“In Three Acts” tells the story of an 80-year-old intellectual that, during an interview on the subject of elderliness, relives her mother’s death, which took place 30 years earlier. It is a movie about the cycle of life that deals with both the body –through a contemporary dance performance with Angel Vianna and Maria Alice Poppe
– and the word – through the works of Simone de Beauvoir, one of the intellectuals that have pondered the most on the topic of elderliness.
Starred by Angel Vianna, one of Brazil’s Contemporary Dance icons, who performs on stage at the age of 85, and by Maria Alice Poppe, a young dancer in her prime, the performance contrasts without any clichés these two bodies.
Playing the intellectual at the age of 80, who ponders on elderliness and death, is Natalia Timberg and, playing her at the age of 50, facing the pain caused by her mother’s passing, is Andrea Beltrão.
With a lyrical and poetic proposal, “In Three Acts” is a movie that deals with dense subjects through a new perspective.
Simone de Beauvoir said in one of her interviews that one of the reasons that made her want to write the book “The Coming of Age” was the fact that she was living this moment herself and, therefore, she felt the need of investigate the situation of the elderly in society. For the same reason, I decided to make the film “In Three Acts”. Due to my education as a filmmaker and also for having been a dancer as a teenager, I thought about trying to express this feeling opposing the "body" to the "word".
The purpose of the film is much more to raise questions and point sensations than giving answers. In such sense, I look for nuances and contradictions observed in the body: the pain of losing vitality living with the life which is present in old age.
Regarding the word, choosing Simone de Beauvoir’s texts was immediate not only because she wrote and thought about this subject, but also because she was one of the most important intellectuals of my generation.
I already knew the “The Coming of Age”, where the issue is dealt with in depth, but when I did my research, I was delighted with the many interviews she had given about the theme. The advantage of working with interviews is that they have greater vivacity to be reproduced on screen than a text made to be read.
During the research work, reading of “Une mort très douce” it was suggested to me. It is a book in which Simone de Beauvoir describes the death of her mother, once the issue of death is intrinsically related to old age. The idea of the movie came from this work, in which the same character appears at ages 80 and 45, and the texts of the second part are based on the book "Une très mort douce".
The first is today, at 80 years-old, thinking about the old age and death, and the second is at 40 years-old, undergoing the pain of the death of her mother. The contrast between these two moments humanizes and brings more complexity to the character.
But persisting in the Idea of also working visually on the issue of the body, I decided to add a performance where two dancers, Angel Vianna, 85, and Maria Alice Poppe, 38, contrast their bodies.
The strength of the show is present not only in the vitality and technical capacity of Maria Alice, but mainly in the shamelessness with which Angel dances on stage with her 85 years of age, without being intimidated.
Therefore, we started to work with four characters: the intellectual at 80 and at 40 years old, and the two dancers. The purpose of this film is to interlace these characters, which is defined in an idea present in the contemporary cinema, working with the freedom that the subject requires.