a film by Anita Rocha da Silveira

19 MIN / SHORT / COLOR / 5.1 / BRAZIL /2010

Bia is a teenager just like the others: she’s into rock, handball and blood.


Not all Brasileiros gravitate to football. Some prefer handball. Bia is a teenager who does typical teenager things. She goes to school and drinks beer at house parties. There, she deals with insecure boys. Bia also plays handball. An intensely physical sport, altercations on the court abide. Oh, and she has nose bleeds. Growing up as an adolescent girl is not easy. Anita Rocha da Silveira’s Handebol exemplifies this really well.

One day, after handball practice, Bia and her friends lie around and tell stories. We witness said story in a brilliant single take. We see all that needs be seen. In this scene, there are no close ups or inserts. In this overhead shot, Bia lies perpendicular to a friend and parts of bodies fill the rest of the frame. She plays with her hands, while a friend, whom we cannot entirely see, plays with Bia’s hair. The story is about a girl from Sao Paulo and how a boy she was with may be a necrophile. Bia’s friend starts to tell the story, which she embellishes. Bia only giggles the first time. However, Bia takes over story time after the second embellishment. She’s direct and to the point. Later in the film, Bia is perhaps too direct. But adolescence is a time of learning. Oftentimes, it seems, films about young people do not work because the writing feels stodgy. Improvised or not, the dialogue truly shines. It feels so natural and right. Also, camera by João Atala’s is just beautiful. For one, a wide shot of Bia flirting with a boy at a bus stop tells us so much about her and the world she inhabits.

Handebol won the Jury Prize at the 2011 Oberhausen International Short Film Festival. It is written and directed by Anita Rocha da Silveira, who also edited. Her next film was a Director’s Fortnight selection at Cannes. The future is bright for da Silveira. Handebol exudes such confidence that some directors may only see later in their careers, if ever.