Roberto Gervitz: The Restoration of “Happy Old Year”

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With a thirty-year plus career, writer and director Roberto Gervitz – born in New York City in 1957 – has alternated himself between the documentaries shot in the 1970s, which would show the political and working classes of Brazil at the time, and fiction films that would finally give him recognition by the end of the 1980s, like Happy Old Year. Loosely adapted from the book of Marcelo Rubens Paiva, still a best seller in bookstores nationwide, the film was the filmmaker’s first experience in the fictional universe, a director accustomed to shoot realistic pictures centered on the so-called lower and more popular classes of society. With Happy Old Year, Gervitz could exercise another part of his talent: the one centered on the fantasy, on the playfulness, on the use of colors tinted to highlight moods and states of mind, responsible for making his film one of the most remarkable of Brazilian Cinema of the period. 

In this interview, granted as part of the supplemental features of our DVD special edition – which brings Happy Old Year restored in 2K –, Gervitz tells about watching the film again after so many years, what was the screening like with an audience, and what his film means for today’s public.

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