DRY GROUND BURNING follows a fearsome outlaw Chitara in Sol Nascente, Brazil, who leads an all-female gang that siphons and steals precious oil from the authoritarian, militarized government. Just released from prison, Léa (Léa Alves Silva) returns home to the Brasilia favela of Sol Nascente and joins up with her half-sister Chitara (Joana Darc Furtado), the fearless leader of an all-female gang that steals and refines oil from underground pipes and sells gasoline to a clandestine network of motorcyclists. Living in constant opposition to Jair Bolsonaro’s fiercely authoritarian and militarized government, Chitara’s women claim the streets for themselves as a declaration of radical political resistance on behalf of ex-cons and the oppressed. Inventing its’ own cinematic language as it oscillates between a hard-edged documentary realism and dramatized explosive fantasy, DRY GROUND BURNING reunites filmmakers Joana Pimenta and Adirley Queirós (Once There Was Brasilia) presenting their unique vision of a post-apocalyptic afro-feminist matriarchal future. Co-director, co-writer and cinematographer Joana Pimenta joins us for a conversation on the film’s complicated shooting schedule, working with a blend of professional and non-professional actors, casting two sisters in the lead roles, working in Brazil as the country began to move away from the authoritarianism of Bolsonaro toward a more democratic future and her role as the Director of Film Study Center at Harvard University.
About the Filmmaker – Joana Pimenta is a filmmaker and writer from Portugal who lives and works in Lisbon, the U.S. and Brazil. Her 2016 film, An Aviation Field, premiered in competition at the Locarno Film Festival, and was screened in the Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Rotterdam, CPH:Dox, Rencontres Internationales, Oberhausen, Valdivia, Mar del Plata, Edinburgh, among others, and received the Jury Award for Best Film in Competition at Zinebi ’58. She studied film and critical media practice at Harvard, where she currently teaches film.
About the filmmaker – Adirley Queirós was born in 1970 in Brazil. After ten years as a professional football player, he completed a degree in film studies. Since 2005, he has made a number of films, including White Out, Black In (2014) and Once There Was Brasília (2017). His work has screened at numerous international film festivals including Locarno, Berlinale, Rotterdam, New York, Jeonju, Toronto, Cinéma du Réel, AFI Fest, Viennale, and Mar del Plata.
“A politically incendiary ethnographic sci-fi…. In Dry Ground Burning, the future isn’t just female: it is Black, lesbian, profoundly matriarchal.” – Ela Bittencourt, Sight and Sound
“An astonishing work of survival and resilience… packs a pulpy punch, yet is also rooted in an urgent political reality.” – Phuong Le, The Guardian
“A meticulous blend of fact and fiction… layered with suggestions of Westerns, gangster films, and even science fiction, all rooted in the real contemporary.” – Ben R. Nicholson, Hyperallergic
“Dry Ground Burning is laden with political sentiment, but also caring of its subjects and their raw intimacy: a surprisingly gentle look, free of all aestheticization.” – Savina Petkova, WeLoveCinema