The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
Previously Unreleased
Carne y arena
Tiere
Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami
The Act of Staring

Jonathas' Forest (A floresta de Jonathas)

Brazil, 2012 | Sérgio Anrade
Tommaso Tocci checks in from Rome to report on Jonathas' Forest and finds that things are different "down in Brazil." We're in the titular forest, that's for sure.

They told me I was going to Brazil, but Brazil's got nothing to do with this film, with this story.

The first minute of Jonathas' Forest (A floresta de Jonathas) hits me hard, perhaps smelling the discomfort, the sense of displacement I'm already drenched in. It's a sudden, prolonged close-up of a man staring back at me; he seems slightly sad, and tired. "Down in Brazil" things are different. Here, "it feels like another country." We're in the titular forest, that's for sure. The Amazon. Or rather, we're on the brink of the Amazon, sitting with young Jonathas at his father's fruit stall, idly but diligently waiting for one of the passing cars to stop and grab a bite-sized moment of exoticism. "It's good when they come, right Dad?"

As I keep travelling, so does he. Jonathas only moves once — disobeying his father's orders and joining his older brother in what seems an exciting camping trip into the forest with some new friends — but the entire film is built around the tension of choice that informs any travel. Should he adhere to his father's vision, renouncing external temptations and working with him in the jungle, despite the man's passionate but bluntly controlling manners? Or should he be more defiant, like his brother, who appears so comfortable in crossing that line and enjoying the pleasures of life? It all reminds me of a director I love, Ursula Meier, with her unique taste for the toxicity of the familiar space.

I'm with Jonathas, now. I see the sort of neat dilemma the young boy is facing. I see the path towards a straightforward bildungsroman that could be squeezed out of his story. I envy it, even. Choices come easier when they're polarized. Instead, director Sérgio Andrade leaves me once again in his rear-view mirror. Early on he had established a motif of grim foreboding — specifically through the use of sound and a peculiar way of shooting the tree trunks, as if they're always about to reveal their darker, dangerous side in entering the frame — and with the last act he makes true on that promise, leaving Jonathas lost in the forest.

The shift in tone is resounding; suddenly there are no more worldviews to reconcile through the motions of a coming-of-age tale. All that is left is a catastrophic collapse of synthesis. Jonathas is forever left in a state of liminality, trapped while crossing his own shadow line.

Remarkably, Andrade manages to translate this sense of suspended individual agency into a distinctive visual rhythm, juxtaposing scenes of Jonathas' fight for survival to glimpses of his friends' and family's reactions to his disappearance. Initially unequivocal, the relation between the two quickly starts to muddle; a father's prayer, a girl's new tattoo, a mother's silent grief — how long has it been? (How long have I travelled?). Is it still now? Or is it after? As Jonathas stares into the darkness, the 'reverse shot' of those left behind becomes more and more elusive, disconnected.

Which is interesting since the visual language of Jonathas' Forest is entirely based on the act of staring as the primary mode of intercultural exchange (that's how the foreign versus native conflict is addressed, for example). But in stretching the fibers of time — turning those final sequences into a simultaneous atemporality — Andrade upsets the balance. With nobody to hold his gaze on the other side of the shot, Jonathas slowly succumbs to a jungle that he never truly made sense of. This is more Herzog than Malick: there's no transcendence in the surrealism of nature, only weirdness.

Tommaso Tocci is a film critic, copywriter and translator. He moves around. Twitter: @Cinelais



top
Jonathas' Forest (A floresta de Jonathas)

