Tão longe é aqui (2013) - full transcript

Memories kept from a long trip are the inspiration for a letter to be sent to the future. Alone, away from home and about to complete 30 years-old, a Brazilian woman goes on a journey to Africa. On the letter to her daughter, she describes how she met women who live in perfect harmony with their cultures and times. 'Here Is So Far' is a journal, a road movie and an invitation to all people who trace their own path.

The images in this film were shot by Eliza Capai
during a solo seven-month trip through Africa.

The first cut of this film was made
possible through crowdfunding.

Dear daughter

My dear daughter

I'm crossing the
Atlantic for the first time

from Brazil to Africa

I'm alone with a
backpack, a camera,

a microphone,
producing some stories.

I've never left
to go so far.

I didn't plan very much;
I left without an itinerary.

I want to share with you what
I've found along the way.

I hope you're well when you receive
this letter, Daughter.

I wonder when that will be.

On the plane,
I dreamt of an African woman

It had been a while
since I had dreamt at all.

She came over,
looked at me,

and called to me in a language
I didn't understand

I said "I was
looking for you!"

and she said "no, that's not me,
but I know where she is"

She introduced her family,

took me for a walk,

...then vanished.

And I stayed there.

(in-flight announcements)

I've arrived in Cape Verde,

and in a few days,
I'll be thirty years old.

For the first time,
I felt this fear.

Fear that there
won't be enough time

to do everything I want to do.

I want to give you this letter
once you also turn thirty.

I wonder if I've managed
to wait that long?

So, I'll start asking you
to present yourself,

saying your name
and profession.

My name is Fatima

and my profession is
selling clothes and shoes.

When I was fourteen I started
work as a housekeeper,

I earned 60 escudos a month.

And then I continued, continued,
continued, continued,

until I was earning 80
escudos, then 130.

And from 130 I went to 200,
from 200 to 300,

and then I started buying
second-hand clothes.

That?s when I picked up
the taste for selling!

Once I started selling
I started buying

and selling and I started
seeing some money.

I kept seeing money, and
I haven?t stopped since.

That?s how
I started my life.

And I really like
my life and my work

because everything
I wanted, I got.

Everything I wanted, I got.

Do you have any dreams
you still haven't realized?

No, I won't tell you the dream
I still haven't realized.

When I can,
when some day,

if I can make this
dream come true,

that I ask to realize every day,
I'll reveal it to you.

But now I can't.

I'm going to follow you.

What do you imagine you'll be doing
when you're thirty, when you're my age?

I'm going to finish my studies so
I can have my own work.

So I don't have to work
in someone else's home

Because when
my mom works

in people?s houses,
I feel bad for her.

Because she doesn?t
have schooling.

And that?s why I don?t like
to work in people?s houses.

Because when I have my own work,
when I know it's steady,

I won't be here.

I?m going to live
somewhere else.

- What is your name?
- Windia.

My mom is a teacher,
she teaches literacy.

I want to be a doctor.

Because I like medicine.
My dad is a doctor.

He takes care of the wounded.
He is in Guinea.

In Guinea there are no jobs,
there?s no way to make a life.

I came here when I was eight.
I like it here, I like Cape Verde.

I like the kids, too.

- Why?
- Because they play some games

we never played in Guinea.

I have clothes
from Guinea here!

This one!

In Guinea, we wear long clothes,
we don?t wear short clothes.

The fairy godmother said
"go to the ball and enjoy yourself,

but remember that you
must return before midnight,

?Because, at the sound of
the last chime at midnight,

everything will return
to how it was?

- If a fairy godmother appeared,
what would you ask her for?

- I would ask for a new house,
a beautiful house,

with a room of my own,
a room for my sister,

and a room for my mother.

I like to read books,
I like to write, I like to recite.

- Do you remember a book
that you really like to read?

- Which one?
- The Cinderella book.

- Why do you like it?

Because I like the character.


It's a good name for a daughter.

You could be a Windia.

I kept looking at her
and thinking of you.

What would it be like,
If you had been born here?

If you had been born in
a village with no water?

You?d fetch water from the well.

Take care of your brother.

You seldom see your mom, me.

You read a lot, imagined a lot.

