Shine Your Eyes | Cidade Pássaro

Shine Your Eyes | Cidade Pássaro

Shine Your Eyes. “The idea to reinvent oneself, to shed one’s skin and start anew, has always been a luring fantasy, which I carried with me and that heavily motivated me to write this film.” Matias Mariani’s feature film premiered  in the Panorama section at Berlinale 2020.

Because Ikenna doesn’t get in touch and the mother misses her first-born son, the musician Amadi travels from Nigeria to the Brazilian metropolis São Paulo, where the mathematically gifted elder brother is to work as a professor at a technical university. But the university does not exist. With some mysterious notes and calculations from his Ikenna, Amadi sets off on a search for his brother and gradually he finds contact with people who have had a relationship with him.

Shine Your Eyes - Horse racing
Shine Your Eyes - At the race track

At the racetrack Amadi meets a widely read man who seems to be a friend of Ikenna. He spends a lot of time with him and learns interesting and also confusing things about the missing in action. Amadi gets a job in his uncle’s shop and from there, Ikenna starts to follows the tracks of his brother.

At the Berlinale 2020, the 4:3 frame trend replaced the fancy Super 8 look of the previous year. In Shine Your Eyes, the frame, which is close to the instagram formats, was in any case a perfect synthesis with São Paulo’s epic cityscape.

“The 4×3 frame was a suggestion brought by the director of photography, Leonardo Bittencourt. I was at first resistant, I couldn’t see a clear reason for it, but when we went to the locations and started to photograph them in this format everything seemed to fall into place, as if the film had always been imagined like this, and I couldn’t understand why,” says Matias Mariani. “Today I think the reason it worked for me was that São Paulo is a city of very tall buildings and skyscrapers, specially downtown where we shot most of the scenes, and I think shooting it in a more vertical format allows us to understand the city better. So I think the 4×3 had an important role in shaping the film’s language, by opening up the city to us.”

Shine Your Eyes / Cidade Passaro

The first feature film by Brazilian director Matias Mariani is a filmed search for clues. The story follows the Nigerian family tradition, in which the first-born plays a special role, as well as it follows the dreams of the immigrants. The megalopolis’ cityscape of avant-garde architecture and weather-beaten empty buildings forms the backdrop for the communication – the interaction on different levels between the younger brother and the city’s people. Mathematics, music and the translator in the smartphone are bridging the gaps.

Shine Your Eyes or Cidade Pássaro, as the exciting film discovery is origionally titled, sends the audience on an enigmatic journey through the Brazilian metropolis of São Paulo. Not breathless, but nevertheless pressing curious, Amadi travels the city in the purpose to find out what happened to his brother.

He delves deeply into the life of Ikenna. Nothing is as it seems – and finally Amadi must decide to return to the old structures or to start a new life himself.

Brazil, France, 2020

Director: Matias Mariani
Director of Photography: Leo Bittencourt
Cast: O.C. Ukeje, Chukwudi Iwuji, Indira Nascimento, Paulo Andre, Ike Barry
Production: Primo Films in co-production with MPM Film, Tabuleiro Films and SP Cine

As soon as a possibility to watch the film in public is known, it will be published here.

Information on imdb: Shine Your Eyes

1. June 2020 Off