A dreamlike, autobiographical portrait of a young woman who finds ecstasy in the anguish of food deprivation, set against the backdrop of Brazil’s political chaos.
Ecstasy (Êxtase), directed by Moara Passoni. Brazil/USA, 2020. 80’. Original soundtrack with Spanish subtitles
Clara, the daughter of a congresswoman whose life is constantly being threatened by the military dictatorship, enters a self-destructive downward spiral in which she derives strength from suffering. The less she eats, the more powerful she feels. Clara devises a “geometry of hunger”, an impossible theorem in which calculations of destruction also prompt liberation. At the age of 15, with her heart at 37 beats per minute and barely 29 kilos on a 1.64-metre frame, Clara is hospitalised.
Recreating the chaos of Brazil’s troubled political and social reality in the 1990s, and interweaving memories of her own adolescence with those of other women, Passoni moves past the conventions and sensationalism associated with eating disorders to meditate on the dissolution and perfection of the self, based on an immersive exploration of the agony and paradoxical pleasure of anorexia.
The film has an original soundtrack composed by David Lynch and Lykke Li.
Moara Passoni, a Brazilian director and producer, currently divides her time between São Paulo and New York, where she attended Columbia University. In 2019 she co-wrote and produced the film The Edge of Democracy, directed by Petra Costa, which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary. Ecstasy, her first feature film in the role of director, had its world premiere at CPH:DOX 2020 in Denmark and went on to receive several international awards.
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