July 9, 2011

Ilha das Flores - The Isle of the Flowers by Jorge Furtado (Brazilian Short Story)

This is one of the greatest Brazilian Short Stories (as a experimental documentary) by Jorge Furtado from 1989. It refers to the social problems and poverty faced in Ilha das Flores, an island where garbage is thrown at and the food given to pigs worth more than the one given to kids. Watch it !

It tracks the path of a tomato from garden to dump with the help of a monotone voiceover and a collection of bizarre images. While a very humorous film, the message it delivers about how human beings treat each other is anything but such. The director himself has stated that the film was inspired by the works of Kurt Vonnegut and Alain Resnais, among others.

The film has been denounced as "materialistic" because one of its early credits displays the phrase "God doesn't exist". Nevertheless, critic Jean-Claude Bernardet defined Isle of Flowers "a religious film", and the Brazilian National Bishop Confederation awarded the film with the Margarida de Prata (Silver Daisy), calling it "the best Brazilian film of the year" in 1990. In 1995, Isle of Flowers was chosen by the European critics as one of the 100 most important short films of the century.


A constant and verbose off-narrator guides the viewer through the life of a tomato. Beginning at Mr Suzuki's tomato field, the tomato is then sold to a supermarket, where it is acquired by Mrs Anete, a perfume saleswoman, together with some pork. Each exchange requires the presence of money, which is, together with the tomato, the constant element in the story. Mrs Anete intends to prepare a tomato sauce for the pork, but, having considered one of Mr Suzuki's tomatoes inadequate, she throws it in the garbage. Together with the rest of the garbage, the tomato is taken to Isle of Flowers (Ilha das Flores), Porto Alegre's landfill. There, the organic material considered adequate is selected as food for pigs. The rest, which is considered inadequate for the pigs, is given to poor women and children to eat.

This is an English Version! Enjoy!

Let me know what you thought about it.

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