FEATURE FILMS FICTION
NOS | US. 100 min. 35mm. 2003.
BOCALLINO AWARD at Locarno Film Festival 2003, Switzerland
«Cláudia Tomaz focuses her camera on human feelings and pushes her characters to the limit. a film about the limits we set to ourselves, about vulnerability and human contradictions»
'Nós' places Francisco and Angela in an ambiance that oscillates between the realism of everyday routine and the dream-like power of their encounters. The film embodies the ambiguous and contradictory feelings of the two characters by prioritizing images over words, and silence over language.
Francisco and Angela are survivors, but solitude in the big city is difficult to bear. In the film people's path is dramatically marked by an emotional evolution that progressively takes them towards catharsis. The light, the colors, the size of the sets, the music, the sound design and editing, all reflect this inner progression. The creation of pleasure and entertainment places, such as the performances arenas that were created and purpose-built for the film, are also the expression of and the possibility for the characters' dramatic change. The bringing together of these two solitary beings reveals the twisting paths of their inner life.
Written, directed and edited by Claudia Tomaz.
This is an excerpt / scene of Nos / Us.
«A film about solitude, the difficulties of communication and the search for love, Nós places Francisco and Angela in an ambiance that, according to Cláudia Tomaz, oscillates «between the realism of everyday routine and the dream-like power of the encounters of these two characters». Free after six years in prison, Francisco decides to change and fight. After a few days spent living in the subway, he rents a room and starts working at a construction site. Forlorn, he puts an ad on the Internet - «man seeks woman to talk» - and meets the serious, shy and unhappily married Angela. She works in a big hotel with her friend Maria, who is young, exuberant, full of life and performs in erotic shows at night to make ends meet.
Inspired by the photographs of Nan Goldin, the paintings of Francis Bacon - «because of the colors, the flesh and the sexual violence between the characters» - and by the music of Lydia Lunch that provides the basis for the choreography in one of the bars - Arena - the filmmaker embodies the ambiguous and contradictory feelings of the two characters by prioritizing, as she did in her first film Noites, images over words. And silence over language.
To give «density» to this silent, Claudia worked systematically the sound, substituting «the dirty and strident sound ambience of the town for a more delicate and softer sounds», which provides the viewer, as it does the characters, with an enveloping «sensory» experience. As for the visuals, they concentrate on the protagonist’s torment: loneliness, filmed for the most part in static shots, their difficulties in talking to one another, expressed to the wide open and almost colorless places they meet in, matched by the scenes in bars which are darker and more dynamically edited.»
In Locarno International Film Festival catalog
Using images of US I re-edited and remixed a few sequences to create this music video for Flore in 2010.
NIGHTS. feature film. 73 min. 35mm. 2000.
BEST FILM AWARD CRITICS WEEK Venice Film Festival 2000, Italy
NOMINATED FOR BEST FILM Gijon Film Festival 2000, Spain
Set in Lisbon in a slum in demolition, NIGHTS is a simple story turned into a raw and chilling film, a fiction shot as a documentary.
Written, directed and edited by Claudia Tomaz.
I received news from Portugal to say that my old film Noites had shown on tv last Saturday, and since then there's been lovely messages from new and old friends, thank you. I end up visiting my archives and memories, found a few pictures, and remembered the pioneering methods and the ways we made this... here a few stories.
We made this film in the year 2000, on a very low budget and with a very intimate crew. We worked a lot on the preparation. I had been writting and preparing this film for about 4 years and had many photos, drawings and notes. The pre-production with the crew, and finding the appropriate and ethical way to film each scene / space / people was very important too.
The photo above with the trees, is a shot of the film, in this place of trees. I used to see this place from a train and it was an adventure to find the way to it. Everytime I saw it from the train it was flooded, which gave it a lot of mystery, but possibly would make it impossible to film it with the small means we had. When we came to film, it was dry and sunny in those January days. We filmed in Winter because I wanted to capture the soft winter light.
During the pre-production we designed pocket-size scripts for everyone in the team, which made it easy to carry around and somehow was a symbol of the simplicity, creativity and authenticity we worked in.
The next pic it's our team in action, small and close, working like an organism.