And your imagination was powerful.

Sometimes, you imagined
that you were walking to the well

and somehow,

water appeared at home.

You wished for a beautiful
dress for your mom

and an even more
beautiful one appeared.

But there was a certain...
a certain secret.

You didn't really understand
how you imagined,

and were afraid that your imagination
would leave someday,

like your dad, who left to live in another
country and never returned.

From your dad, you kept one or two stories

that you would tell yourself in silence every night,
before you fell a sleep. Every day you changed one word

until one day...

I?ve arrived in Morocco.

It's my first time
in a Muslim country.

I asked for some kind of couscous.

I didn?t understand the menu very well.

Daughter, I was the only woman there.

The others were in
the street, passing by.

Ah, a woman tourist!

No, not a tourist. She is from the same
planet as Morocco.

Fatima and Lalla meet
here every evening.

They like to look at the sea.


They like to see God?s
house over the sea.

Fatima is a virgin,

she waits for the day
when her mother will

show her a picture
of her future husband.

Assia saw her
future husband?s picture when she was 17.

Well, they arranged my marriage
through family members.

We got married and
I didn?t like him

and I couldn?t even be near him.

I would cry all day and night.

And I wanted to leave
and he wouldn?t let me...

Because my mother was abroad,
so I couldn?t leave or do anything.

So what I did, instead, was to say
that when I would take a vacation,

I would go visit her then come back.

I had to leave to work,
and I left and didn?t come back.

Until I got the divorce.

So I spent three years
with friendships, only.

No boyfriends.

Truthfully, because this
story left a mark on me.

Because with this marriage
I felt like I was being raped.

I didn?t feel like I was married
to someone who I loved, or liked.

I felt like I was being raped
at every moment.

It was horrible, really.

Why am I part of my society?

Or why am I part of the African society?

Do you feel that you are
part of African society?

Yes, I feel African.

You know, I'm going to give you
a very personal answer.

Yeah, no, that's the idea

Yes. I mean, at a spiritual level...
why am I speaking in English?

Because I am
speaking in English. Pardon!


As to the question of identity,
I'll respond in a personal way.

I feel African, I feel Arab, and I feel
profoundly Mediterranean.

I would say that the big reform that
would change the life of women

is getting over
the idea of obedience.

by overriding
the idea of obedience.

Before a woman was
obliged to obey her husband

as a legal disposition.

The fact is a new reciprocal,

non unilateral
relationship was created

The judge is who decides
the divorce and polygamy.

It is not annulled
but controlled.

The judge allows the man
to have a second or third wife.

But now things
outside of marriage,

these are treated
within the penal codes

because in Morocco sexual relations
outside of marriage are forbidden.

It is a penal crime
punishable by prison.

It?s very easy to say that
the person wearing a veil or beard

is the intolerant one,
the dogmatic one, the one that...

Because they are the ones

who treat everybody
else like infidels,

like heretics,
that they?re aggressive..

Yes, it?s true! Because to make
this judgement is really easy, right?

Because it?s visible
and they speak openly,

even more in
the present context,

in the fight against terrorism,
with all the instability...

But intolerance on the other side
is exactly the same.

All this is to say
that intolerance....

The excessive Occidentalism is
also a form of intolerance,

because it becomes
dogma at the moment

at which I think
that I am right,

and that other people should be doing
what I?m doing in order to be right,

and that they?re not like me,
they?re not right,

and that I should
attack and denigrate

any kind of ideology,
that?s intolerance.

The girls want men who look them
in the eyes, and not below!

And I think that?s
also a message of the veil,

to look a woman in the eyes,
and not below them.

That?s the philosophy, kind of,

but it also works with
feminist philosophy:

to say we?re not
only a body.

Thank you.

You can explain
that I'm Brazilian

and I'm doing some
videos about women...

Is there something like...

the eyes, the expressions,
the things that she..., the clothes,

I don't know how
to say it in French

that makes her feel that she is a Berber,
or that she's from this region,

something that she feels
that is part of this group?

I understand, I understand.

Would you wear a veil if you lived here?

What will Morocco be like
when you're my age?

If you were Moroccan,
you would have divorced Farid.


If you were Moroccan,
you'd be married to Farid.

