TIFF 2022: Our Review of ‘Dry Ground Burning’

Posted in TIFF 2022 by - September 13, 2022
TIFF 2022: Our Review of ‘Dry Ground Burning’

Fiction and documentary blend in Dry Ground Burning, a film about Léa (Léa Alves da Silva), a biracial Brazilian woman who starts visiting her friends after finishing a period of incarceration.

When Lea isn’t making those visits, they guards an illegal oil rig that they and their half sister Chitara (Joana Darc Furtado) both run. The dystopia of it even adds a science fiction feel to Burning even if, as the film progresses, it makes it apparent that the events its depicting take place a few years back.

Joana Pimenta and Adirley Queirós also luck out on finding a character and a participant in Léa, who surprisingly fits in to this depiction of a quasi-fictional Brazil as someone who doesn’t express her gender in a 100% cis way.

Another reason it doesn’t fit into the documentary box is its access not just to its main characters or participants but to supporting versions of those people. Even footage or scenes of archetypal villains feel intrusive in a good way.

This hybrid’s only flaws are its scenes where Léa or Chitara have to talk about events that take place before the film and about the people they lose to the system and it takes a lot of charisma to make such footage compelling.

But even if this film has its tendencies to drone on, it pulls viewers back in with its aesthetic which, admittedly, may not be for everyone. Its depiction of technology and light and song will make this uniquely memorable.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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