Director of the short film ICARO
Carla Shah is a director currently living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After graduating in Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics in 2009, she began her career working on documentaries for NGO’s and independent film makers, many of which, focused on social justice and human rights issues. In 2014 her first short documentary, Maré: Estado que mata nunca mais, was selected by Cinemaissi a Finnish film festival on Latin American cinema. Icaro is the director’s first short fiction.
Carla has already lived in Tokyo, Rome and London and is fluent in four languages. She is currently writing her first feature film.
The film is ultimately about choice. In a myth that ends in the death of the protagonist, I wanted to investigate the symbolic aspects that define the iconic character and what makes it so universal. To me the flight and death of Icaro has always meant a metaphor for transformation and change.
The idea behind Icaro initially came from a painting by my father which I saw when I around 10. It was of a man in a business suit with his arms and body sprawled on the pavement. Around him was a chalk outline, the same as the ones you see in murder scenes. Around his arms where drawn the shape of big wings. The image was strong and left a question deep inside me. What would push a man to take such a leap? Was he running away or looking for something better? Perhaps a little of both.
In the Greek myth, Icarus is confined to a maze, a punishment intended for his father. To escape, his father creates wings made out of wax and feathers. Icarus manages to escape but forgets his fathers warning and flies too close to the sun melting his wings, ultimately leading to his death. In the film we meet Icaro, an elevator operator who works in a cage which moves but ultimately brings him nowhere, just like a maze. The photography and editing was done in a way to emphasize his physical restriction and give discomfort to the audience. We see Icaro become invisible and one with his surrounding as the passengers ignore him. The flight in this case, represented in the dance scene, is a metaphor, a result of his frustration. He is changing, looking for liberation. Visually this transformation is demonstrated through wide shots and the physical movement of the character. The more he dances, the less control he has on his body, until he eventually decides to jump to his death. The jump is a metaphor, a leap to the unknown. When he reappears, his appearance is that of the elevator operator but his resolve has changed. He takes off the badge that defines him professionally and iconically.
In a society, such as Brazil, where such professions still exist, it is a film that questions such practices and the impact it has on the individual.