking will involve all the local inhabitants.

 Wagner Moura e Fernanda Torres
Picture by Leopoldo Plentz: Wagner Moura and Fernanda Torres

Screenplay and Direction by: Jorge Furtado

Executive Production by
: Nora Goulart and Luciana Tomasi
Cinematography by: Jacob Solitrenick
Art Direction by: Fiapo Barth
Costume Design by: Rosângela Cortinhas
Sound Recordist: Rafael Rodrigues
Original Music by: Leo Henkin
Film Editing by: Giba Assis Brasil
Sound Mixer: José Luiz Sasso

A Casa de Cinema de Porto Alegre Production

Main Cast
Fernanda Torres (Marina)
Wagner Moura (Joaquim)
Camila Pitanga (Silene)
Bruno Garcia (Fabrício)
Janaína Kremer (Marcela)
Lázaro Ramos (Zico)
Tonico Pereira (Antônio)
Paulo José (Otaviano)


Newspaper reviews

"BASIC SANITATION, THE MOVIE should be compulsorily exhibited at Cinema schools, because of its plot, which reveals and demystifies the production of a cinematographic work in a funny and inspired way. It also should be an example to (settled-down) old-school Brazilian directors, who do not give the necessary attention to their scripts (Achilles’ heel of the national cinematography). The film has brilliant moments, fruits of the great script and of the (again) magnificent direction, both by Jorge Furtado."
(Daniel Levi, O Globo Online, 07/19/2007)

"Furtado has always been interested in dramaturgical forms that are, at the same time, sophisticated and communicative. Also recurrent in his filmography is the search for a contemporary format to update consecrated formulae. And here, more than in any of his other films, the ‘story’ is a mere pretext; much more important is the ‘hypertext’, that turns the narrative elaboration itself into a character.”
(Pedro Butcher, Folha de São Paulo, 07/20/2007)

"Basic Sanitation is the combination of a first-rate cast, a creative script, and an always necessary punch against the paradox which Brazil is, using the best of the weapons: laughter."
(Franthiesco Ballerini, Jornal da Tarde, São Paulo, 07/20/2007)

"With lots of irony, Furtado makes a film whose focus is exactly the complex process of making a film. From the script to the editing, including the sponsorship and casting, all the stages are there. And, in this case, the plot also serves as a backdrop to provoke the good old ‘Brazilian way’, the improvisations of the government, of the population, and even of cinema itself.”
(Leticia de Castro, Folha de São Paulo, 07/23/2007 - Folhateen)

"An elaborate metaphor for the influence of art on our lives. Jorge Furtado takes a ride on the 'commedia dell'arte (whose remarkable characteristic is improvisation) to make a delightful production. With a lot of subtleness, the comedy allows the filmmaker to hide scathing remarks inside the clever dialogues. Not to mention, of course, the majestic performances of all the cast, which makes Basic Sanitation one of the most inventive films of our recent cinematography.”
(Cristiano Luiz Freitas, Gazeta do Povo, Curitiba, 07/23/2007)

"When Joaquim complains that the script is full of sentences impossible to be shot, Marina says she just “padded it out”, because the edict said it had to have at least 10 pages. And the script was good for nothing, but to get the money, a cynical joke, recurrent among filmmakers who, when in search for official money, or applying for public funding, are obliged to submit scripts which they do not have the least intention of following, in case they shoot it some day."
(Luiz Zanin, O Estado de São Paulo, 07/25/2007)

"The jokes allowed by the ineptitude of those who tell that story about a monster spawned by pollution get dangerously close to television humor, but the maneuver executed by the filmmaker, by exploring the contrast between that quartet’s daily life and the fiction they perform, especially in the fiction film’s first sequence, which is repeated several times, ends up in an appreciable effect. And there are three scenes that could serve as a lesson to some national filmmakers on how to employ music in cinema. They are: the two old friends’ recollections; the farewell to the motorcycle; and the discovery of the beauty of the protagonist of the film inserted in Basic Sanitation. This last sequence also synthesizes, in a message ironically put, the film’s proposition."
(Hélio Nascimento, Jornal do Comércio, 07/27/2007)

