The Midnight Man
(Homen da Meia Noite)
Paolo Santagostino, Italy, 2006, 16 mins
Olinda, Brazil, is the setting for this short and colourful documentary. Without commentary, the film immerses us in the contrasts, music and vitality of carnival. From the elegant movements of the Frevo dancers, to the piles of rubbish gathered in the streets at sunset, and from the children playing bare foot in front of the church, to the chaotic ladeiras full of people and puppets.
Garlic and Watermelons
Cameron Hickey and Lauren Feeney
USA/Greece, 2006, 56 mins
Greek (English sub-titles)
Set with the Athens 2004 Olympics just over a year away, forty Gypsy families are forced to abandon their settlement next to the main stadium so that the land can be used for a parking lot. The film follows Prokopis Nikolau, a watermelon seller who has lived his entire life in this settlement, as he struggles to find a new home for himself and his family. The local mayor agreed to pay the Roma rent subsidies in exchange for vacating the land, but the money proves elusive and the families are forced to move from place to place due to evictions and sub-standard living conditions. Feeling angry and fooled, Prokopis becomes an unofficial spokesman for the forty families; fighting for both their dignity and the money they were promised. He meets with human rights activists, takes his battle with the major to the courts, and shares his story with the international media that descend on Athens in the weeks leading up to the Olympic Games.