Weeks of sand, months of ash, years of dust
Film • 19′ 20″ • sound (ST) • PT w/ EN subtitles • 2020
Through the form of a personal yet distant essay film, Weeks of sand, months of ash, years of dust introduces Macao, a former Portuguese colony handed over back to China in 1999.
Having partly grown up in Macao, the filmmaker revisits the learned history of this territory from a portuguese perspective, addressing post-imperial forms of disavowed political affect alongside the progressing dementia of her own mother.
Carefully positioning personal loss next to reflections on colonial narratives, the film ponders questions of looking back into a troubled past from the instability of a presently self-erasing memory.
‘I look at you and I see your gaze devouring the world, but I have no idea what world is being devoured.’
To gaze back is neither factual nor neutral contemplation, but the active revision of narratives and the retelling of stories to ourselves and to others. A reinterpretation and reevaluation of events and relationships, taken into consideration under the light of the spatial and temporal location from which the very gaze occurs.
Akin to beaches emptied of sand due to unconstrained extraction and areas of new territory, consequence of numerous landfills, so is memory an active site of narrative topographies in constant transformation.
We find ourselves in a Macau of nowadays, but in a Macau of the past as well. How does one gaze back? How does one deal with the mainstream narrative that isolates this territory from a wider colonial history and obscures the imperialist ambitions of the time, while justifying the circumstance of its existence as the reward to an isolated act?
We find ourselves in a Macau that is the backdrop to personal memories. Memories shared by a mother who has lost the capacity of remembering and sharing her reality.
Weeks of sand, months of ash, years of dust is a film about intertwined historico-geographical, colonial, personal narratives that converge in a composite reading of one through the other. The narratives are not the vehicle of the film, but rather the protagonists, developing in parallel, in several directions, vast and particular at the same time.
What is, really, the access to memory? The unarchiving of the stories of invisible things. Or of the invisible stories of things without visibility?
Written, directed and edited by Rita Macedo • Camera Rita Macedo • Additional Camera Leonor Macedo • Text + Editing + Sound Rita Macedo • Original soundtrack by COOL FOR YOU • With the kind support of Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe