Exploring the fraught intersection of feminism, colonialism, and race that has persisted across centuries and continents, the stirring drama Vazante marks the solo directorial debut of Brazilian filmmaker Daniela Thomas.
In Southeastern Brazil in 1821, white drover turned farmer Antonio (Adriano Carvalho) returns from a trading expedition to discover that his wife and baby have died in labor. Living on his expansive but desolate property that he fails to cultivate, in the company of his aging mother-in-law (Juliana Da Cunha) and numerous slaves, Antonio’s marries his deceased wife’s young niece, Beatriz (Luana Nastas). Separa
Prior to Vazante, filmmaker Thomas frequently partnered with Walter Salles, writing and co-directing the acclaimed features, Foreign Land (1996), Midnight (1998) and Linha de Passe (2008). With Vazante, which is shot in expressive black-and-white by the award-winning cinematographer Inti Briones, Thomas finally brings to fruition a project that she and co-writer/co-producer Beto Amaral took nearly ten years to write and six to produce.
“The original story [of Vazante], inspired by family lore, unfolds around the difficulty of culture to contain the force of desire,” says filmmaker Daniela Thomas on the genesis of her film. “It shows miscegenation, the driving force in the development of society in Brazil, sprouting on one side from the usual spurious relationships and on the other from true undaunted love and its tragic result. I wished to depict misplacements, loneliness, and rebirth in a land that was both virgin and scarred by exploitation.