A Musical Poem

FIFA Screens Doc on Nana Caymmi

Rio Sonata is a tribute to Nana Caymmi and Rio de Janeiro.

It is impossible not to fall in love with Rio de Janeiro after watching Rio Sonata.

French-Swiss filmmaker Georges Gachot brings us his latest musical masterpiece: a two-in-one tribute to Nana Caymmi, one of Brazil’s greatest singers, and “the marvelous city” of Rio.

Gachot presents a broad, unchronological overview of the artist’s career, focusing primarily on giving the viewer an emotional experience. Marrying the breathtaking views of Rio to the warmth and romantic voice of Caymmi, Gachot tells a story that targets our hearts and senses.

The film starts with images of a rainy Rio, covered by ashy clouds as Caymmi begins to tell the story of her life.

Born to a family of celebrated musicians, music runs in her blood. Everything she says and does is done with a certain grace and with a certain sense of melody.

After divorcing her first husband in 1966 and returning back to Rio with her kids, she dedicates herself professionally to what, until then, was a naturally flowing musicality.

Her strength lies in her foundation—the classics. She cites Debussy and Satie as examples of the many that inspired her singing. However, she clearly flees from any musical label. “I sing what I like, whether it’s a ballad, bolero, bossa, samba or a popular song.”

There is a deep, melancholic desire from Caymmi, a longing for memories and the feelings attached to them.
“The modern technology world is not my high. I would very well go by with candle light living next to Monet,” she says in the film. “Time is so much taken for granted in the younger years; you realize its value later.”

With a career spanning 40 years, 40 albums, two gold disc awards and a Latin Grammy, Nana Caymmi is very much loved and respected.

Gachot impels the audience on a journey to the core of Caymmi’s heart that she so willingly opens, by telling her life philosophy with words and songs.

“It’s a love film, an encounter with yourself,” said Gachot about the work. Totally true, Nana’s repertoire is only about love, but in different shades and rhythms.

“Music needs to bring emotion, satisfaction in the deepest sense. The stage is the perfect place to hide your own emotions if wanted,” she says in the film.

The film was warmly applauded at its opening night at FIFA. Anyone having a sensitive cord in their body will be moved. Let yourself be transported by the emerald-turquoise-wave of this film and see why George Gachot’s work is in the FIFA’s competition list.

FIFA presents Rio Sonata / Cinémathèque québécoise – Salle Fernand-Seguin / Wed. March 23 / 6:30 p.m.