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  • Jennifer Green

Review: "Pictures of Ghosts"

A love letter to the Brazilian city of Recife as well as to cinemas and urban centers of a bygone era, Pictures of Ghosts is an intelligent documentary with relatively limited audience appeal. Brazil’s sensible nominee to the International Feature Film Oscar, it premiered in Special Screenings at Cannes and offers an evocative exploration of the nation’s own cinema history and golden age of movie theaters. Though some of its themes could be applied to cities all over the world, this documentary is likely to hold the most interest for local and cinephile audiences.

Director Kleber Mendonça Filho calls the film his own “personal album,” and it is indeed filled with footage and still images from his own life and previous movies. He also weaves in a significant amount of archive footage, moving back and forth between time periods, and between fiction and reality. This seems to symbolize one of the themes of the documentary, how life and cinema interact and inform each other, themes he touches on repeatedly in his gentle voiceover narration, creating his own oral history.


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Image courtesy of Grasshopper Film.


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