It is Night in America by Ana Vaz (Screening)
A bewitching cross between an eco-horror and a documentary, the first feature film of Brazilian filmmaker Ana Vaz portrays the battle between the urban expansion of Brasília and the misplacement of its local fauna. It reprises some of the artist’s obsessions and questions the urban identity of Brazil’s capital, denouncing both its institutional role and the artificiality of its architecture.
This dark 16 mm avant-garde documentary begins with a series of long fixed shots and pans that set us in the twilight that haunts Brasilia, whose frenetic distinctiveness drowns us in the deep shadows of an urban setting.
It is Night in America is a film recorded at Brasilia Zoo, the habitat of hundreds of rescued species in the city. Giant anteaters, maned wolves, owls, wood foxes, capybaras and caracaras meet with biologists, veterinarians, caretakers and the environmental police in a sombre plot where the challenges of preserving life weave a web of intersecting perspectives. In the end, who are the real captives?
Ana Vaz is an artist and filmmaker born in the Brazilian Midwest inhabited by the ghosts buried by its modernist capital: Brasília. Her filmography activates and questions cinema as an art of the (in)visible and an instrument capable of dehumanizing the human, expanding its connections with life forms—other than human or spectral. Consequences or expansion of her cinematography, her activities are also embodied in writing, critical pedagogy, installations or collective walks.