*Hommage Cinemateca Brasileira*
Peixoto’s synthesis of the many different schools of silent cinema has been rightfully emphasized throughout the years. His unique style collides a sophisticated understanding of Griffith’s decoupage with Soviet montage, existential motifs sipped from the waters of French impressionism, and expressive camera work inspired by German cinema. The cinematography is taken to unforeseen extremes by the extraordinarily inventive work of director of photography Edgar Brasil – himself German-born – who built camera cranes and dollies to fulfill and expand the director’s vision, and stretched the film’s latitude to capture the tropical sun in its ravishing fury. Yet what could seem like a superficial stylistic collage is only the loose thread leading to the deep pattern of contrasts and heterogeneity that makes this such a singular film.
LIMITE is both poetry and prose; a metaphor about the inexorability of the human condition as much as it is an experience of tactile memories, salty wind and sunburnt skin. The film reveals depth by adhering to the surface, finding common ground for Robert Flaherty’s direct approach (the near absence of makeup, the fraying costumes, the merciless glow of the sun) and Man Ray’s exploration of film as a flat canvas (of fabric, of sand, of newspaper headlines). The shots alternate between perspectives, using the camera as a polyphonic narrator: it can “see” as a character, as the wind, as the wheel of a train, creating a rhythmic experience that aspires to transcend physicality yet is always pulled back to the physical world, much like the stranded boat.
Fábio Andrade, in: The Criterion Collection, May 31, 2007