A Tomb with a view
The occupants of one luxurious tall building in Santos, Brazil, share an unusual trait: they are dead.
Memorial Necrópole Ecumênica is the world's tallest cemetery.
09/09/2014 - TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL PREMIERE
10/03/2014 - VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
A MIDNIGHT LAMP FILMS AND FIFTH TOWN FILMS PRODUCTION
DIRECTED BY RYAN J. NOTH PRODUCED BY RYAN J. NOTH AND HUGH GIBSON
CINEMATOGRAPHY TESS GIRARD EDIT RYAN J. NOTH AND ANDRES LANDAU
MUSIC BY RUED LANGGAARD AND OWEN PALLET
Supported by the Shaw Can-West / Hot Docs development funding
Filmed in Santos, at Memorial, and in São Paulo, Brazil.
Like much of the world, Brazil’s dense urban centers are out of space. When building magnate Pepé Altustut opened Memorial in 1983, it was originally as an experiment and a practical response to his surroundings. Since then Memorial has become a huge success, soon to be the tallest building in Santos, and a global trendsetter. But for Pepé, it has become even more profound as a place for passage to the afterlife. Reflecting on ideas of personal and public legacy, A Tomb With A View visualizes a future of death amongst the clouds that has already arrived.
When I read about Memorial in 2008, I was both fascinated and haunted. In 2013, while roller-blading through Memorial’s remarkable surroundings to capture some steadi-cam style shots, I felt like I was floating through the halls in the spirit of the tenants. The gentle music in the halls, the bubbling fountains of water, and all the animals in the nearby forest were legitimately tranquil in their own way. My expectations of Memorial were flipped, and I could see it as a rational response due to the local circumstances, primarily lack of land.
Owner Pepé Alstut's relationship with his own mortality was at first awkward but eventually inspiring. He sees it as a passage, not an ending. Yet Pepé is still obviously obsessed with his legacy, as evidenced by his impact on Memorial. When the new adjacent building is finished, it will be the tallest in Santos, and the two buildings will together form his initials (P.A.) when viewed from the sky.