Filmkrant #351, February 2013

Slow Criticism 2013

Titelindex


ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ1&


J

J'AI PAS SOMMEIL
J'AI TUÉ MA MÈRE
J. Edgar
J. Kessels
JA & NEE
Ja zuster, nee zuster
Ja, ik wil!
JAAP HILLENIUS, POGING OM DICHTERBIJ TE KOMEN
JAAR 1
HET JAAR 2602
JACK
Jack and Jill
JACK AND SARAH
Jack bestelt een broertje
JACK FROST
Jack Reacher
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Jack the Giant Slayer
THE JACKAL
JACKASS 3D
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
JACKASS: NUMBER TWO
JACKASS: THE MOVIE
THE JACKET
Jackie (Antoinette Beumer)
Jackie (Pablo Larraín)
JACKIE BROWN
Jacques Tati: De complete collectie
Jacques Verbeek & Karin Wiertz: Filmmakers
JADE
JAGDHUNDE
Jagten
JALAN RAYA POS (DE GROOTE POSTWEG)
JALLA! JALLA!
JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH
THE JAMES GANG
James White
JAMÓN JAMÓN
JAN DARA
JAN KOUNEN SHORTS
Jan Sierhuis zelfportret
JANA
Jane
Jane Eyre (Cary Fukunaga)
JANE EYRE (Franco Zeffirelli)
Jane Mansfield's Car
JANINE
Janis: Little Girl Blue (Amy Berg over)
De Jantjes
JAPANESE HORROR ANTHOLOGY VOL. 1
JAPANESE STORY
JAPÓN
JAR CITY
EL JARDIN DEL EDEN
JARDINS EN AUTOMNE
JARHEAD
Jason Bourne
JASON X: FRIDAY THE 13TH, PART 10
JASON'S LYRIC
Jasper & Julia en de dappere ridders
Jauja (Lisandro Alonso over)
La jaula de oro
Jaws
JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK!
JCVD
Je me tue à le dire
JE RENTRE À LA MAISON
Je suis mort, mais J'ai des amis
JEAN SEBERG — AMERICAN ACTRESS
JEAN-LUC GODARD — VOLUME ONE/TWO
JEANNE LA PUCELLE
Jeannette
JEEPERS CREEPERS
JEEPERS CREEPERS 2
JEF VAN DER HEIJDEN, FIETSER NAAR DE MAAN
JEFFERSON IN PARIS
JEFFREY
JELLYFISH
JENNIFER'S BODY
JENSEITS DER STILLE
JERRY MAGUIRE
Jersey Boys
JERSEY GIRL
Jessabelle
JESUS CAMP
JESUS'S SON
JET LAG
Jeune & jolie
Jeune femme
LE JEUNE WERTHER
JEUX D'ENFANTS
JEZUS IS EEN PALESTIJN
Jheronimus Bosch — Touched by the Devil
Jigsaw
Jimi: All Is By My Side
JIMMY HOLLYWOOD
JIMMY NEUTRON: WONDERKIND
Jimmy P. — Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian
JIMMY ROSENBERG
Jimmy's Hall
JINDABYNE
JINGLE ALL THE WAY
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
JOAQUIN SABINA
Jobs
Jodorowsky's Dune
Joe
THE JOE D'AMATO COLLECTION
JOE'S APPARTMENT
JOEY BREAKER
JOHAN
JOHAN CRUIJFF — EN UN MOMENTO DADO
Johan en de verenkoning
JOHAN PRIMERO
JOHAN VAN DER KEUKEN — HET COMPLETE OEUVRE, BOX 1 EN 2
JOHN CARPENTER'S ESCAPE FROM L.A.
JOHN CARPENTER'S THE THING
John Carter
JOHN GRISHAM'S THE RAINMAKER
John Jansen
JOHN Q.
JOHN RABE
JOHN RAMBO IV
JOHN SAYLES COLLECTION
John Wick
John Wick 2
JOHNNY ENGLISH
JOHNNY MEIJER
JOHNNY MNEMONIC
JOHNNY STECCHINO
JOHNS
JONAH WHO LIVED IN THE WHALE
JONAS BROTHERS: THE 3D CONCERT EXPERIENCE
Jonas Mekas-box
Jonathas' Forest (A floresta de Jonathas)
THE JONESES
DE JONGEN DIE NIET MEER PRAATTE
Jongens
Joris & Boris en het geheim van de tempel
THE JOSEPH L. MANKIEWICZ COLLECTION
Joshua Oppenheimer: Early Works
Josie
JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS
JOUR DE FÊTE
LE JOURNAL D'UNE FEMME DE CHAMBRE
Journal d'une femme de chambre (Benoît Jacquot)
Journal de France
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island 3D
JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH 3D
Journey to the Shore
JOURNEY TO THE SUN (GÜNESE YOLCULUK)
Joy (David O. Russell)
JOY (Mijke de Jong)
THE JOY LUCK CLUB
JOY RIDE
JOYRIDE
JU-ON (THE GRUDGE)
JUANA LA LOCA
JUDAS KISS
JUDE
JUDEX/NUITS ROUGES
The Judge
JUDGE DREDD
JUGGERNAUT
JUHA
JULIA
JULIAN PO
JULIE & JULIA
JULIEN DONKEY-BOY
Julieta
Julius In Winterland
JUMANJI
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
JUMPER
JUNEBUG
JUNGLE 2 JUNGLE
The Jungle Book
JUNGLE BOOK 2
JUNGLE JACK
JUNGLE JACK II, DE STOERE FILMSTER
JUNGLE RUDY
JUNIOR
JUNK MAIL
JUNO
Junun
Jupiter Ascending
Jupiter's Moon (Kornél Mundruckzó over)
JURASSIC PARK
JURASSIC PARK 3
Jurassic World
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
DE JURK
THE JUROR
Jurrasic Park 3D
Jusqu'à la garde (Xavier Legrand over)
Just a Beginning
JUST CAUSE
JUST FRIENDS
JUST GO WITH IT
JUST LIKE HEAVEN
Just Like Our Parents
JUST MARRIED
JUST MY LUCK
JUST THE TICKET
Just the Wind
Juste la fin du monde
JUSTIÇA
Justice League
Justin Bieber's Believe
JUSTIN BIEBER: NEVER SAY NEVER