Directed by Petra Costa • Documentary • With Petra Costa, Elena Andrade • 2012 • 80 minutes
Elena, a young Brazilian woman, travels to New York with the same dream as her mother, to become a movie actress. She leaves behind her childhood spent in hiding during the years of the military dictatorship. She also leaves Petra, her seven year old sister. Two decades later, Petra also becomes an actress and goes to New York in search of Elena. She only has a few clues about her: home movies, newspaper clippings, a diary and letters. At any moment Petra hopes to find Elena walking in the streets in a silk blouse. Gradually, the features of the two sisters are confused; we no longer know one from the other. When Petra finally finds Elena in an unexpected place, she has to learn to let her go.
“It is a bold plunge into painful memories, unasked questions and wounds still inflamed. It is, in short, crying in the form of a movie, but also an embrace of comfort. While trying to (re)discover the sister that died when she was only seven years old, director Petra Costa finds herself and, in part, her own mother. In the process, she involves the audience thanks to her openness, which allows us to glimpse, in melancholy, the journey of a young and talented director toward the catharsis that will require so much pain to occur.” —RogerEbert.com