A free adaptation of Clarice Lispector’s literary work for cinema. Who could imagine something so daring in the history of Brazilian culture and transport the writer’s melancholic, deep and reflective writing to the cinema? Director Marcela Lordy not only thought, as she launches this Thursday (22) the film “O Livro dos Prazeres”, based on the author’s eponymous book.
Literature is one thing and cinema is another, so having the freedom to “play” with symbology was a full plate because I like playful and sensorial. We were able to bring Clarice’s writing to cinema, which is action, using elements from her other stories, as well as personal experiences and references to make it work”, explains Marcela.
In the plot, the protagonist Lóri, played by Simone Spoladore, is an elementary school teacher, born into a traditional family in Rio de Janeiro, who has difficulty establishing affective relationships. Her life changes when she meets the philosophy professor, Ulisses, played by the Argentinian actor Javier Drolas, who awakens the need to transform Lóri’s life and makes her plunge into her traumas and face loneliness, until she is healed and ready to love.
In the director’s version, the main characters are much less conservative than in the original work, published in 1969, which does not mean a retrograde Clarice. In this book, she inverts the patriarchal narrative, in which the man is the great adventurer. Lori is the one who takes the initiative and decides to find her axis before surrendering to love. “The writer messes up this gender issue and this is portrayed both in the book and in the film”, says the director, who makes a point of emphasizing that the delicate and poetic production meets what people are currently looking for: love. “We are lacking (laughs)”.
From the idea —coming from Walter Salles, with whom Marcela Lordy worked for many years— to the release of the feature, it took 12 years of dedication. The first two she chased after the purchase of Clarice’s license and rights, and seven more until completion. But “O Livro dos Prazeres” was also affected by the pandemic and the official launch that would be in 2020, was postponed. Which, according to the director, coincided with the plot.
“The context of the film has changed, but in our favor. Lori decided to isolate herself for a journey of self-knowledge. In real life, however, we went through a period of compulsory isolation, but that taught us to enjoy being a company in solitude, which resembles the character”, he says.
An omnipresent figure in the feature, Simone Spoladore translates Clarice Lispector’s women with her mysterious and eccentric aura: “Simone has Clarice’s mystery, she is a woman who knows how to silence. The book narrates the evolution of a person who learns to look at her wounds. It’s a healing film, and Simone has this depth that also suits me”, celebrates the director.
Despite reaching movie theaters now, critics have already consecrated the production. “O Livro dos Prazeres” was shown in more than 15 festivals and received awards such as BAFICI (American Competition) with the award for Best Actress for Simone Spoladore and Honorable Mention for the feature; was elected by the Vitória Film Festival with the award for Best Screenplay, Best Interpretation for Simone Spoladore and Honorable Mention for Photography by Mauro Pinheiro Júnior, ABC; and the Festival do Rio 2021.
At 48 years old, Marcela Lordy has a long professional trajectory dedicated to the visual arts. Director, screenwriter and producer, “O Livro dos Prazeres” marks her debut in the direction of a fiction feature film, but her journey in cinema includes works such as “A Musa Impassível” (2010), a telefilm produced for TV Cultura, “Listening to the River: A Sound Sculpture by Cildo Meireles” (2012), ‘Ser O Que Se É’ (2018) and ‘O Amor e a Peste’ (2022), among others. She directed the feature ‘Turma da Mônica’ (2022) by Globo Filmes. Marcela’s work also crossed borders and caught the attention of one of the main entertainment and culture magazines in the world, “Variety”, which included her in the list of “the new generation of young Brazilian filmmakers who is one of the most interesting phenomena seen currently in Latin American cinema.”
Moving through the most diverse media and for different audiences remains in the plans of the professional, who is in the final stage of production of “O Silêncio de Aline”, which will tell the story of a deaf, communicative and noisy scientist, neighbor of a musician who needs of silence to create —Leandra Leal is confirmed as the protagonist. In addition, she works on the idea of a series that will have kung fu as a backdrop, a martial art that is part of her life and that she considers essential for her discipline, balance, memory and concentration.
Get ready, because “O Livro dos Prazeres” is a dive into one’s own wounds as only Clarice Lispector was able to describe it. The teaching of this work is that love is each one in his own way, in his own way and with something in common. The soul is unique and not twin. This is the love possible for Clarice”, concludes Marcela.