The Space in Between: Marina Abramović and Brazil
Marina Abramović travels through Brazil, in search of personal healing and artistic inspiration, experiencing sacred rituals and revealing her creative process. The route is comprised of poignant encounters with healers and sages from the Brazilian countryside, exploring the limits between art and spirituality. This external trip triggers in Marina a profound introspective journey through memories, pain and past experiences.
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★★★★ review by Michel Amaral on Letterboxd
I was curious about this one since the day it was released, I'm a huge fan of Marina's work and seeing her exploring all the mythical ideologies in my own country made me even more excited than before to watch this. It certainly serves us as a good guide on how cultures are full of surprises and complexity, more than we will ever know.
For some, those who don't believe in spirituality, cosmos or anything like that, this may be a boring thing to watch, but for those, like me, extremely curious about these topics "The Space in Between" gives us an amazing tour in Brazil, my country, showing how diverse it actually is and how beautiful it is for all this mythical symbols to come together.
The documentary was more of an introspective journey, the artist leads us through her personal issues, guiding us through everything and showing how spirituality helps her. It also shows us a complex Marina, dealing with her freedom and getting through her inner demons. And, because it's her, it does it in such an artistic way. The cinematography of this one is simply heaven, she knows exactly how to capture emotions and everything that's happening in just one frame, the energy you get from those frames is simply joyful and strong. "The Space in Between" gives us much to look at, to be extremely cautious, a lot of questions are brought up, and it's a great study for those interested in other cultures' singularities.
Marina Abramovic's work once again surprises me, it's raw, it's right in your face, it's controversial and will probably leave you wondering about the future, and the universe. I'm extremely satisfied with what I just watched and I extremely recommend to those who are interested in spirituality and different cultures, for those who don't believe in it, it's also a good pic as the documentary gives us amazing cinematography, great camera work and much to analyze as an non-believer.
★★★★½ review by Alex Toledo on Letterboxd
A mystical and introspective journey into the mysterious and fascinating religious traditions across Brazil. A personal expedition in the pursuit of healing. An exeperimental voyage to test the limits of artistic production.
The Space in Between is not only a pilgrimage for Marina Abramović but also for viewers who are invited to redefine and rebuild their understanding on the connections between art, performance and religiousness.
In this documentary, Marina takes us to different regions in Brazil in an attempt to explore the limits between spirituality and art. On the way, we are introduced to interesting individuals Marina gets to know while crossing the country's mesmerizing landscapes. In addition, the artist also shares some insightful bits about her approach to art and the creative process.
Although Marina's devotion to her endeavor might sound a bit too intense (especially for the confused religious crowd who happen to be making part of a documentary), she is able to deliver an intriguing and reliable performance is this roadtrip-ish film.
Additionally, the exuberant photography and performances amidst desolate landscapes in Brazil itself make the documentary a memorable experience . Another highlight is the philosophical inquiries Marina shares with expectators along the film which leads us to an intelectual state of uneasiness and makes the experience of sitting on the sofa a lot more dynamic.
Overall, The Space in Between offers some mind-blowing images while it gives us a ride to the fascinating world of spirituality, faith and folklore. The journey is meditative but also allowing for some doses of humor.
★★★½ review by Simon Columb on Letterboxd
The connection between faith and art may seem distant but Marina Abramović proves otherwise. Her embrace of strange, convincing beliefs is warm-hearted, engaging and feeds your curiosity.
Who are these people who let a mysterious man slice their eyes in order to “cure” them? The enormous crowds that flock to a ceremony where symbols from all faiths are showcased, why are they here? This Serbian artist becomes one of them and realises that they’re simply people convinced there’s more to life than this.
Abramović has connections to Brazil. In love with the mammoth-size cave crystals, she has even performed in one particular cave, as the physical space became an area to lay within, with small noises and curious stones surrounding her. The Space in Between: Marina Abramović and Brazil charts her return to the country in 2012, as mediums and psychics become her guide. Her first visit is to John of God, in Abadiânia, where he runs a healing centre named Casa Dom Inácio de Loyola. João de Deus pulls bloodied chunks from the noses of his subjects and scrapes the eyeballs of others. People are convinced of his skills and Abramović is in awe of their composure. This shocking beginning shifts as she travels to Bahia, Paraná and Minas Gerais and speaks to spiritual people and submerges herself in their faith, culminating in digesting the trendy drug of Ayahuasca – and vomiting her demons out.
As costumes are worn and rehearsed rituals take place, a connection between performance art and faith is formed. But, Abramović has had a tough four years following a divorce from her husband in 2009. He left her for another woman, leaving her broken hearted and turning her to faith. “Happiness doesn’t come from outside – it comes from you” she says. In the many shots from behind her head, we follow her through this wilderness. Abramović has a distinction between faith and religion: “I don’t like religion because religion reminds me of institutions – I like spirituality”. As she stands beneath an enormous waterfall, we are aware of the power and force of nature. How, as a conscious species, faith is inextricably linked to our humanity.
In an off-topic interlude, she explains her garlic and onion cure to keep you healthy. She bites into the garlic and it’s unexpectedly bitter. When I think of my own mother’s garlic mixture to chase away a cold, it reiterates how rituals and healing potions are passed down by generation. Food is a ritual too, with the throwaway line “it’s done with love” resonating that much more in the UK after Val left the The Great British Bake Off with a similar sentiment. It doesn’t matter whether you are in Goia or Salvador, people are the same. There is chanting to a drum beat, candles in the temples and madrigal singers on the soundtrack. Director Marco Del Fiol and Gustavo Almeida create a collaged film that pulls on religious conventions of all shapes and forms to strike meaning. They are all part of the same human need.
An artist has to be open to new ideas. This creative necessity is what makes an artist vulnerable. She’s told that “the egg absorbs this negative energy” while it’s dragged across her skin. Plants cover her naked body and she squeezes mud through her wet feet. Comfortable with her form, after years of performance art, Abramović can see that these men and women of faith are open to these new experiences. They try them, to save themselves, in a manner that an artist might trial an idea to see if it works. The Space in Between: Marina Abramović connects God with art via the beauty of nature.
★★★★★ review by henriqueotto on Letterboxd
this is the most profound documentary i've ever watched. i cannot describe the feelings that i had while watching it because they were extremely complex and wonderfully enlightening. i discovered marina abramović last year and i was impacted by her works and performances, but while watching this, i saw me in her. realizing how many incredible and divine places and people that are around me, made me open my eyes and search for more contact with myself through them. the cinematography is breathtaking and this is definitely one of my top 10 favorite documentaries in the world.
★★★★ review by Alex Gonçalves on Letterboxd
O cineasta Marco Del Fiol faz um registro esteticamente singular da peregrinação de Abramovic e não se furta de exibir flagras íntimos da artista de 69 anos. Mas é no poder em nos transformar em testemunhas estrangeiras de nosso próprio território que está o encanto de “Espaço Além”. Autora de uma arte preocupada em repensar o tempo, a purificação da alma e como um ambiente é apropriado por um corpo, Abramovic agora se volta para a beleza que há em uma diversidade de crenças que devem ser reconhecidas.
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