Marcelo Lordello about They'll Come Back: 'Passionate labour for no pay'

In a subdued manner, Marcelo Lordello (1981) takes both his young leads and the audience on a tour of the unfamiliar sides of Brazilian society. Nominated for a Hivos Tiger Award.

In a nutshell

'A modern fable about a young girl finding her way home after a long journey.'

First time

'My first experience with a feature-length film was the documentary Vigias in which I tailed security staff. For They'll Come Back, we shot at countless locations and working with actors also took a lot of getting used to. I purposely worked with amateur actors because I wanted to create a fiction that felt like a documentary. The crew and I are all middle class urbanites: we lead the life we were filming. I conducted extensive research particularly into the language used by various groups in Brazil. All the dialogues were scripted. The first little girl that my lead Cris meets at the "squatter community ", didn't think her text was "real" enough and changed it. I was open to changes during shooting. In fact, the original script was written for two brothers. When I met my lead Maria Luiza, I re-wrote Cris' character so it was a girl. Shooting started in January and lasted until November. When you are that young, 11 months is enough to undergo considerable change. It's fascinating to watch those few months add adultness and perseverance to her face while only a few days go by in the film itself.'


'It is harder to get smaller, artistic films distributed than to make them. Various provinces provide subsidies, albeit small sums. My generation work passionately for no pay. Just start filming and hope that you can cobble together a contribution for post-production on the basis of the raw footage. Distribution is almost impossible as the only thing left here are multiplexes that mainly screen American blockbusters.'


'A lot of work by colleagues and friends has been screened at IFFR in recent years. Each and every one came home with enthusiastic stories so I am super happy that my film is being screened here of all places! Particularly because I am very impressed by the oeuvres of a number of jury members. I don't need to win at all, I'm already overawed by the fact that I can show them my film.'

Class society 

'They'll Come Back is an attack on the rigid Brazilian class system and racialised society. The phenomenon is so embedded in our culture that most prosperous Brazilians are oblivious to it. I didn't however want to make some activist's screed: I hope it's a subtle film. I am afraid that the 2016 Olympic Games and World Cup won't change anything in our society. At the moment, the government is engaged in a huge clean-up campaign, but it is more cosmetic than actually structurally changing the situation. For example, the squatter community who play in my film recently lost their government –issued license. The judges are corrupt and take bribes from major landowners and project developers who want to make bank off the back of the Olympics and the Cup.'

Bright Future

'I am currently working on two scenarios. These will create a trilogy, together with my earlier short film, in which I focus on my fascination for change and ageing.'

They'll Come Back – Marcelo Lordello
Tue 29 18:30 Pathé 7, Wed 30 12:30 Pathé 7,
Thu 31 13:15 Pathé 1, Sat 2 12:45 Pathé 5

This is an article from the Daily Tiger dated Tuesday 29 January 2013.
Photo: Nichon Glerum
Text: Joost Broeren