There is a very interesting question at work in André Gil Mata's highly personal film essay: just how much is too personal for public exposure, and where do you draw the line? It's a question Mr. Gil Mata asks in his own voiceover; filming his ailing grandmother's daily routines as a kind of live-action portrait of a dear relative was the original plan, but in the process the director hits the wall of his own doubts and questions, aware of the risks involved in this level of public visibility.

     The answer for the whys and hows of Cativeiro is simply enunciated by Mr. Gil Mata halfway through its short length: he simply wanted to record for posterity his view and his experience of his grandmother, but, as he himself admits, comes to realise a chasm has since opened between the reality of her daily existence and the image he had created of her, heightened by the deterioration of her health in between the initial idea and the actual start of shooting. What comes out of Cativeiro is, then, an equal parts morose and affecting exercise with an evidently personal meaning and identity and a few charming ideas and sequences, yet unknowing how to articulate them into a coherent, cohesive film. The film spends most of its running time looking for a structure and a vision that it fails to find.

Director, writer, cameraman: André Gil Mata
Editor: Tomás Baltazar
Portugal, 2012, 64 minutes

Screened: DocLisboa 2012 official competition advance screener, Lisbon, October 14th 2012


Popular Posts