One morning,

Farid woke up and
found three men beside him.

He found it strange,

and woke up without making any noise,
so they wouldn't wake up.

He went to the kitchen,
and found you.

He was going to ask for tea,
but you were faster:

"today you do the dishes
and get the groceries."

Farid thought it best
not to say anything.

He went off to the market.

The streets look
like the same

except all the women
were without veils,

and looked right at him.

Seeing the women
like that startled Farid,

who was slow to realize that it was the men
who had their heads covered.

A little embarrassed, Farid bought a veil, under
the punitive eye of the female shopkeeper.

He took the groceries home,
and fell asleep in the bathroom

hoping that this
reality would disappear.

I?ve arrived in the
capital of Mali,

2,000 km from Marrakech.

Bus station.

The white girl! It's the white girl!

I was the only white
person on the street.

I don't think I've ever been the
only white person anywhere.

I was embarrassed.

I waited three hours
for the bus to leave.

I arrived in Dogon.

It's so dry. And hot.

A bunch of little kids
all over the place.

I couldn't understand who
lived where I was staying,

which kid belonged to whom.

It's because you're filming.

You can do all the
things you want to do.


How are you?

How are you?

What's your name?

What do you like to do?

Here they speak Dogon.

Can I go with you?

Can I go there with you?


I slept on the roof of this room.

Hawa sleeps in the room.

Hawa teaches at the school.

She's the only woman
I met who spoke French.

She's the homeowner's second wife.

- And you live here...?
-Yes, she lives on the other side.

- If she worked yesterday,
then I work today.

Tomorrow, then,
it?s her turn.

It?s like that,
little by little.

- And where does she live?
- Next door. Yes!

- And is there a rule for choosing
who he?s going to sleep with..

- Uh huh!
- How does that work?

- Yes!
- How... How does that work?

- Explain it to me a little.
- Well, on the day that you

you?ve prepared yourself..
well, that?s the day

your husband
sleeps with you! Yes!

- I have a daughter.
Here she is! Her name is Edugon!

-She?s adorable!

Is there something that makes you think
"yes, this is a Dogon woman?

I am different from
other women because..."

You are Brazilian? No, here in Pays Dogon,
all the women are the same.

What makes us different, for example?

- The difference between you and I?
- Yes.

- You are white and I am black.
- Ok.

It must be so tiring.
Women here work so much

So much. So much.

It's astonishing.

We work a lot here.
We have a lot to do.

And here, since you have so many
tourists that come to the house ...

They come because.. the whites come...
they come to Pays Dogon because...

The whites, they...

They come to Pays Dogon,
because where you?re from

it?s incredible, right?

You don?t have any
of this there, right?

Women don?t
work very much.

Over there in the city a lot of
people speak French,

they?re civilized,
they go to school and

here we have darkness

but there?s no darkness in the city,
there?s light.

At night, everything is lit up.
Here we have darkness.

He asked me "are you doing this for
free or for money?" I told him I didn't know.


I had never paid for
an interview before.

I took a walk by myself.

I sat down to
read the guidebook.

It said Mali is one of the
poorest countries in the world.

And that if you were only
going to visit one place,

to come here to Dogon,

that its history is
thousands of years old,

its architecture is unique,

that the families have
polygamous nuclei,

and that they practice
female circumcision.

So I closed the book.

I should write a piece
on this, daughter.

But I can't.

I would look at these girls and....

I would look at these girls and....

Everything is all cut up.

How does...

... the body react?

Do they have the same

...that I do?

Does it matter here?

Too far...

I meet the African
woman again.

She looks at me.

I look at her.

She and the other
women were all mixed up.

Watchbands as necklaces.

Buttons instead of earrings.

I?m taking note of everything

and analyzing
everything that is wrong.

They look at me.

They look at everything
that is wrong with me.

They think my
color is strange.

Even my texture.

My small breasts,

my lack of muscle tone,

my earrings where
my buttons should be,

my necklace where
my watch should be.

I ended up right in the middle of a village party.

I didn't understand anything.

It was like there
were only men there.

I felt so sad being there alone.

I thought of him,

remembered him, who
I'd come so far to forget.

The guide was two hours late.

