The 33rd Créteil International Film Festival Report 3

By Moira Sullivan
Teresa Villaverde

The 33rd Créteil International Film Festival which ran from March 23 to April 3 was topped off in the final days by a visit from Portuguese filmmaker Teresa Villaverde.  The filmmaker was present at the screenings of her work such as Mutantes and Transe. It is fair to say that Teresa Villaverde who became a filmmaker in her 20s is probably one of the best filmmakers in the world today. There is nothing random about the way Villaverde frames each scene in her films. Her creative use of the camera and editing  is a  brilliant picture language Her stories are concise and vivid and create emotional empathy without  forced manipulation.
In Mutantes, young Portuguese boys and girls with problems at home and with themselves are incarcerated in juvenile detention homes. They long for the love of their parents and their freedom but don’t know about boundaries without the foundation of a loving upbringing. They turn to each other to make up their lack. Some break out of the center to enjoy short lived freedom but life is so tough they eventually wind up coming back. 
Anna Moreira
Anna Moreira plays a tough girl who tries to make it on her own. She winds up getting pregnant and gives birth to the baby in a gas station toilet. Afterwards, shaking she walks inside to have a cup of coffee. The grimness of the lives of these youngsters is shot from a variety of perspectives that are visceral and brutal.
In Transe , Anna Moreira is back as a young Russian woman in a bleak narrative about human trafficking. When giant trees fall in the forest at a road stop for the young woman in transit, the beginning of the loss of self is profoundly foreshadowed. After the trees hit the ground, the images are blurred; this begins Sonia's (Ana Moreira) trance as a young victim of trafficking. Sonia is exposed to the most vicious degradation and loss of personal freedom one can experience. Trafficking is a huge problem today and young women are doubly at risk for being sex slaves but also illegal aliens and thereby are not free to speak out against their captivity.
Throughout the film one asks why does Sonia not resist? Why did she allow herself to be put in the trunk of a car because of a supposed raid by immigration authorities in Germany in a factory where she is temporarily working?  We witness the seduction and entrapment . Why does she not run? The loss of self is so complete in this film that it is difficult to watch. But it alerts us to the huge problem of trafficking today for young people. Is it a dream that Sonia envisions a young boy with a rifle in the room aiming at her, where she is forced to service buyers of sex? There are many facets of her trance to reconcile and Villaverde does not make this easy for us.
It was a privilege to meet the director at this festival. Here now is an exclusive interview with Teresa Villaverde.
For Movie Magazine this is Moira Sullivan Paris

© 2011 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 04/11/11
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