Carolina had told me you need to see this film, after she’d seen it at UNDP in NY, and when Carolina suggests something, it always pans out. She’s that attuned. She sent me a note to remind me, copying a note she’d sent to him. “I just loved your film,” she said. I saw the film was previewing at the NET Botafogo cinema. “Let’s go,” I said to Octavio. We didn’t have tickets. There was no telling if we’d get in. We decided we’d go out for sushi if we didn’t.
In the lobby a crowd had gathered. We were early. We went to the two ladies at the makeshift table underneath the sign that said, “Environmental Film Festival” and were told we’d have to wait in line with the rest of the ticketless souls.
Over the heads of a dozen people, the lithe, brown-haired director, looked directly at me. His eyes locked with mine and he smiled. My presence was noted. I’d never met him before. That’s just the way Ricardo Gomes is, present. And his smile was so genuine, I got over whatever shyness pervades me in these situations, and walked over to him to introduce myself.
He remembered our email and apologized for not having had the time to reply. He was certain we were aligned in our thinking and our approach. He looked forward to a partnership. We would talk again in Urca, as his diving spot was the dock by our Institute headquarters. And we did the next day beneath our offices. We met on the street, wind coming off the bay, with his intern from Sea Studies at UFRJ, where he showed us images of some coral he’d discovered that day, on the camera in the trunk of his car.
When I checked back into our place on line, held by a very lovely couple who had been there for hours, Octavio was already hugging the festival ticket lady, who announced she believed all 40 of us ticketless souls would find a seat tonight.
The film had me smiling ear to ear for two hours, beginning to end. You’ll see for yourselves. Ricardo is a poet, as is every “mad scientist” dedicated to a cause. While I thought we’d be interviewing hundreds of people before we heard the voice of the Guanabara, instead he brought us the Bay in full volume and even gave us a name, Guanabarians.
And needless to say we may never eat sushi again; certainly not flounder, it’s on the near-extinction list, or octopus, as their skin is covered in taste buds (they taste with every pore of their body) and their brains spread into their tentacles making each one an independent thinker!
So our partnerships and our stories begin.
Please checkout some of the recent media surrounding Ricardo’s film, and do go see it as soon as you can and support his incredible effort: