There were months and months of hard work until finally a solution came up which could have the whole idea for the project: “an idea of transformation”, says Flávia Marinho, from Datadot, a design and animation studio based in São Paulo that was responsible for the conception and creation of the cinema poster of The Social Technology – Sincronia Filmes’s first feature film. It’s not always that such a film from the genre displays a piece of this nature, whose result gets close to the poetic and even instigates our senses, with a strong use of color – emphasizing in particular the blue from Nathalie Siqueira’s hair, the film’s main protagonist – and at the same time a sweetness and beauty achieved by the pose in the picture, the eyes closed as if she were dreaming or imagining something. But in order to get this effect, Datadot, following producers Emanuel Mendes and Janaina Zambotti’s instructions, researched numerous movie posters, advertising campaigns, art made for Blu-ray and DVD covers of all kinds and from all over the place, always bringing this concept of transformation to guide the poster creation.
It all began with the original photo – taken by photographer and director Liliana Israele, a faithful collaborator for Sincronia Filmes –, which by the way would bring other pose and look variations, “but we decided to focus on this one in particular because it had, right from the RAW archive, a very beautiful effect, the suaveness in the way Nathalie is portrayed in the picture, in these eyes that, even though closed, could still transmit a lot of things”, continues Flávia, who works alongside Otávio Burin at Datadot and is an expert in information design and data visualization, with award-winning works for Brazilian newspapers Folha de São Paulo and Estadão as well as for publishers like Editora Globo and Abril, and which has been a partner of Sincronia since the institutional film for Labordental, back in 2017.
The color conception came from the movie poster for Raw (2016), by Julia Ducournau, about a vegetarian girl who suddenly acquires an unusual taste for meat (it’s a horror flick, a hit among the independent festival circuit), which also displays a curious idea, conversing with the story’s proposal, and using mainly strong and warm colors that almost mix up with the protagonist’s skin. “We decided we would follow this main line of thought”, says Flávia, “while at the same time we would give the contrast with the blue in the hair.”
But not always an idea strikes and is born completely conceived and/or ready. Explains Flávia: “Emanuel gave us a lot of references from the cinema he admired, including one utilizing a sort of drawing sketch on the photo (from the poster of The One I Love), but during the meetings we had along the way he got a bit scared about using such an approach, which could look more like adorning too much such a serious and strong subject – in other words, putting a sketch on the poster could take the original idea and proposal away for The Social Technology, a documentary talking about topics like Aids, sexually transmitted diseases, modern relationships among youngsters, gender violence and others”, states Flávia. Only then the studio would modify the point of view, thus working with colors – “one of the original sources was the film itself, which has a sort of red landish visual, which seems to be South Africa’s predominant geographical color (the film was shot there)”, says Flávia –, and at the same focusing on the narrative’s main idea. “What if we turned the photo upside down? And what if, by turning it upside down, we would make the other photo merge with the first one?” By doing that the studio was able not only of transmitting this notion of transformation which is very present in the film – in the narrative, Nathalie undergoes such a process, which would be called, in fictional cinema, the arc of the character, and which happened in a totally involuntary way – but it also printed a “movement” to the poster, as if the process of transformation would go from one plan of existence to another in Nathalie’s photo. Another curious notion, and which converses with the film, is the fact that the image transmits the feeling of thought exchanging, or of idea exchanging – again very present in the film once it is Nathalie herself who leads the story, much of it is seen under her perspective and she exposes an almost unbearable variety of ideas, proposals, opinions and valuations that are responsible, at the same time, in helping her out in the transforming process (one cannot forget the tagline of the film, and which is by the way on the poster itself and says a lot about Nathalie and the entire proposal: “Living a positive life can be quite different from what we think”).
And certainly the thinking different influenced the project since its conception. “We knew the crew didn’t want to make your-everyday-documentary-style, those ones where you only see endless and endless interviews”, says Flávia. “We were also touched and inspired by the project that, in the end, had a result trying to swerve from the common place, a very particular way of seeing the entire universe which undergoes there, with much fluidity and movement, because it’s the people in it who lead the action, both literally and metaphorically. We prioritized minimalism, a quality that we, as well as the folks at Sincronia, like and work with, and I think by doing this the result was very, very positive”, ends Flávia. The Social Technology opens in November on movie theaters around the country.