- Directed by Thiago Rodrigues -
Ever thought about organizing a road trip in Brazil? All the exotic locations, tropical beaches, fantastic sunsets... but also a glimpse into the country’s less happy places? Well, there’s no need to search for footage on YouTube anymore. ‘Bahia Delivery’, a short experimental documentary, sets out to offer an authentic portrayal of the Eastern Bahia province of Brazil, with all its characterizing elements.
The film doesn’t offer much in terms of storytelling, featuring two guys making several deliveries around the countryside and in the towns of the Bahia province. They occasionally stop to ask for directions, find various places to get some rest and maybe engage with the locals a little bit, then a couple of hours later they’re off again, with more deliveries on the horizon. This collection of short shots, put together in a way that resembles someone checking their phone videos after coming back from a trip, provides an antithesis between the beauty of the Brazilian landscape and the poverty of these areas. The images shift from a line of palm trees majestically basking in the early morning sunlight to a favela, where a truckload full of workers departs, while a couple of children happily play in the mud.
The editing of these shots is what you’d expect from an experimental project: it’s experimental. The image rotates here and pans out there, but in a totally random fashion, feeling more like an exhibition of the various effects that a video editing software can offer rather than a thoughtful, value-adding process. The music, however, works wonderfully: it’s Brazilian, it’s authentic, and the amount used is just right in order to be noticed, but in the same time does not detract from the viewing experience.
Despite the interesting idea, ‘Bahia Delivery’ doesn’t manage to be anything more than the sum of its parts. The runtime of 30 minutes plus doesn’t do it any favours, either, as it becomes harder and harder to maintain the same level of interest in a continuous slideshow of 5 second videos, no matter how beautifully shot some of them might be. A considerably shorter ‘Bahia Delivery’ would still maintain its essence and particular charm, while being much more bearable for a potential audience. The essence, as the two drivers agree during their longest conversation, is that, in spite of all the difficulties of the job and all the poverty they witness everyday, there’s nothing else that they’d rather do, and nowhere else they’d rather do it. Their love for Bahia eclipses everything else.