Langage : Portuguese
Duration : 104min or 86 min version
Subtitles : French / english
Date of production : 2015
Country of production : France/ Brazil
Script and/ Director of Photography : Raphaël Grisey
Production : Spectre Productions / Raphaël Grisey / Filmes de Quintal
Partners: Stiftung Kunstfond, Arbeitsstipendium 2012 / Institut Français, Bourse Hors les murs 2014 / Capacete entretenimentos / Filmes de Quintal

A quilombo, a community of descendants of former slaves, is about to be born, or rather to reacquire visibility, in a valley close by the town of Conceição do Mato Dentro, threatened by a multinational mining compagny. In the city of Belo Horizonte, real estate speculation is invading another quilombo, while the women of the community are valiantly fighting to preserve what remains and win back stolen lands through complex negociations with state institutions and anthropologist teams from the Minas Gerais University. In Chacrinha, the landscapes of the quilombo and its territories are marked by the ruins of the Fazenda and of the Senzala, by the floads of the polluted Paraopeba river and the tracks of the trains transporting mining materials from the Serra to the coast. The entanglement of plants, animals, humans and material activities in the quilombola ecosystem, develop its own language. Remanescentes is a documentary essay on the process of moving and ongoing remodelling quilombola identities, struggles and territories in Brazil. Through the assemblage of each of these quilombos´cosmos, the film propose a complex, descriptive as speculative gaze of what is and potentially could be a quilombo here and elsewhere.



About Remanescentes

The struggle of quilombolas for the recognition of their territory and the affirmation of their Afro-Brazilian culture is little known both in Brazil and in other countries.
In Brazil, frequently the only thing people know about the history of quilombos is the figure of Zumbi dos Palmares, a former slave who led an armed revolt in the 17th century against the colonial powers and founded the ‘marroon’ community of the dos Palmares quilombo. Outside of the country, the history of the resistance to slavery in Brazil is often resumed by the folkloric image of Capoeira.
Remanescentes shows the struggle of quilombolas in the context of both globalization and the capitalism at work in the countrysides and towns of the Minas Gerais region (in the film the quilombolas confront multinational mining companies searching for new terrain to exploit on the quilombolas’ traditional lands, or real estate speculation in an urban context.)
The quilombola struggles have been only slightly visible in recent times, much as they were in the past, both on a national and international scale, in the media as well as in the cinema.
After the release of Carlos Diegues’ controversial film Quilombo, an epic narrative about the dos Palmares quilombo made in the 1980s, and a few documentaries which touched on the racial question in Brazil, few films have directly treated the subject of quilombos. The representations of Black minorities and Afro-Brazilian culture in the media, film and television, are usually limited to musical and religious demonstrations and the repetition of the positivist myth of Brazilian racial democracy.
The obscuring of the history of struggles and practices specific to quilombola communities can be understood as the consequence of the ongoing process of marginalization and segregation of these populations, which has lasted for several centuries. And so the quilombos and their communities are often perceived of in the Brazilian imagination as an evocation of the past, disconnected from current events in today’s Brazil.
But invisibility has also served as an unsuspected political tool for the quilombolas themselves in the process of liberation, existence, survival, permanence and institutionalization of some of these communities. By remaining in the background and disappearing from the field of vision of the colonial power, they could endure. This has resulted in the development of quilombos in territories that are remote and difficult of access.

After the abolition of slavery, the quilombola revolt was for a long time confined to the local level and it is only recently that it has acquired the tools necessary to converge and organize on a national level, resonating with post-colonial currents of thought and to integrate those emanating from the African diaspora.
The decrees and laws of positive discrimination in favor of Afro-Brazilian minorities and indigenous populations, voted during the Lula administration in 2003, were fundamental in the displacement of the struggle for a judicial and penal plan onto a larger scale. Former demands and grievances were reformulated and new ones affirmed: the recognition of quilombola territories is one of them.
What remains of this strategy of invisibility? Is it still pertinent in the current process of political representation? How is autonomy and the self-representation of these communities redefined in this context? It is this quandary, this paradox, that Remanescentes tries to approach. The film evokes the quilombola communities in the present, even as it tries to sensitize viewers to the psychic, temporal and spatial amplitude of the movement in its globality. It tries to evoke what could be called a metaphysical quilombola, which would, in the first instance, be a metaphysics of liberation, which obviously is essential to the history of the fight against slavery, but also defends and circulates differentiated systems of values, relations to the world and social organization.
And finally, Remanescentes evokes the complexity of internal struggles (generational, communal and for identity) as well as external (territorial), the diversity of the actors and points of view involved (the quilombolas, anthropologists, NGOs, the State, the justice system), variations of thought and the quilombola heritage in both cities and countryside.

The project which resulted in Remanescentes, both the film and the exhibition installation, are part of Raphaël Grisey’s artistic and documentary process, centered on the place of images in the post-colonial history of the African diaspora (Cf: Cooperative) and his other research in Brazil over the past several years (Minhocão, A mãe, Amor e progresso).


[english PDF]



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