What if our relations continues on the other side of the canvas?
A creative feature documentary. A different lovestory. Composed by three rooms: From the Brazilian slum through a world of deseased painters to Danish livingrooms. All with a painting brush as the enchanting link and paintings as windows to ”the other” side. Communicated with focus on highly artistic visual and auditive narration.
This different love story has its starting point in the Brazilian trance painter medium Florencio. Since the age of 17 Florencio let deseased painters express themselves through him with their paintings while he is in deep trance. Over 100 painters have painted through him all over the world. Florencio paints in front of audiences in order to show the manifestation of spirits. And to show there is a life after death. The 9-15 paintings of thick oil paint that he produces in 1 ½ - 2 hours trance are sold to the audience. According to Florencio there it is no coincidence who gets what painting. Especially the Danish audience has taken Florencio’s paintings in. Florencio brings the money to Brazil where he helps 42 families and 85 children from the slum with survival, education and upbringing.
Through out the film one question lingers: if our relations continue after life, then how do we want to live life? The film observes, listens and pass on information. It lets the participants experiences speak for them selves no matter if they affirm or conflict. The film resigns from any dictation.
One man's spirit is another man's bread.
Florencio is a so called physical medium. That means, spirits can express themselves using Florencio’s body. In Florencio’s case deseased painter spirits paint through him while he is in deep trance.
Since he was 8 years old, Florencio communicated with spirits, but only when he was 17 years old the spirits started painting through him. Florencio saw the potential of this materialization of the spirits to collect money to help the poor in his neighbourhood in Brazil.
For more than 20 years Florencio has traveled the world painting in front of audiences. Here he goes into a deep trance lasting for 1 ½ - 2 hours. When he wakes up remembering nothing, the spirits have painted 8 – 16 oil paintings using his body. Reknown as unknown painters. Thick wet oil paint forms colorful portraits, landscapes and flower tableaus in 5 to 20 minutes all in front of mesmerized, skeptical and touched audiences. In quality the paintings do not resemble the paintings of the artists when they were alive, but their style is similar and the signatures evident. Sometimes people in the audience recognize a portrait of a deceased family member or friend.
During the last 20 years Florencio and his collaborators bulid up a spiritist center in Brazil, from where they support 35 families with food, support around 80 children in their primary school education and help their parents with courses in first aid, job interviews, hygeina etc. They have helped a few with university education and a few they have build a house for. By now more than 100 painters have painted through Florencio.
I first experienced Florencio at work in 2011 and could not believe there wasn’t already an into depth going documentary about it! Because if you believe that spirits paint through him or not, it is incredibly inspiring to follow a simple man encapsulated in the typical everyday problems as everyone and with the dedication of a visionary. Empowered by his idea of doing good. So stubbornly focused on changing the world with love and prove life continues after death. An idea most of us Western born find far too naive for our world. But then, what actually happens if you take this ”naive” idea seriously and like Florencio pursues it as your greatest goal in life?
My initial curiosity was focused on what is actually going on when Florencio is in the trance? I am still interested in this part. But my attention was fast captured by the actual effect of Florencio’s work – spirits or not. The concrete effect on the poor people in Salvador, the emotional effect on the audiences - be it an x-ray doctor or a fisherman, spiritual or non-spiritual, the "after effect" of the paintings in the living rooms. The huge dilemma for me has been how to make a fair film about something as toboo in the West as ”spirit world” - and the whole ”food chain” in Florencio’s system – and avoid making a propaganda film for or against. My intention is therefore to let the film communicate as pure as possible. Let situations play out in the three rooms: slum, trance and Danish livingroom without coming to any conclusions. Thats up to the audience. Let the participants look back at the sudience in tableau like sceneries which they tell their own stories over. In turn I welcome scientists examinations of Florencio as a part of the film.
Of all the countries Florencio has painted in, how come excatly the Danish audience crave Florencio’s paintings the most? On his 12th year visiting Denmark his audiences are bigger than ever. Many come back to see him paint year after year. People as different as the X-ray doctor and the Fisherman.
That and the growing spiritual awareness in Denmark is what stirs my curiosity to examine this.
Judging from the growing interest for spiritual topics in Denmark the Danes are eager to examine this too.
The film strieves for a high integration of artistic visual auditive communication without compromising presence and authencity. For that I have collected a creative dream team of collegaues I have had lovely collaborations with before.