The Malaquias

A Story by Andrea Del Fuego.

Feature Film
90 minutes

The Malaquias” narrates the abandonment of men by nature and by men themselves. The story takes place in the fictional city of Serra Morena, in the countryside of Brazil. The city is inspired by Carmo do Rio Claro, southwest of Minas Gerais, where part of this story actually happened, as well as being based on the author's family history.

In the first decades of the 20th century, a couple is killed by a bolt of lightning that strikes their home during their sleep. Only the children, still very young, survive: Nico, Antônio, and Júlia, who are immediately separated. They are rescued by the employee of a farm where Nico is adopted to work there, and he will spend his days trying to be reunited with his siblings, as well as trying to have their home back, which was taken from them. In its place, a huge dam was constructed, and flooded most of the region. Later, the Furnas hydroelectric plant was constructed there.

Their youngest sister, Júlia, is sent to an orphanage, as is her middle brother, Antônio. Júlia ends up being adopted by a family as a maid instead of as their daughter, and Antônio is rejected for being a dwarf. Orphanhood is accentuated by the distance from Serra Morena. Júlia ends up running away from her foster home and starts working at the São Paulo bus station where she is rescued by Messias, the owner of a grocery store near the foster home. They get married, but she is also rejected by her husband at the birth of their child when they discover the baby is a dwarf.

Antônio is a dwarf, but Júlia does not know the condition is genetic because they did not grow up together. Antônio is raised by French nuns, who take care of the Serra Morena orphanage until he is taken by Nico who, at that time, had already recovered the family house and is about to marry Maria. The dwarf becomes an important presence in the house; from doing the cleaning to chopping wood, including being a male midwife when Maria is in labor.

The story revolves around the three nuclei, Nico, Júlia, and Antônio, occasionally permeated by unusual scenes or characters that scrutinize Serra Morena such as Geraldina, the ghost of the farmer's mother who adopted Nico and, it is known later, Júlia's grandmother in a past betrayal of her deceased mother. Geraldina is an almost physical presence that accompanies the family saga. Being of indigenous origin (Cataguases), she is responsible for the anomaly of the plot, as well as its meaning, namely: inheritance is destiny, just as orphanhood is the human crossing itself.