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David Knight - 9th Nov 2018

A European man sinks into a personal heart of darkness in this mesmerising video, shot in the Amazon jungle by Argentinian directing duo Wacho - that's Eduardo Braun and Justo Dell’Acqua. 

Their video for Ateph Elidja's Burn October begins at the funeral ceremony of the man's teenage son, and from there we witness his rapid descent via alcohol into violence and madness, as he's haunted by memories and visions of the boy.

This is a hugely powerful portrait of grief, within an extraordinary setting - it was shot in part of the Amazon jungle that falls within Argentina - and certainly the jungle itself becomes an overwhelming, psychological presence.

As Braun and Dell-Acqua, aka Wacho, explain below, the challenge in shooting the video in one of the more remote corners on the planet was huge. They describe the place as "a parallel universe", and some of that feeling is definitely present in their remarkable video - beautifully shot by Adolpho Veloso, whose work was recognised with a nomination for the Best Cinematography in a Video award at this year's UKMVAs. 

Wacho (Eduardo Braun & Justo Dell’Acqua): 

"The story takes place in a small Polish colony settled in the depths of the Argentinian jungle called Misiones. It is a story about life, grief and the unknowable idea of death.

"Misiones Province is located in the far north of Argentina, inside the Amazonian jungle, and shares borders with Brazil and Paraguay. All through the second half of the 20th century a lot of Ukrainian, Polish and German families arrived to this area creating colonies and small villages scattered through the jungle - the area of the aborigine Guarani tribe. In these conditinos they generated a hybrid culture. They have their own dialect, a very rich cultural heritage and a very profound and mystical connection with nature. Their idea of death is very different from western cultures. We wanted to explore this very improbable culture, specially the idea of death and after-life.

"We had a folder called ‘Misiones’ sitting on our desktops for a whole year, waiting for the right time, then Morgan, our producer at Noside, came to us with the track, which offered a very special universe; violent, emotional, primitive, psychedelic in some way; the jungle was all over it. In fact, the first version of the track was called ‘jungle-legacy-wip.mp3’. A sign hard to ignore. So we started to work on a story for the track using ‘Misiones’ as the setting and framework. From there it was all built on trust.

"What was the main challenge to overcome during production? Everything. It’s a tropical climate. There is no internet or phone signal. Long distances and difficult routes. People are very shy and reclusive… it's a parallel universe. We were lucky to have the time to go scout and immersive ourselves there: we can add up to 25 days of being in Misiones before we started shooting. Casting was a big concern and that’s where we focused most of the energy. We wanted to show real people from Misiones, but they are not used to outsiders – specially if they bring cameras. It was a long process of getting to know people earning their trust. The lead actor is a homeless-artist-freeman from Buenos Aires. He was perfect for the role because he was crazy enough to say 'yes'.

"We like working with non-actors. We try to bring them to a present state using breathing and physical techniques that include absurd and repetitive indications. We try to transform the performance into a game. It was very interesting to see how they reacted to the camera. In general, their emotions were so pure we didn’t had to push them too far to get where we wanted.



"We had a lot of profound memories while shooting it. The place itself has a very intense energy, and on the last day of shooting we shared a very special meal with the Guaranies. They cooked a stew in a huge pan and we ate all together in the dark jungle lit by fire. Those moments will stick with us for a very long time.

"Finally, we'd like to give a big shout out to Manu, Tito, Male, the whole team at Pantera and Noside, Adolpho Veloso, the town of Soberbio and all the people who followed along and cared for this film to exist, even in the hardest of times." 

Credits

DirectorWacho
ProducerMorgan Prêleur
Production CompanyNoside
Production CompanyPantera
1st ADAnabel Leandro
Director of PhotographyAdolpho Veloso
Focus PullerUndefined
CommissionerPierre Durand
LabelPeer Music France

David Knight - 9th Nov 2018

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