Beduino ★★★½

This thoroughly playful feature-length experiment from Bressane scarcely has a narrative throughline (it continues the Brazilian marginal cinema tradition), yet it is clearly concerned with the transformation of the real into the cinematic. Specifically, it offers acts of poetry and aestheticization as self-justifying gestures. No grand unifying theory is offered nor needed here because the transition of profilmic event to cinematic one is such a miracle in its own right. In this sense, Beduino calls to mind dozens of precursors, from Michael Mann to Godard. Still, the strongest influence might be the impulse of the 1920s avant-garde to exploit the limits of the camera’s mechanical eye. Bressane asks here what happens to those experiments once the mechanisms of the kino-eye have changed in a postfilmic era. Limits and new opportunities provided by digital photography are explored here, while film stock haunts the narrative in the guise of what might be dream sequences. The real world nonetheless continually makes itself known and is continually transformed, whether by the use of silhouettes that refuse to photograph as fully black, maddeningly shallow depth of field effects, or framings that could have been taken from a surveillance camera.