Petra heads to New York in search of her older sister after a long time of being separated. They are both movie actresses and heirs of the wounds of the Brazilian dictatorship. But Petra has only a few clues: home movies, newspaper clippings, a diary...
Elena, an artistic piece in the form of a documentary
At first glance, “Elena” is the tale of a family tragedy caused by the impossibility of creating art; the impact of the “frustrated dream” concept in three generations.
The first generation is a Brazilian mother who couldn’t fulfill her acting dreams by considering them naive in the face of her country’s political situation.
The second generation — and the main focus of this documentary — is Elena, the eldest daughter. Determined to fulfill her dream of creating art as an actress, she tries her luck in New York. The chaotic city, full of dreamers massively trying the few opportunities available, proves to be a frustrating experience. Elena’s melancholic soul, in a deep and constant relationship with sadness, suffers to the point of no return.
Petra Costa, the youngest sister and the documentary’s director, represents the third generation. “Elena” is her intimate exercise that besides being incredibly therapeutic, is a beautiful artistic tale about depression.
“Elena” treats death romantically, but never with naivety. Petra seemed determined to thoroughly search the ghost of her sister, in order to merge with it, becoming a single entity, and then exorcise the undesirable aspects of her memories.
Her mother will accompany her in the journey, but with several well-founded fears. At times, Petra follows her sister’s steps with a chilling premeditation. They share the same diaspora, creative impulses, dark humor, deep eyes and the smug half smile.
But above all things, “Elena” is the ultimate, deserved gift from Petra Costa to her sister. Elena is the absolute protagonist of an artistic piece in the form of a documentary. A fantastic and unique artistic collaboration between two sisters, transforming tragedy into beauty in the process.