Ten years ago, love drew photographer Jorge Camarotti from São Paulo to Montreal (Canada). "I met my ex-wife in Sao Paulo (Brazil) and she had a job offer she couldn't refuse, and that's why I came to Canada, it was love that guided me and that kept me here."
It was this love that led the photographer to direct several short films and documentaries a decade ago.
Jorge Camarotti's films are not superficial, but deep and bold. In this immersion into the human soul, he brings us real drama and makes us ponder complex, often, lonely choices. In Ousmane perfect cinematography, lighting, and framing are seen stitched into the text, where the soul of the director can be seen.
The film tells the story of the unexpected encounter between two unknow neighbors in a snowstorm in Montreal - Canada.
Ousmane is the character of Burkina Faso-born actor Issaka Sawadogo, who happens to meet his neighbor Edith, who is brilliantly played by Canadian actress, Marie-Ginette Guay.
The authenticity of the short movie is so unquestionable that there are moments in the film where viewers might wonder: Does this actress have dementia? So what is fiction and what is reality? In addition to contemplating the loneliness of his characters, Jorge invites us to reflect on our own visibility in a chaotic world. To what extent are we visible to others? It's a complex and real theme, with the text and sublimity coupled with the strength of someone who despite not being part of the country he was not born in, has lived and is living the drama of belonging and has a sense of life "discovery" when faced with the drama of someone who lives as a human being and, at the same time, not existing in the real world. Are parallel dimensions related?
Ousmane's drama intertwines with Edith's, both share the apathetic view of society, “we are talking about immigrants and elderly people who are practically invisible in the eyes of society, that was my objective in writing this film”.
By 2022, according to the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) the country welcomed a record number of immigrants 431,645 new permanent residents, exceeding 2021 numbers.
A publication of health from the Government of Canada says: annually there are approximately 76,000 new cases of dementia treated in Canada. This represents 14.3 new cases per 1,000 in the senior population (65 years and older). The balance is higher among women than men.
I asked Jorge how emotionally invested he was in this role. He immediately replied: "100%!”
Due to illness and the complete emotional abandonment of her family, Edith lived in complete emotional isolation.
Things changed for her when Ousmane became the kind of caretaker and took her out to dinner with his family. The only scene where Edith smiles is when Ousmane's daughters and his wife sing.
Camarotti wants to use his films to change society's views: “For me, you can't leave the cinema without absorbing something different in everyday life. I hope to continue bringing stories that make people look at these individuals who are invisible, who are there by your side but you never see”.
Critics, major newspapers, and film magazines applauded the short movie. Ousmane has won more than 20 awards and nominations and is among the top 10 films of the year for 2022 on the Vimeo website, in addition, it forms part of the permanent collection of The New Yorker magazine.
Where to watch Ousmane.
Directed by Jorge Camarotti.
Duration: 25 minutes.