There are usually few short films that move away from artificial, cloying stories that at best elicit indifference and trivialize the issue. Even less frequently do we see work that paradoxically does not try to take the easy route, such as the excessive use of visual puns, flashbacks or complex leaps through time to turn it around. At some point, the way stories are told became, on the one hand, complex, foreign and undecipherable, or banal, Manichaean and predictable on the other. In both cases, the message is lost along with any authentic relationship with the viewer.
This is why it is difficult to find work, amidst the maelstrom of films, which is an exception to the rule; I travel because I need to, I return because I love you is one such example. Produced in 2009 by the Brazilian pair Karim Ainouz /Marcelo Gomes, it is a modest piece that uses cinematographic and photographic resources in an exceptional way, giving life to an entirely fresh, direct and human narrative that fluctuates between the genres of Road movies and Storytelling. I travel because I need to, I return because I love you is José Renato’s travel log. Renato was a 35-year-old Brazilian geologist commissioned to build a canal in the Northeast of Brazil. As his fieldwork advances, it becomes clear that Renato shares the emptiness of these places, the same feeling of isolation and abandonment. Thus a parallel inner search begins that is constantly reflected in the landscape of Brazilian plains. The geographic description is not limited to the countryside or the terrain through which he travels; it also describes the people he encounters along the way, so that feelings and passions are also included in his inner travel log.
The use of audiovisual language is outstanding at all times: stills and small sequences recorded on super8, DVCAMs and Hi8 are complemented by photographs, archival images, incidental sound and the occasional, well-chosen track without neglecting the rhythmic, first person voice over (Irandhir Santos). It is a type of inner monologue designed to achieve an honest, naked, personal reflection that addresses misunderstandings between lovers, existential emptiness and solitude. The reflections are occasionally interrupted by the testimonials of those with whom the protagonist exchanges words and experiences, returning the viewer subtly to the documentary genre.
Thus all the elements that make up this piece, running no longer the 75 minutes, become a reel across which clear, honest narrative flows, whose lyricism that alludes to the universal themes of love, innocence, solitude and hope.
In short, I travel because I need to, I return because I love you is a well-rounded piece that could not have been conceived without such a close link between image and narrative. It is a clear example of the explorations and boundaries through which what some people have called photo narrative, can freely flow.
“I travel because I need to, I return because I love you.” Brazil 2009. Director and writer: Karim Ainouz and Marcelo Gomes. Photography: Heloísa Passos. Music Chambarti. Actor: Irandhir Santos. Length: 75 minutes.