Notes: Broken Tongue, by Mónica Savirón (2013)

The following notes are meant mainly for those who did not watch the film. A critical and analytical text about it will be published soon.


Mónica Savirón’s Broken Tongue is an experimental film based on Tracie Morris’s reading of the poem “Afrika". In the player to the right (or below, depending on your browsing device), you can listen to Morris’s voice in a performance of the poem. The I Fronteira features Broken Tongue in its International Short Film Competition.

Cinema, poetry, performance and contemporary art become interwoven, in a very dense plot, during the film’s 3 minutes, whose simplicity of style amplifies that density: under the sound of Morris’s voice, a rhythmic montage concatenates fragments.

The institutional and aesthetic borders which separate cinema and art are undone in the play between the discontinuous sequence of newspaper images and the conceptual poetry which resonates upon them - "It all started when we were brought here as slaves from Africa.”

In the discontinuity of its montage, Broken Tongue finds the movement which animates its images. The stillness of the newspaper pages becomes inhabited by the polyphony of Morris’s voice, which is turned into an echo. The voice’s rhythm alternately corresponds to and diverges from the montage, giving the poem’s sentence an uneven cardiac beat.

The conceptual foundation of Tracie Morris’s poetry relates Broken Tongue to conceptual art, while its singular ressonance must be associated with the field of performance art.

In the crossroads between the conceptual interrogation of the movement of diaspora as origin and the fabrication of a common destiny by means of performance, Broken Tongue gives cinema an intense political sense.

Professor de história e teoria do cinema da Faculdade de Comunicação da UFBA, em Salvador. Nascido em São Paulo, de onde saiu aos 9 anos de idade, já morou em Goiânia, Brasília, Florianópolis e Montréal. É pesquisador e crítico de cinema e cultura visual, programador e curador de mostras e festivais de cinema, doutor em Arte e Cultura Visual, com pesquisa sobre cinema e direitos humanos. É indeciso e nervoso, tenta ser leve e cuidadoso, consegue ser magro e comer muito.

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