The Rio de Janeiro of Clarice Lispector

IMS, Equipe. The Rio de Janeiro of Clarice Lispector. IMS Clarice Lispector, 2023. Disponível em: https://site.claricelispector.ims.com.br/en/2023/12/09/the-rio-de-janeiro-of-clarice-lispector/. Acesso em: 23 April 2024.

Clarice Lispector spent her childhood in Recife, but at the age of 15 she moved with her father and two sisters to Rio de Janeiro. It was in the then capital of Brazil that the writer lived her youth and early adult life: she completed high school, graduated from law school, had her first professional experiences in the press, got married, and in 1943, released her first book Near to the Wild Heart.

A long period of 16 years followed without a permanent residence in the city. Accompanying her diplomat husband, Maury Gurgel Valente, she lived in Belém, Naples, Bern, Torquay, and Washington D.C. In 1959, recently divorced and with two children, Clarice returned to Rio de Janeiro, where she would live, until the end of her life, in the Leme neighborhood. In total, she spent 28 years living in the city.

The biographer Teresa Montero mapped the places frequented by the writer and her characters and 11 years ago created a guided tour of Rio, in which she interweaves stories from the life and work of the author of Family Ties.

It was in São Cristóvão, for example, at the famous Northeasterners Fair, which was frequented by Clarice to buy sugarcane molasses and the starch cake beiju, that the writer got the inspiration for her character Macabéa, from The Hour of the Star. In another neighborhood, Jardim Botânico, Ana, the protagonist of the short story “Love,” after seeing a blind man chewing gum, abruptly gets off the bus to lose herself in the green vastness of the park, thus undergoing a transformative existential experience.

In 2018, the route prepared by Teresa Montero was turned into a book, O Rio de Clarice: passeio afetivo pela cidade (Clarice’s Rio: An Affective Tour of the City, which was published by Autêntica.

Based on it, the Literature Coordinator’s Office of the Moreira Salles Institute (IMS) created the medium-length film O Rio de Clarice Lispector (Clarice’s Rio) to celebrate the birth of the great writer on December 10th.

It is Teresa Montero herself who guides the tour, giving biographical information and reading excerpts from short stories, chronicles, letters, and novels that locate Clarice and her characters in places such as Jardim Botânico, Tijuca National Park, São Cristóvão Fair, and Leme. It concerns an intimate journey, revealing scenes that summon emotion. Biography and fiction intersect in the Rio de Janeiro landscape, and what was a setting is transformed into a “character.”

There we find, for example, the restaurant where Lori and Ulysses, from An Apprenticeship or the Book of Pleasures, met, as well as the common area of ​​a building that concretely remakes passages from The Passion According to G.H. As if walking through the city, the viewer rebuilds fundamental ties that link family life, friendships, personal experiences, and Clarice’s creative process.

O Rio de Clarice Lispector was directed by Eucanaã Ferrraz, written by Bruno Cosentino, and edited by Laura Liuzzi – who have been regularly producing audiovisual material for the website dedicated to the writer and maintained by the Moreira Salles Institute (claricelispector.ims.com.br).

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The “Clarice’s Hour” project was launched in 2011 by the IMS to celebrate the author’s date of birth and make it a part of the cultural calendar in Brazil and other countries. Every year, both the Institute’s program and that of partner institutions are available on the event’s special website.

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