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Performing the Past: Reporting on the Fronteira Festival

Ela Bittencourt's column explores South America’s key festivals and notable screenings of Latin films in North America and Europe.“Sooner or later all delicate things are butterflies with severed wings.” — “Polyphemus Views the End,” by Henry Alan Potamkin, quoted in Potamkin by Stephen Broomer“Perhaps these are not poetic times at all.”—“For Saundra,” by Nikki Giovanni, quoted in Fluid Frontiers by Ephraim Asili The premise of chaos theory rests on an impossibly poetic formulation: The delicate flapping of butterfly wings in one part of the world could, under certain conditions, cause a tornado elsewhere. This terrifying yet paradoxically hopeful vision links past and present, furnishes a unified vision, a linear geography, for the impossibly spread-out Earth.A similar sense of historical, geographic, chronological connectedness was gorgeously on display at one of Brazil’s most ambitious and certainly one of its best-curated festivals, Fronteira, dedicated to experimental documentaries, whose

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