He came straight from the party.

We went to the
neighboring village.

Lunch. 40 degrees.

The guide fell asleep.

I don't even really
know where I am.

Daughter, if you
were born here ....

There's no fucking way
you'd have been born here.

You were placed there.

At least, you felt like you had been.

You went through everything that a
girl from there goes through:



all of it.

Sometimes you dreamt that you
belonged somewhere else.

A scar, a scar on your back looked
like a sign from a faraway place,

a faraway life,

and bled every time
you saw something wrong.

One day,

One day, my daughter,

your back bled too much.

More than you could stand.


I don't want to imagine this anymore.

I waited an hour.

He didn't wake up.

So I left.

I needed to talk to someone

I needed to listen to someone.

Well, I think you don?t
behave like we do.

You have your behaviors,
the men and the women,

and you talk to each other.

And here, men are on one
side and women on the other.

- A man can marry more
than one woman, right?

I would like that...
because in my country,

that?s not possible.
That?s forbidden.

- Really?
- Yes. If a man is married

to two women, he goes to prison.
- Oh no!!!

- It's true!
And I would like to understand this,

because for me it?s the same reaction
that you just had right now, saying

?What? A man can marry two
women? Impossible!!?

- No, it?s not possible,
it?s not good, and I don?t like it....

- Are you married?
- No, no... I?m still not married.

- When I?m your age,
30, I'll say:

"now I want to get married."

- I think marriage would
be difficult for me.

I came back early from Dogon

I couldn't work on the piece
I needed to write.

I couldn't understand anything.

I travelled this week
in Pays Dogon.

For me it was very
hard to understand,

Because I encountered
polygamy for the first time

and female circumcision
which I had never seen.

And I really hate
the arrogance

of coming from a different
culture and saying:

?this isn?t good", ?this is good"...
but it?s hard to understand, right?

But with this I can...

- Reflect.
- Reflect, exactly.

I think it?s appropriate that
each society produce its own analysis.

There is no perfect model
for women?s situations.

It's true that women have problems in
Africa, as they do in Europe, or in Brazil.

The situations are different, and I think it's
time that women speak for themselves.

We can't emancipate
women on their behalf.

As we can't emancipate Africa without
the participation of the Africans themselves.

Nowadays, when I see the situation
of women, with the crisis...

There are a lot of men who
lost their jobs.

And it?s the women
who support their families.

It?s the women who paint the houses,
who feed the children.

But today, even when it?s the
woman who earns the money,

she doesn?t show it.

She gives society
the impression

that it?s the man
who supports the family.

Because she?ll also
protect the man,

who is very
fragile these days.

And so we don?t find it necessary
to make the men even more vulnerable.

We don?t work with that logic.

With the feminist movement,
the women fought, in Europe,

for the right to
be equal to men. But it?s that...

It?s true that they won a lot,
the women are emancipated.

But the models are different,
the societal structure is different.

Copying these models
from the North

we can create a gap
between men and women.

Because the economic situation

doesn?t allow us to
approach the problem

in the same way.

Here, we need solidarity with men.

The men and the
women are the family.

Me, I?m married to a Dutch man.

I go to the Netherlands and

see so many women alone!

And it?s incredible,
the solitude of the women there,

who work, who spend
no time with their children...

These are societies that
become individualistic,

where there aren?t couples anymore.

I was born in a country
where there aren?t couples anymore.

I was born in Brazil.

I'm almost thirty.

Almost thirty.


I gave my soul,

I gave my body,

my time,


to a man.

A man

a man who didn't see me.

Every day he came
home with a new mask,

and a story on his lips
which his eyes would betray.


who loved so much,

who wanted so
much to be two

and eventually
three with him,

kept transforming each
lie into a piece of clay.

And swallowing the pieces of clay,

one by one,

Until I also turned to clay.

With one last breath,

I escaped.

I packed my bags,

crossed the sea,

and vomited all the clay

in the middle of the desert.

I had to go so far

to get here.

I don't want to write this letter
to my daughter anymore.

I don't have a daughter.

No more of this silliness.

No more.

Travel Diary, Day 25

It's an eleven-hour direct flight from Mali
to here in South Africa.

