TIFF 2012: Brazilian Film ‘Once Upon a Time was I, Veronica’

Brazilian Film ‘Once Upon a Time Was I’, Veronica premieres at TIFF 2012

By Ingrid Coifman
The premiere of Once Upon a Time Was I, Veronica, brought Brazilian director Marcelo Gomes to TIFF 2012. The film portrays Veronica, a newly graduated student from medical school, born and raised in downtown Recife, in Northeastern Brazil. Veronica is undergoing a crucial time in life, a period full of uncertainties about her professional choices, her most intimate relationships, and her ability to grow mature into adult life.

“I was eager to develop a story about the young, urban, mid-class women living in my hometown. I conducted interviews with this group and found out that there is a lot of individualism and competitiveness taking place, as well as unbalance between their professional accomplishments and emotional development”, highlights the director.

In the story, Veronica is dealing with needy patients in a failed public health system, while coping with her father’s illness. During her journey, the viewers are invited to enter her private life as if they were reading her diary, which includes an intimate portray of casual sex and experimentation.

Although approaching universal themes such as self-discovery and modern-day alienation, Gomes is used to developing personal stories, generating feelings and prompting the imagination of his audiences. His naturalistic approach and a shooting style that mixes documentary and fiction fit into the character’s existential crisis and contemporary feelings of emptiness, emotional anguish, and numbness to the world.

His contact with cinema started with a cine-club he created in his hometown. Later, he graduated in Film Studies at Bristol University and directed a number of awarded short-films. His first feature, Cinema, Aspirin and Vultures, has been awarded more than 50 prizes worldwide. In 2009, he presented at Venice International Film Festival, “I travel because I have to, I come back because I love you”, co-directed with Karim Ainouz.

Marcelo Gomes has also collaborated in the scripts of other films: Madame Satã (directed by Karim Ainouz), Casa de Alice (directed by Chico Teixeira) and Deserto Feliz (directed by Paulo Caldas).

Service: Once Upon a Time was I, Veronica” screens Friday, September 14, at 9pm, Scotiabank 3.

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