Latin Wave Film Festival
In Craft, film-within-a-film examines the search for fame
Since the film, which is being shown at the Latin Wave Film Festival Sunday, deals with the tribulations and humiliations an unknown actress faces while trying to pursue her “craft” of acting, you might think that the film is unusually personal. Like her character, Karine Teles has worked less-than-stellar jobs, touting new beauty salons, doing impersonations at birthday parties, etc.
But in an interview Pizzi shifts the attention from the personal to the universal. “Yes, we talk about ourselves (in the film), and about our friends, who go through these things as well.” By “these things” he means the tension between doing what you love and paying the bills.
“But we’re lucky that these are things that people feel everywhere. L.A., New York. Austin. I don’t know Houston very well, but I believe it happens here too.” He shrugs. “So many talented people give up because they don’t get chances.”
In the film, Bianca (Teles) appears to be on the verge of her big break. She’s auditioned for a film being made by a Brazilian auteur who divides his time between Rio and Paris, don’t you know. He thinks she’s perfect for his new film, a French-Brazilian co-production, and even rewrites the character to fit Bianca better.
The film is so convincing, and Teles is so appealing, that for a time you feel like you’re watching a realistically-made fairy tale, where the princess’ wish will come true. So when reality intrudes, and Bianca learns that the French co-producer doesn’t see eye-to-eye with the director when it comes to casting, the effect is surprisingly painful.
The end of the film is ambiguous. The film-within-the-film, the one that was supposed to be about Bianca, is still being shot in Rio. When the French actress does her Carmen Miranda fantasy, we see that Bianca is one of the prop-waving extras. Does her appearance as an extra here signal that she’s given up, and accepted the fact that she’ll never be the star of an international co-production? Or is this just the latest setback among many, and she’ll be back to fight another day? The look on her face can be read either way—though Pizzi believes she hasn’t given up.
“Others think she gives up, but I think she goes on. She’s a fighter.”
The film appeared at the recent SXSW, and Pizzi still seems taken aback by its reception. “People really understood it. It was even better than the reaction in the Rio Film Festival,” where Teles was named Best Actress.
It’s difficult for Brazilian films to find distribution in Brazil, but Riscado was picked up after the Rio festival. “People were going to the national distributors and telling them they had to distribute this film.”
So perhaps Teles’ career will have a happy ending after all.