The Residents: Berlin Review

Artists act out a protest against their building’s demolition

Brazilian filmmaker Tiago Mata Machado’s "The Residents," which screened at Berlin, is an energetic collection of scenes performed by a men, women and children in protest of the demolition of a building.

BERLIN – Brazilian multimedia filmmaker Tiago Mata Machado’s The Residents is a collection of didactic sketches performed by a group of men, women and children in protest at the demolition of a building. The film is made up of energetic scenes of performance art, statements direct to camera, jokes, mimes and songs with messages to do with ethics, aesthetics and politics. While perhaps resonant in Portuguese, the English-language subtitles fail to convey what might well be significant.

Appreciation of the on-screen activity is therefore diminished greatly and much of it is incomprehensible. The film is not likely to attract attention beyond the home market’s arts audience.

With no helpful voiceover or narrative, the film shows an apparently peaceful demonstration that mirrors what would happen on the streets if the protestors were to take up arms for their cause. In one sketch, the members of the troupe mime shooting automatic weapons and throwing hand grenades.

That is a considerably better approach than the real thing, it must be said, but the result is more confusing than informative or entertaining.

Venue: Berlin International Film Festival (Forum)
Production company: Katasia Films
Cast: Melissa Dullius, Gustavo Jahn, Jeane Doucas, Simone Sales de Alcântara, Dellani Lima, Roberto de Oliveira, Geraldo Peninha, Cassiel Rodrigues, Paulo César Bicalho
Director: Tiago Mata Machado
Screenwriters: Tiago Mata, Machado, Cynthia Marcelle, Emilio Maciel
Directors of photography: Aloysio Raulino, Andréa C. Scansani
Production designer: Cinthia Marcelle
Music: André Wakko, Juan Rojo, David Lansky, Vanessa Michellis
Editors: Joacélio Baptista, Tiago Mata Machado
Sales: 88 Films
No rating, 120 minutes