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Double channel, HD video, colour, sound
7 + 2 AP
Evangelia Kranioti’s film presents the reality (or rather, a reality) of Rio de Janeiro’s transvestites and transsexuals. Narrated by a protagonist who appears to have no name, this lack of knowledge seems to point at the primitive act that is classificatory violence and condenses all bodies into the figure of the transvestite. There is no opposite for the undifferentiated, no “other” exists since there is no “I”. A second character (a wandering buffoon, a kind of flanêur or stroller) helps tell the story. As an orthodox omniscient narrator who has no trust in the potential of words, he replaces language for an invitation to simply look and observe during the urban divagation.
Aerial shots of the city contrast with scenes that depict local customs and manners. In that scenery, the recovery of the ruins, which in this case corresponds to the amassing of Carnival floats after the festival whirlwind, together with the use of advertisement and the postmodern video clip, allow for a re-defining of audiovisual discourse without resorting to accelerated temporality.
The association of Carnival—and of Rio, a city that wears costumes and changes its appearance—with the trans world goes beyond the commonplace in this film. Kranioti presents a complex organicistic analogy, resembling a bio-political conception of the city. This renders the population indiscernible from the space. The city advances in constant recreation; it remains in a state of uninterrupted metamorphosis, just like our narrator. There is nothing behind the masks, because they are what is true and primordial: we only see the truth in the damaged body.
El éxtasis debe ser olvidado (The Ecstasy Must Be Forgotten) is structured on two elements that maintain a tensely conciliatory relationship. On the one hand, the anxiety generated by a hyperbolic image that attempts to show what lives in obscurity, trying to discover the city in flashes. When it nears clarity, its illumination saturates us with light, not just metaphorically. On the other, there is a tale of contained lyricism that shuns the contemporary need for advancement, the demand that things happen; it seeks refuge in tranquillity, in the saudade (“longing” in Portuguese) of the narrator who has already done away with their face so as to, as Deleuze would say, transcend its signifier.