Dona Militana – The Romanceira of Oiteiros

Synopsis

This documentary aims to be an instrument to redeem and preserve Brazilian culture through the life and voice of Dona Militana, considered the main keeper of the Northeastern medieval romantic poetry.

Just over ten years ago, folklorists discovered a lost gem in the interior of Rio Grande do Norte. It was Dona Militana, an elderly, illiterate woman who had spent her life working in the countryside, but who had in her memory the record of a time and a culture that had already vanished.

Dona Militana kept the stories she heard during her childhood – stories with plots that speak of kings, princesses, subjects, commoners, cangaceiros (bandits from the countryside), saints, slaves and colonels – dating back to 600-700 years ago. All have Iberian influences brought from Spain, Portugal, and France.

These stories gained various cultural strands, generating the Northeastern cordel literature, and a series of stories, novels, fads and songs in the form of Coco, Toadas de Boi, Pilgrimage Songs, Challenges, Xácaras, Cancela, Aboios, Jornadas de Cheganças, and Fandango tunes, among others.

According to the researchers, there is no record of anyone other than Dona Militana who has so much knowledge stored in her memory. She is a living guardian of an endangered culture.

Despite having been abandoned in her mud house, after being discovered, she traveled around Brazil presenting her poetry and was awarded in 2005 the Commendation of the Order of the Brazilian Cultural Merit, delivered personally by President Luís Inácio Lula da Silva at the Palácio do Planalto.

Dona Militana died at the age of 85, in June 2010, and never saw this film.

 

Broadcast

Festivals

    • 20th Cine Ceará – Ibero-American Film Festival (2010)
    • 21st São Paulo International Short Film Festival (2010)
    • 9th Santa Maria Video and Film (2010)
    • 6th Canoa Quebrada Latin American Festival – Curta Canoa (2010)
    • 37th Bahia International Film Journey (2010)
    • 19th Rio de Janeiro International Short Film Festival – Curta Cinema (2010)
    • 8th FestCine Amazônia (2010)
    • 20th FestNatal – 6th Northeastern Short Film Exhibition (2010)
    • 5th All About Women (2010)
    • 9th Chico – Palmas Film Festival (2010)
    • 2nd Curta Carajás – Parauapebas Film Festival (2010)
    • 22nd São Paulo Audiovisual Exhibition (2010)

TV

  • Canal Brasil pay-TV channel (2010)

 

Award

  • Best Documentary at FestCine Amazônia 2010