The way we organized the shooting was to film first all the scenes that were out doors, or included travelling, we were 10 people. In the second part of the shooting, we filmed all the scenes inside the house, we were mainly 4 people: me, the actor, camera and sound. With minimal presence of a couple of assistants to organize food etc. This way we were very focused and could create the intimate atmosphere we needed. The house we filmed in was not in the slum, it belonged to my neighbour and was right next to my house, which made it very practical.
Also we had a co-operative approach and everyone in the film earned the same amount.
The next photo is the light designs by João Ribeiro (director of photography and camera). We worked in a very particular way as I wanted to use natural light as much as possible. So sometimes we would record the same scene over several days at the same time, or use only small lights for consistency and interiors. The experience in documentary of João and Armanda Carvalho (sound), and the fact that they had worked together many times, made the process very organic and I completely trusted them.
We filmed in digital video to be able to improvize with the actors and do long-shots. This was very useful also because I end up being in front of the camera (a role I had not planned, but when our actress gave up 4 days before the beginning of the shooting, I said, ok I'll do that, as we didn't have the time to train another person and we couldn't stop the process). This way, in the scenes I was in, we could film and watch the footage right after, so I could see the key moments to devellop further, and repeat more to reach the essence of each scene. In other parts of the film, the shots were quite precise, adding to the focused minimalism of the silent scenes and wanders in the city.
We edited the film at Tobis on Avid on the night shift. I guess it was cheaper to rent the studio at night! These were long nights, when the studios were really quiet and the film was slowly coming together. In those days editing rooms had no windows, so possibly it was a good thing that we could see the day light in the morning!
Then we transfered the film into 35mm, which at the time was a requirement for exhibition and distribution. At the time this process was new and not available in Portugal, so we went into a Lab in Paris to do this. First I went alone and then the director of photography came for the étallonage. I remember the moment when the film was all done and we had a private view with the french crew to make sure that everything was correct.
When the film was selected to Venice, I remember the contrast between the slum spaces in demolition we filmed in and then staying in the same hotel where 'Death in Venice' by Visconti was filmed...
This film won The best film award of the Week's Critic in Venice film festival, an award for first feature films, and went on to many festivals around the world, with theatre release and a VHS tape.
I was 26.
US CAST AND CREW. 2003
CAST: JOÃO PEREIRA. ALEXANDRA FREUDENTHAL. SUSANA VIDAL CAÑETE. PAULA MOREIRA. PATRÍCIA ANDRADE. JOÃO PATRÍCIO. ISABEL DE CASTRO. VÍTOR GONÇALVES. MONICA CALLE
Written, Directed and Edited by CLAUDIA TOMAZ
Screenplay and Casting: CLÁUDIA TOMAZ. JOÃO PEREIRA
Directors of photography: LISA HAGSTRAND. NUNO FERREIRA
Sound: EMÍDIO BUCHINHO
Sound design: CLÀUDIA TOMAZ
Sound Editor: WALDIR XAVIER
Set Design: SÉRGIO COSTA
Costumes: ROSA ALMEIDA LIMA
Coreography in Arena: CLÁUDIA TOMAZ. MONICA CALLE
1st Assistant Director: JOÃO FONSECA. BRUNO LOURENÇO
Production Manager: ANGELA CERVEIRA. JOAQUIM CARVALHO
With the support of
I.C.A.M. Instituto do Cinema, Audiovisual e Multimédia
Producer: PAULO BRANCO
Portugal / France, 2003, 99', colour, Dolby SRD
Shot in Super-16. Final copy 35mm.
CAST: JOÃO PEREIRA. CLÁUDIA TOMAZ. ANA BUSTORFF. JOÃO D’ÁVILA. ISABEL RUTH
Direction, Film Editing and Original Script: CLÁUDIA TOMAZ
Script Adaptation: CLÁUDIA TOMAZ, JOÃO PEREIRA
Director of Photography/Camera: JOÃO RIBEIRO
Sound: ARMANDA CARVALHO
Sound mixing: NUNO CARVALHO
Assistant Director: LUÍS PINTASSILGO
Set Decoration: CESÁRIO MONTEIRO
Production Manager: ALEXANDRE VALENTE
Producer: PAULO BRANCO
Production: MADRAGOA FILMES
shot in DVcam - final copy 35mm - 73’