"With these exaggerated characters, Furtado shows the so-called cinema’s universal charms, a cinema that can make you cry, laugh, wonder, or revolt, whether it is in a comedy like BASIC SANITATION, THE MOVIE, or in a B movie like 'The cesspool monster’, the film within the film. As Tonico Pereira’s character says: ‘This is cinema, this is not for real’.”
(André Miranda, O Globo, 08/11/2007)

"Furtado outdoes himself in the meta-language. It is delightful to follow the construction of the short film written and directed by Marina (Torres). Starting from scratch (she does not even know the meaning of the word ‘fiction’), little by little she intuitively learns the processes of filmmaking by the trial-and-error method. Just like what would happen with the ordinary audience if it were in those people’s shoes. That is why the identification between the audience and the characters is so immediate.”
(Doris Miranda, Correio da Bahia, 08/24/2007)

"The difficulty of understanding Furtado’s cinema is to a certain degree due to the unusual combination that guides a significant part of his films: an amusing, light form associated with a serious, sharp content. The filmmakers’ language has shown this peculiarity since his first short films, especially Island of Flowers, from 1989. Almost 20 years have passed, through which Furtado has consolidated an extremely personal style. Yet, there are some who judge his films as entertainment only, sticking to the form’s light and inviting surface, and dismissing the weight and the amplitude of the questions embedded in it."
(Luciana Paiva Coronel, Zero Hora, 08/25/2007)

"Beyond the criticism, BASIC SANITATION - O FILME is a warm declaration of love for fiction – not necessarily for the scientific one, of course. Furtado sensitively shows the alluring power of story-telling and of cinema, capable of mobilizing people who are the most resistant to it, and of thriving under adverse conditions and in remote places, evoking the primacy of imagination, even when reality imposes its necessities – such as basic sanitation."
(Roger Lerina, Zero Hora, 08/27/2007)

Magazine reviews

"The backdrop question in BASIC SANITATION, THE MOVIE is: should cinema be a priority in a country with so many and so big deprivations? To Furtado, the answer is ‘yes, the country’s cultural and structural issues must be attacked all at once’. However, the film’s strength comes less from politics than from comedy, from the mistakes the amateurs make in their first cinematographic experience, some of them not very different from the ones made by professionals."
(Ricardo Calil, BRAVO Magazine, July/2007)

"New Jorge Furtado’s work (...) is funny as few other recent Brazilian titles have been able to be. In addition, it charmingly defends the national cinema, which, here and there, is regarded as something minor, when not useless. Furtado, a skillful writer, a screenwriter for Globo TV, deals with the weaknesses of his own craft in order to – not without contradictions – value it."
(Ana Paula Sousa, CARTA CAPITAL Magazine, 07/16/2007)

Jorge Furtado’s feature films have never lacked humor. In BASIC SANITATION, THE MOVIE, to open nationally on the 20th, the joke gets a political face. In the story, the inhabitants of a village demand the construction of a sewerage system, but there are not any funds for it. However, there are funds available for a film. The family formed by Fernanda Torres, Wagner Moura, Camila Pitanga, and Bruno Garcia gets together to make a video and use the money for the construction works. What starts as a criticism against the distribution of resources ends as a declaration of love for cinema, because, to Furtado, films are as well indispensable.
(Ivan Cláudio, ISTO É Magazine, 07/18/2007)

Internet Reviews

"In the middle of everything, the director comments on public funding for culture. Through the film, Furtado admits that there are distortions in the system. His characters question all the time: how can the government give money to cinema while people barely have a sewer? However, as Basic Sanitation, the Movie unfurls, the characters/filmmakers learn the value of what they are creating. It is not something tangible, that you can put on an accounting sheet, but a symbolic, emotional, value. And it is from that incalculable wealth that good cinema is made."
(Marcelo Hessel, OMELETE, 07/19/2007)

