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Moviegoing Memories: Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles

The directors of “Bacurau” tells us about their favorite cinemas and the films they would most like to see on the big screen.
Notebook
Moviegoing Memories is a series of short interviews with filmmakers about going to the movies. Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles's Bacurau is streaming exclusively on MUBI in select territories March 19 – April 18, 2020
KLEBER MENDONÇA FILHO: Where and what is your favorite cinema?
JULIANO DORNELLES: In all of the travel with Bacurau, I’ve had the opportunity to be in many wonderful movie theaters around the world. But the one that stays in my heart is my movie theater—our movie theater—the Cinema São Luiz, in Recife. It’s where we watched a lot of wonderful films from the end of the 80s.
MENDONÇA FILHO: I have to say São Luiz also. It’s a 1952 movie palace, it’s very well-equipped and it has become a kind of Ground Zero for the local film scene. We could do a film with international guests and people from other cities in Brazil, just coming into the São Luiz and just going: wow! It’s a fantastic place. 1,000 seats, downtown Recife, lines around the block. It’s quite a phenomenon. They just don’t make them like that anymore.
MENDONÇA FILHO: How would you describe your movie in the least amount of words?
DORNELLES: Bacurau is an adventure movie about people, a story about love and respect. And also, it’s a film that has no prejudice against any genre in cinema.
MENDONÇA FILHO: Bacurau is the film that I always wanted to make, as a cinephile, watching films all my life. I got a group of people together, most of them are my friends—I co-directed and co-wrote the film with Juliano, who is a friend of mine—and we just made the film that we wanted to see.
DORNELLES: If you could choose one classic film to watch on the big screen, what would it be and why?
MENDONÇA FILHO: I would really stick to a classic, that was a phenomenal popular success. It was a phenomenal popular success at the time for a reason: it’s actually a very, very good film. I saw it a couple of times on the big screen, with about a thousand people. It’s Jaws. It really does things with the audience in terms of anticipation and excitement and fear and suspense. It’s outrageous the reaction that you get from the audience. It really is a true classic.
DORNELLES: Mine would be Superoutro from Edgar Navarro. It’s a Brazilian classic, a very crazy and rebellious film that I’ve never seen on the big screen. I hope someday I have the opportunity to.
MENDONÇA FILHO: What’s the most memorable movie screening of your life and why was it memorable?
DORNELLES: Back in the early 2000s, I saw Come and See from Elem Klimov, a Russian war film. It was a very degenerated 35mm copy in Cinema da Fundação in Recife. It’s so hard to describe—so powerful, and so cruel, and so raw. So true to the feeling of the violence and desperation of being in the middle of the war.
MENDONÇA FILHO: When I was a teenager in the 80s, I was able to go see a new film by Brian De Palma in an old commercial movie palace in downtown Recife. I remember going to see the opening screening on the opening day, at 13:30—RoboCop by Mr. Paul Verhoeven. I was really blown away… There weren’t many people at the screening, maybe 40 people in a thousand seat movie palace, but I was very impressed by what I saw. At the time I was 17 years old and I had never seen anything so wild and savage coming out of the Hollywood moviemaking machine. It was so good that I actually stayed to see the next screening, which is something you could do at the time.
DORNELLES: I’m jealous of your memory!

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