Friday, 16 October 2009


The only film by elusive writer Mário Peixoto, Limite concerns four people apparently lost at sea. Little is said about their future, but each of the castaways reflects contemplatively on the events of the past. These memories are presented to the audience as visual poems, picking up the rhythm of everyday life and the preciousness of its minutiae. In contrast to the clunky, fast-paced editing of most silent films, Limite does away with title cards and quick location changes in favour of seductively slow close-ups, buttressed by hypnagogic shots of the surrounding sea. Scant writings on the film suggest that Peixoto had paced the film thusly in mimesis of the solar system, where small objects orbit larger ones.

A film that simultaneously invites and defies analysis, Limite remained for the longest time an unseen curio, even considered lost at one point, but has enjoyed a healthy renaissance thanks to plaudits from the likes of Orson Welles and Sergei Eisenstein. It has been voted “best Brazilian film of all time” on several occasions, and it’s easy to see why. Peixoto appears to have recognised the immense potential of the moving image as an art form in its own right, reflected in the fact he felt confident enough to convey a story without intertitles. The result is a soulful bricolage of personal histories, creating a blueprint of all the potential futures. Impeccably shot and scored, Limite sidesteps the boisterous giddiness of many contemporary experimental films, resembling a wordless version of Tarkovsky’s Mirror.

No comments:

Post a Comment