PODCAST| Nicolò Comotti interviews Carlos Conceição, director of the film Serpentário.
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Carlos Conceição joins us to discuss his debut long feature Serpentário, in Berlinale’s Forum selection. In Serpentário, a young man drifts through an emptied-out African landscape in search of the ghost of his mother – a glittering journey between past and future that borrows from different film genres along the way. Serpentário‘s visual prowess is startling and mesmerising; Conceição’s debut is permeated by his original and capable voice able to deliver a film of rare beauty.
Serpentário: The opening titles say Carlos Conceição was born in Africa and left for Europe in his teens, his mother stayed behind. She said she wanted to adopt a bird that would live for 150 years, but only if he would take care of it when she died. The landscape the young man flies over afterwards can only be Africa too, mountains and great plains, antelope herds, earth the colour of an impossible clay. A woman speaks to him in voiceover when he lands, imploring him to come find her without delay and thus a journey begins. There will be roads, cities, boats and all manner of shimmering landscapes, although the path isn’t linear but governed by gleeful digression, folding back on itself, snaking through past, present and future and wandering off into different genres, as the size and texture of the image shifts and piano or violin replace synths. We see the man as a ruff-wearing colonialist, a gun-slinging cowboy, an astronaut in a retro spaceship, or just a hipster in jeans and sunglasses, but otherwise little changes, even as the end is nigh. He keeps on moving, the same playful, melancholy thoughts in voiceover, the same solitude, the rushing of the wind, the voices of birds.
To discover more about the film, click here.