I'm beat

but I want to
finish my work soon.

I want to go home.

It's almost time.

I'm all out of creativity.

I came to document a house that treats and
houses women with HIV.

I meet Patience,
the school teacher.

In 2001, she weighed 33 kg.

Can you tell anything?
What did you eat today for breakfast?

Just to see if the
audio is working.

I ate my usual breakfast
cereal, Pronutro.

Before I came to Sparrow,

I didn't know I was HIV positive.

So when I came here, that?s when I
was taken to the hospital.

That's where my diagnosis came from.

And I was like,
I started to say "But why me?"

And that thing kills people,
if you say "why me? why not you?"

Who would want to be that way?

People should stop blaming
and pointing fingers:

my husband did this,
"my wife did that" but face it.

That's when I discovered
that no, now I have HIV,

but I don't want to die.

There's a secret behind all this,
if you want to keep going.

I gave my virus a name.

And I always talk to it,
and say "you know what? "

The virus is Voning.
"You know what, Voning?

You stay here, inside me.

If you react, I'm going to sleep,
then you're going to sleep too.

We won't go everywhere! We won't go
dancing, we won't. go...you know?

If you want to enjoy life,

just stay there.

I'll go everywhere
I want to go.

You don't want to sleep
here and do nothing.

You want to go to work with me?
You want to go meet people?

So behave.

That keeps me going.

- Fantastic! Fantastic!

- Do you go out? Or go dancing?
Have boyfriends? How is your social life?

- It's very, very natural.

I think I live better now, after being diagnosed with HIV, than before,
because I know my limits.


I know my limits.

I've got a boyfriend and the first thing
I told him when I met him,

when he said "I love you," I said
"You don't know what you love. I'm HIV positive."

And he said "No" and
looked at me ...

and I said "Yeah. I don't want to put
you in a situation where you... you know?"

then he said "OK, then what?"

and I said, "I have my principles.

If you love me, this is
what you are going to do.

If you can't stand it, move on."

Travel Diary, Day 26.

I came to work on a piece about
a lesbian soccer team.

It's just here, huh?

Ok, your name and your
position on the team.

My name is Matshidiso. I'm on defense.
I'm a feminist and and activist.

And Germany,
here we come! Thank you!

Stop just a little,
just so I can focus.

When did you have a child?

I had a child in 2003.

And why?

I was raped when
I was seventeen years old.

I was coming back from church.

And the guy knows me, knows
that I am a soccer player,

he comes in the back holding a gun
and said, "let's go outside."

When we got outside,
I met another two.

The two raped me.

That's why I was pregnant.

And I lost the child. Then I
was like feeling guilty,

that Im the one who
made the baby die,

and then I just had a friend,
a guy friend and then.. we tried.

We didn't have like, a relationship.

It was just because I wanted a baby.

and then I slept with the guy.

First time, and the last time.

My mother says to me,

"are you happy now that you've
told us you're a lesbian?"

and I said "Yes, I'm happy,

and I'm proud, and I know I'll
make you proud to be who I am.?

Later she said "you may
not get married to a man,

but you can get married to a woman.

If you're happy, I'm happy.?

Even my baby girl is very happy.

She knows sometimes when I
come by with the girls,

she says "I have two moms now!"

and sometimes she says
"oh, yeah, I like that one."

I'm happy with my baby girl,
to be a lesbian mom.

- Thank you so much.
- Thanks!

Can you go there?
Just because we can see all the t-shirts.

A little more.

More again?

You're gonna be a star.

I'm going to be famous! Finally!
I've been working for this for so long!

Travel Diary, Day 27.

I met Omagugu at a show.

I offered to record a video if she would
give me a song to use in the film.

What is your dream for when
your daughter is our age?

I dream that she becomes a strong,
successful woman.

That she doesn't fear going
out there and being herself.

I think the most beautiful gift you
can give a person is to be yourself,

be free, and be who you want to be.

And that's what I wish for her.

It's almost time to go home.

I'll spend the last two days in Capetown.

I came to celebrate my birthday here. Thirty.

Daughter, today I woke up thinking there will be time.

I woke up wanting you to exist some day.

I came to celebrate our birthdays here.
We're thirty.