Trying to work in Paraty has so far been a frustrating experience.   The main event last night, which was sold out many weeks ago, was not the most compelling experience I had hoped it would be, having read some good things about Paraty.  I am hoping today will be better.  The organisational issues for Paraty seem to frustrate many of the attendees and participants, which is more than a shame as its obvious a lot of effort has been put into the festival.  Last night was pretty chaotic, but I guess, it’s allowed in a Latin culture.  Even though it was sold out, there were plenty of empty seats and people seemed to come and go all through the sessions.  The only people who seemed to be controlled to the point of annoyance were the journalists, many who left after the first 30 minutes.  I will post more photos later today which hopefully convey the fun of the festival.  So what happened during the sessions last night?

Luis Fernando Verissmo
Luis Fernando Verissmo

The opening event began with a welcome from the festival curator Miguel Conde, and then an entertaining speaker Luis Fernando Verissmo, explored the mistake he made at Flip a few years ago.  He had been interviewing and welcoming Tom Stoppard to the festival and had said it’s a huge pleasure to come to CLIP, rather than FLIP.  In the few minutes that he spoke he outlined why he thought the C rather than the F was appropriate for the festival.  The festival is about, conspiracy, collusion, conversion, charm comida – food, celebration, clash of languages, conjuring up of a new universe.  He recalled John Barth’s, essay on the death of the novel which creates the idea that the last breath of an opera is the most powerful and therefore we should celebrate the permanence or otherwise of books.

Two authors, then went on to present a tribute to the Poet and writer Carlos Drummond de Andrade.

The first author Antonio Cicero, spoke for about 45 minutes excelling the virtues of Drummond for a modern reader.  Drummond he said should be read for an understanding of modernity, art and Brazilian culture.

Antonio Cicero
Antonio Cicero

Drummond’s multifaceted work was a confirmation and reaction to his life and the world around him.  Writing during the 1960’s a time of radicalism, student protest, Drummond influenced by Freud, delved into the role of family, patriarchy, the rediscovery of liberalism.  The two myths of Drummond were explained through some of his poems.  The first myth being the myth of the beginning, which represented a break with family ties, the creation of a new society.  The second myth is the discovery of origin, the discovery of self, the son comes back to the family – where anonymous faces light up in welcome.  He contrasted the patriarchy of family with the authoritarianism of the state in Brazil at that time.

The second speaker Silviano Santiago read out parts of Drummond’s poems.  The main modern analogy was that people and things have become muddled.  People are commodities and things do things.  Computers, phones, technology have replaced human interaction and understanding at a deep level.  He called it the melancholy and merchandise concept.  He recalled Brecht’s idea from the 1930’s that love is made with a wireless telephone.  The evening continued with music Lenine.  I am off for the second day and will update in a few hours.

Silviano Santiago
Silviano Santiago