mars one

Sonia Delaunay, Yellow Nude, 1908


Comment on the film directed by Gabriel Martins

“Nina, do you think Dad will be mad if I don’t want to play soccer anymore?” This is the question that Deivinho asks his sister, who sleeps on the top bunk, on a sleepless night and who gives form and path to the film. mars one (Brazil, 2022, directed by Gabriel Martins) – there is here spoilers, but not many, nor decisive. The boy's questioning is unpretentious, but it hides revolutions.

After watching several scientific dissemination videos by physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the boy starts to want to know more and more about astrophysics, and to nurture expectations and desires, including composing future space missions (the main one is described in the title of the film ) – a possibility that no longer leaves football as the main path for life expectations.

On the other hand, the father, a black worker from the lower middle class, has high hopes for his son's football talent and future. His experiences and observations of the social dynamics of his country let him know that this talent can offer some future material security for Deivinho and his family – and it cannot be wasted.

The mother of the family is a day laborer and works autonomously with cleaning services in the metropolitan region of Belo Horizonte. Uncertainties about what may or may not take place in life and work, in addition to constant disregard for her citizenship and dignity, bring her closer to afflictions and psychic tensions. Nina is Eunice, a law student who finds herself in a same-sex relationship and wants to leave home as soon as possible in order to live. Informed, aware of her rights and dignity, her life involves conflicts and expectations between possible and impossible dreams and the circumstances that our world in transition offers.

Even with the center of the film occupied by Deivinho's impractical dream, everyone in this family has expectations about reality that, as we have seen, may not necessarily be the same – even for those who are close and who love each other. Evidence of this is the boy's question, who knows that disregarding his father's expectations could lead to hurt and frustration.

In between preserving paths already trodden, safe and that can maintain and expand possibilities, new aspirations arise, involving progress: whether from advanced science or the defense of freedom of affections, new values ​​and expectations come into conflict with attempts at security based on ancient existential models. In a country whose circumstances make plans and interests impractical, Deivinho's expectations border on science fiction.

mars one makes us think about the reasons for this: there is motivation, there is information, there is courage and there is discipline: what distances Deivinho from astrophysics? What about citizenship? What about dignity? Can football alone bring him closer to full consideration of his humanity? Such conflicts are there too, sometimes on a more ethereal level, but they still make us think again.

In this sense, when we get closer to the lives of these people (and ours), their conflicts, hopes and stories, mars one it can be considered an exercise in what the philosopher Martha Nussbaum calls the “cultivation of humanity”. It is a set of stimuli in human training that involves the development of three skills, discussed in Cultivating Humanity (1998): (i) the ability to critically examine oneself and one's traditions and circumstances; (ii) the ability to see ourselves as human beings “linked to other human beings by ties of recognition and mutual concern”; and (iii) a form of narrative imagination, which involves the ability to think about what it would be like to be in someone else's shoes, to understand the world from the other's point of view.

Deivinho's conflicts in choosing between football and astrophysics, the tensions involved in disputes between different values ​​and hopes of that family full of affection, the hard choices that will be made in the name of the possibility of living with the – now – different, are situations that bring us closer and remind us of our lives full of conflicts, weaknesses and fears – and that humanize us.

Currently, we are increasingly involved in sad and brutalizing affections, a situation in which political proposals are concerned with fomenting them in search of the construction of an authoritarian and resentful society – in which they will guarantee power and controls. Perhaps a considerable part of this objective has already been achieved. However, it is still frightening and surprising that visions of this nature garner democratic support, even in the diversities and adversities in which we live.

The brutalization of our conviviality – often followed by dehumanization – points to the need to consider the cultivation of humanity to which Nussbaum refers. mars one it is, in this context, a great exercise in this cultivation and humanization – making us think about our own circumstances, the ties that unite us or not and the possibility of paths and possibilities for existence. There is a fear, however, that it is already too late – perhaps these issues no longer call the attention of some of us, so brutalized – in a divided country, afraid of its own and of the future.

*Jose Costa Junior is professor of philosophy and social sciences at IFMG –Campus Ponte Nova


mars one
Brazil, 2022, 115 minutes
Directed by: Gabriel Martins
Cast: Cícero Lucas, Carlos Francisco, Camilla Damião, Rejane Faria, Robson Vieira


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