“Romances de Terre et d’Eau” is a film conceived for a choir of 14 adults and 6 children. All the characters tell a part of their own lives and recognize themselves in each other’s tales. The characters in the film are lucid. They don’t complain, moan or reproach anyone. By voice, music, poetry, dance and clay creations, they speak of the fragility of moments, couples who love each other, drought, land owners, celebrations, dreams, culture, animals, their children’s future, the cost of things, money and the earth. For a day laborer, or a farmer (he who owns nothing and he who owns little) working a tiny plot of land, the earth is like a shirt that has been patched, sewn up, mended and faded by the rain and the burning sun over and over. When it sticks to their feet, they say it is like a lover, that the earth is like their real skin.
This documentary is about farmers in northeastern Brazil who, with great dignity and tremendous humor, struggle for their economic survival, and to preserve the imaginative and regenerative power of their culture. For these farmers, descended from the native Indians, the “roca,” the place where plants, vegetables and rice are grown, thereby assuring a family’s future, could be paradise on earth if this land belonged to them. A place from which all their myths have spring and will spring, and which they struggle to maintain by poetry, music, clay creations and dance, so as to transmit this “way of life” to their children.