Sunday November 8, 7:30pm
Jean Genet’s “The Balcony” directed by Victor Garcia and filmed by Jorge Bodanzky
followed by Ines Cardoso’s “Cocais, the Reinvented Town”

Introduced by Ines Cardoso

O Balcao (The Balcony)

O Balcão (The Balcony) directed by Victor Carcia at the Ruth Escobar Theatre (1969, São Paulo, Brazil)

We are pleased to welcome to the gallery artist Ines Cardoso visiting from São Paolo to present the rare film shot by Jorge Bodanzky of the legendary 1969 Brazilian production of Jean Genet’s play The Balcony and her own short video Cocais, The Reinvented Town shot in an around the public mental hospital in the town of the same name.  

O Balcão (The Balcony) was directed by Victor Garcia in São Paulo at the Ruth Escobar Theatre run by Cardoso’s mother, who also starred in the production, with an extraordinary set designed by her father Wladimir Cardoso. The production, which took place during a time of military dictatorship, not only won 13 critics’ awards running for 20 consecutive months, but was considered by Genet himself – who travelled to Brazil in 1970 to see it – the best presentation of his play. In Garcia’s incarnation the audience observed the action from balconies built around a massive 65 feet high circular structure of steel and plastic, the actors performing on platforms, ladders or other mechanical constructions. Garcia wanted the public to feel suspended in a void, being surrounded by precipices.

“The impact of the mechanical boldness of The Balcony aesthetically translated the dreamlike, poetic and radical Genet masterpiece. He himself came to visit us in mid 1970, and stayed with us as our house guest. He was a creative genius and an extraordinary human being, truly responsible, in great part, for my early political awareness.  Ruth had called him to come and exert his influence toward the release of actress Nilda Maria (whose character in the play, Chantal, shelters the politically persecuted hero), who had been arrested by the regime on suspicion of political forbidden activity.” – Ines Cardoso

Cardoso’s 2008 short video work Cocais, the Reinvented Town will open the evening. For this 15-minute work Cardoso recorded patients and employees of an asylum in the Brazilian village of Cocais where the artist spent almost a year. Shooting festive scenes from a wedding celebration with other residents, Cardoso shifts meanings and categories, mixing dream and reality, sanity and madness, while narrating the “story of a town that reinvented itself through a movie, or the story of a movie invented by a town”.

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Ines Cardoso is an artist working with film and video based in São Paulo, Brazil. Her work, ranging from movies to installations and interactive projects, have shown among others at Videobrasil (São Paulo, BR), Kunst Film Biennale (Cologne, GE), Tate Modern (London, UK), and she has received more than 20 awards including the Revelation Award at Videobrasil in 1994, the Excellence Award at the JVC Tokyo Video Festival, and in 2008 the Award for Achievement in Documentary received from the Municipal Secretary of Culture of São Paulo.


Still from “Cocais, The Reinvented Town” (Ines Cardoso, 2008) – image courtesy of the artist

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