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Dry Ground Burning (2022)

Dry Ground Burning is an in-depth look at the state of Sol Nascente, Brazil–a part of the world in which poverty runs rampant and the residents often struggle to find their way. This unique docu-fiction tells a fictionalized version of what really goes down in the life of Chitara, a fearless outlaw that refuses to settle. She is determined to find her way in the world, regardless of what form that takes. Dry Ground Burning depicts both this fictionalized version of reality and a documentary-like experience so that viewers get the full picture.

Dry Ground Burning is incredibly grounded, allowing viewers from all walks of life to appreciate the things that occur throughout. Overall the film is slow moving, calculated, and deliberate in all that it does–and this works in a number of different ways. It’s clear that Directors Joana Pimenta and Adirley Queirós fully understand their subject matter, and that allows them to tell the best parts of this story and to be completely honest with their viewers along the way. That honesty is appealing and attractive, and the journey that viewers are taken on from the start (regardless of whether or not the subject is intriguing to them) has the ability to reach them.

Intimacy is key throughout the course of Dry Ground Burning–as it helps to intensify everything that plays out from beginning to end, and it allows viewers to better understand all that is going on. The often interview-like nature of what occurs creates a bond between viewer and content. Honestly, though, this is desperately needed in order for the film to find any success. There are some great decisions made by Pimenta and Queirós throughout the production of Dry Ground Burning–and these decisions do just enough to keep the film afloat. Even with the intensity that is developed by the filmmakers, the film as a whole is quite boring. It’s difficult to find things to latch onto, to really develop an interest in–so, again, the series of decisions that Pimenta and Queirós make to create intensity and intimacy work wonders.

Again, the filmmakers make some beautiful decisions that allow Dry Ground Burning to appeal to viewers. Diversity is still one of the biggest buzzwords at the moment–and Dry Ground Burning uses this to its advantage. It addresses the ideas that as the world progresses that the black, LGBTQ, and female communities will play a profound role in that progress. Other films find themselves being too aggressive–but these ideas simply exist within Dry Ground Burning. The film never becomes pushy, it never tries to shove the ideas and opinions of the filmmakers down the throats of viewers–those things just exist and play a natural role in the film.

The grounded nature of Dry Ground Burning does two things:

  1. It does a great job of allowing things to feel real and intimate.

  2. It creates, to a degree, a challenging film that can sometimes feel too simple and boring.

There were many times throughout the course of the film in which I felt bored as a result of the simplicity. While I’ve never been in the exact same situations as the individuals on screen, it all feels incredibly familiar, even redundant. I did struggle throughout the film, even with all of its bright spots, to focus. I did get bored of Dry Ground Burning at times–and I can’t imagine that I was the only one.

Dry Ground Burning treads the line between narrative and documentary–and it intertwines the genres in a way that allows the film to feel very real and honest. As the film progresses, however, it becomes clear that there’s not quite enough content to support a film of this length, and the content that does exist becomes repetitive by about the hour mark–and at this time it becomes difficult to focus or to really care about it anymore. Dry Ground Burning does a good job of remaining grounded throughout–and that’s a tall task, but it needs to be more concise and direct throughout as well.

Written & Directed by: Joana Pimenta & Adirley Queirós.

Starring Joana Darc Furtado, Léa Alves Da Silva, Andreia Vieira, Débora Alencar, Gleide Firmino,




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