A wispy fog trails across the dawn skyline of Rio de Janero as Evangelia Kranioti’s dreamlike portrait of an ever-transforming metropolis and the godlike metamorphosis of Luana Muniz, Queen of Lapa, begins.
The actress, LGBT rights warrior and former prostitute narrates sections from Clarice Lispector’s Água Viva, the interior first-person monologue of an unnamed narrator, as we follow her into the hypnagogic and surreal-like carnival world of Brazil’s former-capital in a piece that is melancholic yet hopeful and that flows like music to its own rhythm.
Projected in Imax, the extreme close ups and unnatural soundscape were dizzying yet totally immersive; the liminal quality of Rio felt full force in the liminal space of the cinema as Muniz whispers to us about the life, death and transfiguration of herself as a ‘transvestite’, the creation of dreams and nightmares, and the city that conjures pulsating hyperreal tapestries of raw human flow.
In sixty minutes the meticulously crafted film essay almost feels like the stream of subconsciousness of the protagonist, made all the more tragic by her untimely death soon after filming.
~ George Bartlett