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Recent Works by Ana Vaz

Non-Fiction 4 Films

The films of Brazilian artist and filmmaker Ana Vaz propose a critical reflection on the relationship between colonialism, modernity and the impending ecological disaster. Hers is haptic cinema that destabilises and questions the hierarchical gaze of ethnographic cinema, highlighting the instability of perspective as well as the presences before and behind the camera. This survey of recent works focuses on ideas of memory, the archive and critical pedagogy.



13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird I Ana Vaz | 2021 | Portugal

13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird takes its title from the homonymous poem by Wallace Stevens, which also gives the film its structure. It was developed in collaboration with high school students Vera Amaral and Mário Neto over the course of a year, in the context of a workshop that deconstructed the process of making a film. We hear the students reading and interpreting the text, debating the project with the filmmaker, interrogating what cinema can be. “The film is a song you can see,” they write, opening up a reflection on the gaze; a central concern in the work of Ana Vaz.



“Pseudosphynx is the scientific name of the fire-caterpillars soon to become butterflies, or as they’re commonly (and auspiciously) called: witches. These butterfly-witches are associated with several myths, one of which narrates that, during the Inquisition in the Middle Ages, it was believed that ‘witches turned into butterflies, a sort of transformism of living beings – real or imagined.’ Pseudosphynx, thus, is at the same time sphinx, meaning inhuman chthonic monstrosity that spells charades; and pseudo, as in artificial, insincere, deceptive, unreal, illusive, mimetic. Pseudosphynx keeps its meaning veiled, like a secret kept by those who save in their retinas the haptic impression of their fight.” (Ana Vaz)


Apiyemiyekî? I Ana Vaz | 2019 | Brazil

A highly sensorial and audiovisually inventive film that rethinks its own form to find ways to enliven a precarious and largely unwritten history. Apiyemiyekî? takes as its starting point the archive of Brazilian educator and Indigenous rights militant Egydio Schwade, which contains over 3000 drawings made by the Waimiri-Atroari, a people native to the Brazilian Amazon, during their first literacy process. The drawings are animated onto a landscape haunted by a violence, shedding light on the genocidal crimes committed against the indigenous communities during Brazil’s military dictatorship.



Ana Vaz in conversation with Olivier Marboeuf