Porto Alegre, Brazil. My memories come back to the first World Social Forums, the fights against liberal globalisation, the many faces, ideas, smiles, in the first years of last decade. Who would ever imagine that Porto Alegre could someday become theatre of a desert and post-apocalyptic world, populated by zombies and bloody demons, and a few surviving human beings?
My unconscious has been partly upset by Davi de Oliveira Pinheiro, young brazilian director. He worked his ass off to make his first movie true in 2011, Porto Dos Mortos – Beyond The Grave, after a rich amount of documentaries and shorts.
Then he started traveling, and still keeps on doing it, well welcomed, through more than 70 festivals in USA, Latin America, Europe and Asia. Lockheart, the Isidoro B. Guggiana creature, produced this movie, poor of money but extremely rich of ideas: i wouldn’t be surprised at all if tomorrow Robert Rodriguez should decide to remake it, also because it has some shared points with his Mariachi.
Talking about shared points and visions, Beyond The Grave has some of them with The Rambler too: they both dress like a shabby road-movie and bad trip, but with different doses and effects.
While bunches of zombies carry themselves around almost motionless and not so hungry, and bunches of humans try to survive, a police officer is roaming in the desert Porto Alegre hunting the dark rider, kind of a demon that takes the bodies of humans he meets, and comes back to life everytime the officer kills him.
“Beware of the walking dude”
We follow the officer’s desperate and stubborn trip among pregnant women armed with a crossbow, silent and brave teenagers, mad satanists and the sound of a harmonica, able to let ears and eyes bleed (literally). He has no name, like The Rambler, he is just The Officer. He keeps on doing his job tenacious as a sort of zombie, despite the world in ruins, and never forgets to flip the flashing light on the car’s roof.
Against the poor economic resources, or maybe just because of them, the director is great at giving the movie a very strong visionary power. Apocalypse almost wiped out humans, but planet earth is undamaged and lush: what we see isn’t much, but what we “feel” is very much, something’s living offscreen, at the edges of the frame. It’s a kind of psyco-horror version of the “act locally, think globally” slogan.
Zombies are also originally approached: we feel they are kind of victims, almost harmless and prisoners of the dark rider’s will, even if he doesn’t seem to care a lot. He just leave them eternally roaming. The only existing radio broadcast is an infinite apocalyptic speech made by a mysterious survivor, and the word “hope” is absolutely banned, and cruelly violated by a deep black and cold-blooded script.
In fact, one of the few bites scored by the zombies in the movie, kills a young pregnant woman.
Porto Dos Mortos (aka Beyond The Grave)
Davi de Oliveira Pinheiro