O Último Voo do Flamingo (2010)

“O Último Voo do Flamingo” (2010)



There is a sense of transition inherent to many cultures in Africa. Despite the obtuse violences that muslims and christians inflicted systematically over native bright religions, those transitional states of mind are still palpable if you choose to let them in. Souls than oscillate between the dead and the living, and belong to none. Pure connection to the environment, i mean physical geographical environment. Original conceptions of religion as a link between man and its context (something the Celts brought to Iberia and lived by through esoteric christians). Black Africa’s relation to their true spirituality is as viscerally powerful as it is subtle and unassuming. things are how they are, and you are a piece of the natural machinery. This should have been the first layer of this film.

Mia Couto is someone whose passion is to find an identity to his people, rooted on the genuine manifestations that flow throughout the territory of his native Mozambique. What he does, in his writing, is placing the heart of a true poet in the middle of the land’s spirituality. He is an observer, a passionate and not neutral observer, but still an observer. What he produces is a re-writing of the infinite fluid narratives that build the inner spiritual fabric of Mozambican people. Those kinds of narratives that were never understood or cared cherished by the Portuguese (and still aren’t!). So his work is one of the nobler ones someone can have: for the last decades he (and not only he) has been inventing what it means to be a Mozambican, and an African, today, how can one feel Mozambican, after all the blood, after all the miscegenations (in plural, how Mia likes it). Incidentally, while he writes a possible soul to his country, he reinvents the Portuguese language to all the world who uses it. That transgression, that sense of quite reinvention that Mia Couto has should have been the second layer of this film.

The third layer would have to be the remaking of the remade narrative(s) Mia Couto has been writing for decades and map it into a cinematic vision. Yes, cinema, I know cinema can transport you, anyone who has ever experienced deeply a film knows that cinema can move you, almost literally, into worlds you didn’t know existed. But you’ve got to trust in the people that made the film, they have to win you. This film had to lift you, just like the two characters near the end.

But no. They trust conventions, the worst kind of conventions, TV ones. The people here assume that spiritual equals picturesque, that choosing a random number of words from the book equals understanding it. They add a couple of establishing landscapes, and that’s it. No real ideas about anything. The acting is an incredible mess, all the way, with all the actors. The Italian is the worst among them, because he is as bad, but can’t rely on the language. One of the worst castings i’ve ever seen.

What a waste, what a shame. I hope someone will ever do this right. Mia Couto and Mozambique deserve it.

My opinion: 1/5

This comment on IMDb


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