"BASIC SANITATION, THE MOVIE is a slender comedy, ludic to the right degree, without ever losing tenderness. Beautiful are the moments when humor makes room, at the right moment, for poetry. The scene in which Wagner Moura’s character rides his old motorcycle at the sound of a romantic Italian song (the soundtrack is full of them) is magnificent. A find, among many others, in this Furtado’s honest work."
(Rubens Araújo, COMUNIWEB, 07/19/2007)

"BASIC SANITATION, THE MOVIE is fun and quality guaranteed. Jorge Furtado keeps showing why he is one of the great Brazilian filmmakers. ‘If you have to do, you’d better do it well’, says the film’s slogan, in reference to the challenge posed to the story’s characters. And fortunately this is an example of our very well-done cinema."
(Emilio Franco Jr., Cine Players, 07/19/2007)

"The humor with which Jorge Furtado treats jokes like this imparts truth to BASIC SANITATION, THE MOVIE. There is nothing like laughing at a passion to make sure there will be a critical vision on it. As a side effect, the relationship between the movie and cinema itself can be seen from two distinct points of view. To the lay audience, there will still be the good jokes about thrash movies, about the actors’ ego, about the industry’s vices, about the mistakes of public policies. Those who follow the thought about art, however, will notice some echoes of thinkers like Adorno or Benjamin in the film, in an uncommon alliance between comedy and philosophy, which, while entertains the public, it trains its critical eye."
(Marcello Castilho Avellar, DIVIRTA-SE, Belo Horizonte, 07/20/2007)

"Besides from being a delightful comedy, the characters share strong and warm ties of affection. (...) It is also fascinating the way everybody gets involved in the production of the video. If in the beginning they did not have a clue about what a fiction movie was, for instance, as the process evolves they are captivated by the art of making films. With a humor at the same time candid and extremely sagacious, BASIC SANITATION, THE MOVIE is the most mature film of Furtado’s career."
(Angélica Bito, Yahoo Cinema, 07/20/2007)

"The fundamental and most amusing things in Basic Sanitation are the critical remarks and the ironies about the national cinema. (...) The final scene, in which people discuss about what happened to the funds designed for the sewer, is the apex of this tragicomedy and makes us want to cry – at least those of us who work in the cultural industry. After having taken the audience to that point in a gentle and almost naive way, here Jorge finally stabs us. An intensely political comedy."
(Maria Silvia Camargo, Crí, 07/31/2007)

"The film also brings another of Furtado’s traits, which is the richness of dialogues and scenes, especially when they convey the most ordinary issues, like a couple’s argument about mycosis, or when they take their pills together. In the same proportion, the director inserts unusual erudition such as the scene in which Silene recites a poem about the hair. Everything turns into an authorial and communicative play. This same playful atmosphere reflects well on the excellent synergy between the actors, and a great part of the humor can only be achieved because of it – which reminds us that Basic Sanitation is another production of Casa de Cinema, a group united for 20 years, that has not had to leave Porto Alegre (which also becomes a joke in the movie) to produce its short and feature films."
(Lila Foster, Revista Cinética, 08/03/2007)

"If, on one hand, at some moments Furtado seems to be praising a naïve and candid cinema (as in a pre-technique stage), or a creational ‘anything-goes’ beyond any criticism (everybody should make films, whatever they be), on the other hand, there is the stimulus for the passion for artistic creation before anything else. And, perhaps even more important, the incentive for it to manifest anywhere: in a big city or in a remote community. Because this is what a people’s artistic health depends on (beyond the rubric ‘culture’): the multiplicity and diversity of everything that is not ordinary, but personal, inventive, and passionate."
(Tatiana Monassa, Contracampo, August/2007)