Brazilian filmmaker and photographer Marcella Dahl's Lost Carnival tells the story about the first year in Brazil's history without one of its most important cultural events, the annual carnival. Imagery shot inside São Paulo's samba schools shows carnival floats, once alive and moving, now very much still. They symbolise the city's loss this year; with the carnival cancelled due to the pandemic, people's community and those that depend on it are on pause.
What does carnival mean to you? This was one of the questions asked during the interviews that shows us different points of view from the professionals of this industry that gives voice to so many people and supports so many families. Some might say that not only is the celebration of a culture, but it is also a political act.
The purpose of the film is to transmit a nostalgic and melancholic feeling but also the hope of the day we'll be able to go out in the streets and celebrate carnival again.
Marcella Dahl 'Making this film was a new adventure for me as it's my first one as a director. The idea began with this nostalgic feeling we call "saudade" in portuguese that has no translation, which is the feeling of missing someone or something deeply and that's how I felt about carnival. To me, carnival is Brazil's essence, is the celebration of this rich culture, the celebration of freedom, music and the time where us Brazilians can express ourselves the most.
But what most foreign people don't know is that behind this beautiful turistic cultural event, there's a billionaire industry that so many families depend on, and these people have been extremely impacted by the pandemic. The samba schools, as we call them, are samba clubs that compete against each other on the parade to win as the best school of the year and each year they tell a different story which has the responsibility of approaching subjects such as culture, politics, social issues and the power of representation. Besides that, the schools give opportunity to the people in their own community to connect with music, costume design, art, sculpture and all the assets involving carnival and that is a massive positive social impact they have in these communities.
My inspirations to create a melancholic mood was Georges Méliès movies, the serie "Carnaval" from photographer Claudio Edinger and old archive pictures of carnival in Rio. So to show both beauty and reality, I decided to do a black and white fashion film mixed with documentary, with both models acting on it and the professionals that work for the samba schools telling their experience with carnival and what is means to them. I was quite an emotional experience for me to hear their stories, some of them got COVID last year and were at the hospital for a while, some of them lost members of their families, and also to hear how carnival and the samba schools have given meaning to people's lives, how it changed their lives forever.'
Director: Marcella Dahl @marcelladahl
Director of Photography: Pedro Millás @groovy.bats
First Assistant: Jhonathan Serrano @mind.gaze
Art Director: Marcella Dahl @marcelladahl
Photographer and Retoucher: Marina Bernardo @marinabernardo
Stylist: Marcella Dahl @marcelladahl
Stylist Assistant: Camila Arruda @camiarruda_
Editor: Pedro Millás @groovy.bats
Color Grading: Jhonathan Serrano @mind.gaze
Sound Mix: Guilherme Francischi @gui.francischi
Music: "Ma-Lida" by Di Melo
Executive Producer: Marina Acrina @marinaacrina
Set Design and Accessory Design: Luiz Toledo @lf_toledo
MUA and Hair Stylist: Janaina Marques @ajanamarques
Casting: Thiago Zampieri @_thiagozampieri_ @anotheragency_ and Mariana Gracianno @mary_gracianno @contraste.mgt
Styling: @led_cd @cancanacessorios @raqueldecarvalho_ @soulibertina @minhavotinha @casajuisi
Anselmo Brito - Creative Director at Pérola Negra samba school
Estêvão José Gomes - Sculptor at Pérola Negra samba school
Flávio Campelo - Creative Director at Tom Maior samba school
Wendel Miranda - Sculptor at Tom Maior samba school
Special Thanks: Pérola Negra samba school @oficialperolanegra and Tom Maior samba school @grestommaior