Culturas y pueblos ancestrales

A testimony of the Brazilian culture through trance, dance and faith

Review of Híbridos, The Spirits of Brazil

Por Santiago Pérez, Bollo negro

15 may 2018



It is a poetic look at Brazilian culture

Among other things, it begins from the junction of faith and trance

It has a broad focus on music and dance

It is part of a much wider exhibition

It is contemplative

Following the tradition of the legendary cult documentary Koyaanisqatsi by director Godfrey Reggio (1982), the experimental film director Vincent Moon and the French photographer Priscilla Telmon take us into the depths of Brazilian culture with their visual poem Híbridos, title that is accompanied by the phrase The Spirits of Brazil.

That qualifier is accurate, since the focus of this documentary -completely devoid of dialogues or spoken testimonies, focuses on the trance caused by some traditions: such as prayers, shamanic rituals, or celebrations of religious or special dates, such as year new. The camera of Moon and Telmon achieves a rapprochement, at times impertinent, to some moments that seem too private, where people are disfigured when participating in some ritual. But the essay goes further; it shows us the power of prayer and faith in rituals as the deepest core of a culture as rich and homogeneous as the Brazilian one. This work is a testimony of the congregation as the main tool to build a common future, a nation.

The Brazilian culture, known for its global reach, is the product of the mixture of three nations: the European that colonized it, the Afro-descendant that was brought by the Portuguese slavers, and the Indigenous peoples. This intersection of customs, conflicts and genetics, resulted in a nation fit for some of the most playful functions of the human being, such as sports, music, dance, celebration and according to the testimony of Híbridos, The Spirits of Brazil, faith; but said faith is not directed towards a God or a specific church. As we can witness in the great diversity of vignettes in the documentary, it is faith in its own people. The celebration is for them, for who they are and what they have, what they have accumulated throughout their short but copious history.

Híbridos, The Spirits of Brazil is only part of an extensive multiplatform, composed of four elements: the documentary, a website (which extends the information and duration that we see in the documentary), an installation, and a live cinema experience. The documentary, which is what concerns us, is an enriching experience that is worth living, as long as we are willing to immerse ourselves in the cadence and mood that it proposes.


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