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In the Intense Now

A film by João Moreira Salles

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Made following the discovery of amateur footage shot in China in 1966 during the first and most radical stage of the Cultural Revolution, IN THE INTENSE NOW speaks to the fleeting nature of moments of great intensity. Scenes of China are set alongside archival images of the events of 1968 in France, Czechoslovakia, and, to a lesser extent, Brazil. In keeping with the tradition of the film-essay, they serve to investigate how the people who took part in those events continued onward after passions had cooled. The footage, all of it archival, not only reveals the state of mind of those filmed—joy, enchantment, fear, disappointment, dismay—but also sheds light on the relationship between a document and its political context. What can one say of Paris, Prague, Rio de Janeiro, or Beijing by looking at the images of the period? Why did each of these cities produce a specific sort of record?

Narrated in first person, the film reflects on that which is revealed by four sets of images: footage of the French students' uprising in May of 1968; the images captured by amateurs during the invasion of Czechoslovakia in August of the same year, when forces led by the Soviet Union put an end to the Prague Spring; shots of the funerals of students, workers, and police officers killed during the events of 1968 in the cities of Paris, Lyon, Prague, and Rio de Janeiro; and the scenes that a tourist—the director's mother—filmed in China in 1966, the year of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.

"Find solace, enlightenment and surprise in João Moreira Salles’s 'In the Intense Now,' a bittersweet, ruminative documentary essay." A. O. Scott, The New York Times

"Melancholy, inspiring and evocative."
J. Hoberman, The New York Review of Books

"One of the 10 best films of Berlin Film Festival! Remarkably resonant and personal."
Owen Gleiberman, Variety

"Spellbinding! The [Chicago Film Festival's] most ambitious documentary is a meditation on cameras in times of polical spectacle." Bill Stamets, Chicago Sun-Times

"Recommended! A dazzling, true-world dreamscape; deeply personal even as the kaleidoscopic imagery bursts forth in grandiloquent poetry. Cataclysm awaits. So much history ahead. Such dense, ordered beauty behind." Ray Pride, Newcity Film

"A rich, immersive contemplation of the emotional battery life of revolutions, Brazilian filmmaker João Moreira Salles' remarkable, deeply felt essay film 'In the Intense Now' examines 1968's turbulence in four countries through the prism of what its amateur documentarians filmed." Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

"Deeply personal; a document of an incendiary time when hope, along with the stench of tear gas and gunfire, was in the air." Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor

"Mesmerizing and enlightening. Valuable to those interested in documentary filmmaking and twentieth century socio-policial history; delves admirably into the fields of activism, trauma and memory. Profound and thought-provolking; a creative way to contemplate stories of human endurance in the face of oppression.”Dr. Douglas J. Weatherford, Hispania

"An amazing film; a wonderful way for people who didn’t live through this era of history to learn the different dynamics in play." Mike Kaspar, Film School Radio

Library Award and Best Soundtrack Award, 2017 Cinéma du Réel Film Festival
Best Documentary, 2017 Civil Society of Multimedia Authors (SCAM)
Panorama Selection, 2017 Berlinale Film Festival
U.S. Premiere, 2017 Chicago International Film Festival
Official Selection, 2017 It's All True International Documentary Festival
Official Selection, 2017 Buenos Aires International Film Festival (BAFICI)
Official Selection, 2017 Docaviv International Documentary Film Festival
Official Selection, 2017 Doc Against Gravity Film Festival Poland
Official Selection, 2017 Jerusalem Film Festival
Official Selection, 2017 Viennale
Official Selection, 2017 Lima Film Festival
Official Selection, 2017 Doclisboa
Official Selection, 2017 Santiago Internataional Film Festival of Chile
Official Selection, 2017 Montreal International Documentary Film Festival (RIDM)

127 minutes / Color/B&W
Portuguese / English subtitles
Release: 2017
Copyright: 2017

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This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

Subject areas:
Asia, Brazil, China, Cultural Studies, Eastern Europe, France, History (World), Latin America, Politics, Social Movements

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