The story of the experimental silent movie Limite can be quickly summarized: three shipwreck survivors are drifting in a small boat on the ocean and tell each other their life and refugee stories. And yet no other Brazilian film has inspired generations of artists more than this one. “Then came the revelation of Limite, the first and only film by 21-year-old director Mário Peixoto. This was a film of transcendent poetry and boundless imagination. Once again, I found myself in a state of shock, not only because of the film itself, which was made in 1931 and forgotten for many years, but also for the evidence it bore, that of our creative diversity” (Walter Salles)
“At the end of the silent era we imagined that the cinema allowed us to see more, and more clearly. (As Dziga Vertov said in his film Kino-Eye, 1924, ‘the cinema represented the possibility of making the invisible visible, or illuminating the darkness, of seeing without boundaries or distances.’) But then Mário Peixoto showed us that, in reality, the cinema makes you see less, and less clearly, and that it’s strength lies precisely in this incomplete way of seeing. (...) The narration hides more than it reveals. What we see is only there to establish a tension with what is off-screen. In this case cinema conceals, hides and cuts.” (José Carlos Avellar)
DOKU.ARTS is proud to present the German premiere of the long awaited new comprehensive digital restoration by the World Cinema Foundation, which was carried out at Cineteca di Bologna / L’Immagine Ritrovata Laboratory in collaboration with the Cinemateca Brasileira and Walter Salles. With special thanks to Doug Laible and Andrea Meneghelli.
The Brazilian filmmaker Mário Peixoto (*1908) attended Hopedene College, in Willington (Sussex). In 1928 he was co-founder of the Chaplin Club, a loose circle of friends debating the aesthetics of cinema. During a visit to England in 1929, he was inspired by the art of photography and film and wrote the script for Limite. On May 17th, 1931, Limite had its première at the Cinema Capitólio in Rio de Janeiro but it did not make it into commercial distribution. His second film project with Carmen Santos Onde A Terra Acaba (Where the World Ends) failed despite several serious attempts, leaving Limite to be the only film ever completed by Peixoto. In 1988, the Cinemateca Brasileira named Limite the best Brazilian film of all time. Shortly afterwards, Mário Peixoto received financial support from the Fundação Vite to complete his remaining works. In 1991, in an extremely weak financial situation, he fell ill and was generously assisted by Walter Salles. Mário Peixoto died on February 2, 1992 in Rio de Janeiro. In 1996, Walter Salles founded the Mário Peixoto Archives.