Private Project

The city where I'm getting Old

Francisca is a young Portuguese woman who’s been living in Brazil for a year. At her mother’s behest, she welcomes Teresa, a fellow citizen she’d lost contact with, into her home. While Teresa is enthralled, discovering the place where she means to settle and escape the crisis that has taken over her homeland, Francisca decides to go back to Lisbon. The film follows each woman’s adventures in the city and the deep bond of friendship that grows between them, forcing them to deal with conflicting desires: a will to leave for an unknown country and a relentless longing for home.

  • Marilia Rocha
  • Thais Fujinaga
  • João Dumans
  • Marilia Rocha
  • Luana Melgaço
  • João Matos
  • Ivo Lopes Araujo
  • Francisco Moreira Matos
  • Anavilhana
    Production Companies
  • Terratreme
    Production Companies
  • FiGa Films
    Sales Agent
  • Gustavo Fioravante
    Sound Technician
  • Francisca Manuel
  • Francisca Santos
  • Paulo Nazareth
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    A cidade onde envelheço
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  • Runtime:
    1 hour 30 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    December 31, 2015
  • Production Budget:
    394,187 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Marilia Rocha

Marília Rocha lives and works in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. She was one of the founders of the collective Teia, of which she was a member for 10 years, and she’s a partner at Anavilhana Filmes, along with Clarissa Campolina and Luana Melgaço. She directed Aboio (2005), best film at It’s All True festival, Acácio (2008) and A Falta que me faz (2009), best film at São Paulo’s International Latin America Film Festival. Her work has been presented in countless festivals both in Brazil and internationally, having also been shown in museums programs and cineclubs such as MoMA, New Museum and Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum (USA), Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo (MAM-SP) and Musée d'ethnographie de Neuchâtel (Switzerland). In 2011, Festival Visions du Réel presented a special showing of her films in Nyon, Switzerland.

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Director Statement

This film was born a few years ago, when I met Francisca, a young Portuguese women who was striving for a new life in Belo Horizonte. Since then she has been cooperating with me and became one of the film's leading characters. Early on I felt attracted by the conflicting forces that clashed in her Portuguese heart: the desire to leave, combined with a hopeless longing for home. I realized that those who experience this dilemma will never be comfortable neither in their homeland nor somewhere else. And Portuguese people feel this issue even more intensely in Brazil as despite of the great similarities they identify in there (far beyond the language) it is still felt as a foreign country.

During the film's research, I met the second Portuguese woman, who is also called Francisca, and was living in Lisbon back then. She was closely experiencing her homeland's crisis and yearning for a chance to leave. These two young ladies showed a particular magnetism and they were living a singular moment for me and also for the film: they had nothing to lose, as they had no outlook for the future in their homeland and they were craving for a new life in my country. Therefore, at first, I wished to shoot these two women and the possible convergence and intersection between their lives. They had something to reveal about the unexpected nature of the meetings and how the upcoming consequences reverberate in their lives fates. This has become the films central point.

Secondly, I was interested in creating a portrait of the city where I live. I have also arrived in Belo Horizonte as a migrant almost twenty years ago, and I ended up staying in town, even though I've never planned it in advance. It's appealing to shoot a place that apparently has no distinguishing interest, in a sense that it is not a renowned touristic town, there’s no peculiar beauty and where we find more emigrants than immigrants. However, it is also a place where nearly three million people choose to live. The film is not intended to approach it all, but it risks covering a particular route, which is the Belo Horizonte experienced by Teresa (the name taken by the second Francisca in the film) and Francisca, and also my Belo Horizonte.

In order to tell this story, I aimed to depict fragments from both the reality and the imaginary of this people and places. Thus, based on real experiences and real people, we created a fictional script, which was then returned and reworked by the film’s characters during the shooting. The fictional base was a new approach to test some limits that I had come through on previous works in the documentary field. It was a distinct way to come closer to each character and, in a certain way, achieve the intimacy and creativity freedom that sometimes I was unable to access in other films. The people I shot were released of possible hesitancies as they were somehow protected by the fictional nature of the project. As a result, they were able to expose themselves more openly, cutting the ties and possible disguises, at ease and more detached from their own conscious image. Consequently, fiction then worked as a documentary method, combining two states or stages in one time: what each character is and what he could be.
This approach was a way to bond both my own feelings and the feelings of the ones I shoot. My real and imaginary world, merged with the character’s real and imaginary world. It was also a way of approaching places and people of my daily life. The shootings were often held at friends' homes, neighborhoods where we live, places that are familiar to us, presenting characters that are part of the city for me, or had become part of it, as we experienced the project development. In this work, the reality fed the fiction and vice versa, fiction transformed the lives and perceptions of those who created it, and this reverberated back through the film's images. The story of Francisca and Teresa is the story of this meeting and also the portrait of a place, the city and the country where I live - Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in 2015.