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By David Pountain

Watch Love Letters Are Ridiculous on FilmDooalvarina-foto

Alvarina Souza Silva’s Love Letters Are Ridiculous is a mid-20th century period drama that observes traditional values through relatively modern, revisionist eyes. Through its intertwined narratives of love, marriage and tragedy centred on a Brazilian family with five daughters, the film explores the social pressures and codes of honour that can constrict a person’s life path.

Speaking to FilmDoo, the director discusses her inspiration for this new ensemble film.

What made you want to make this film and tell these stories?

When I was a child I was very impressed with the stories my grandmother told about many women who were married by proxy without knowing their future husbands. We lived in a small town, and one day I saw a neighbor being arrested. I asked my mother why and she said that he was being forced to marry because he had dishonored a girl who was still a minor. These stories touched me a lot.

Was it a challenging process to recreate the look and feel of the film’s late-1950s Goias setting?

I wrote this screenplay for nearly 40 years. Of course the last treatment had very little of the first. The script has been changing over the years and following my maturation in a general way. For years I worked as a producer and was thinking as a producer, writer and director. When the film happened, we had very little time and money to shoot. But we found the perfect city as the main location: A city listed by UNESCO as a historical heritage. It was the most perfect set and it was ready for us (and the film).

What was the inspiration for the Fernando Pessoa quotes that are used in the film?

Fernando Pessoa is the most important poet of the Portuguese language. So he has always been in my life, being quoted by someone. He is always current and necessary.

"...not having freedom of choice and being condemned to live with someone without love is something unthinkable for me."
“…not having freedom of choice and being condemned to live with someone without love is something unthinkable for me.”

Are there any other poets, authors or works of literature that you drew inspiration from for Love Letters Are Ridiculous?

Yes, I’m from Goiás. In the city that we shot, in the house near the bridge that is shown in the film, lived Cora Coralina, one of the most important Brazilian writers. The last three poems that are in the film are hers.

Do you feel that the dilemmas faced by the film’s various family members are still relevant and relatable today?

Absolutely. Unfortunately, 50 per cent of marriages all over the world are still arranged. Not being able to choose, not having freedom of choice and being condemned to live with someone without love is something unthinkable for me.

Are you working on any new projects at the moment?

Yes, several. Writing and dreaming about making a project feeds my life. Realizing it is always complicated and the day-by-day of this process is very exhausting. So I always have more than one project being developed.

Watch Love Letters Are Ridiculous on FilmDoo.

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