Quico Meirelles, the son of Fernando Meirelles, debuts as a feature film director with this film based on this story of Pará. PROMOTIONAL PHOTO

Pssica Becomes a Film

The novel by Edyr Augusto from Pará will have a screen version directed by Quico Meirelles

The wretched life of Janalice, the protagonist of the novel Pssica, written by Edyr Augusto of Pará, will now be played by a flesh and blood resident of Pará. Who will play the young girl of around 14 who is raped, sold on the international prostitution market and has to live through all sorts of torments? It’s still too early to tell, but we do know that it will be adapted for the big screen, and that we’ll see what the author has imagined based on facts related to the Amazonian region. The rights to the book, released by the publisher Boitempo, have been bought by the production company O2 Filmes, and it will be produced by Andrea Barata Ribeiro, Bel Berlinck and Fernando Meirelles. The director will be Quico Meirelles, the son of Fernando, who tells us that they started writing the screenplay a few days ago.

Currently in an embryonic phase, this adaptation of Pssica will be written by Braulio Mantovani (City of God and Elite Squad) and Fernando Garrido (The Gold Hunt). At 29 an experienced director of series and commercials, this will be the first film that he’s directed, which will be a challenge considering that this will be a different kind of project for this production company, with it being set in a fictional universe in the Amazon.

The Novel is Currently Being Adapted for the Screen


Quico Meirelles has already been to Belem with his father, and spent some time there during the production of the opera The Pearl Fishermen by Bizet in 2015. “I read the book and not only liked the story, but the universe that it reveals. I don’t remember having seen anything about Belém and Marajó, like the book describes them. We intend to tell not only this powerful story, but also reveal this universe on the big screen, which we believe will be visually incredible. It’s my first feature film and I’m very eager to get started, and it’s a responsibility to be working with a story of this level. But I have incredible partners and good prospects for this work. I’ve gotten to know a few places in the city, and I want to get to know Marajó and talk with Edyr,” says Quico Meirelles, in an exclusive interview with Você.

Janelice’s entire life is a “pssica” – which in the popular language of Pará means when someone is cursed by another person. And the team has bet on the cursed life in this book’s narrative and the power of these literary scenes together with Edyr’s writing abilities, which have left all of us here at the production company fascinated. “Andrea and my father thought the book was incredible and proposed that we transform it into a film,” Quico tells us. Now we’re going to get a better idea of which parts of the literary narrative can be reproduced directly on the screen, and how to handle them visually.

“We’re beginning to understand the book and are thinking about how to structure the film. Each chapter talks about a different character which on the screen would be fragmented. We’re studying how to adapt the author’s own structure, separating the central characters, Janelice, the Portuguese man, and Preá. There are three stories, and I’m trying to understand when one story enters another, how they are linked, and how to translate the experience of reading the book to the screen, because it’s like a machine gun, things happen very quickly. In two pages more things happen in Jane’s life than have happened in my entire life,” jokes the director, adding that the idea is to also give the film the speed of Edyr’s narrative.

Protagonist Should Be Selected from Belem

Since this is a production that just began a few days ago, and Quico Meirelles is still wrapping up other works he’s been directing, the names of the actors as well as the logistics and the locations for filming in Belem still haven’t been discussed – and this will happen only during the second half of next year. But Quico points out that actors from the capital of Pará could play most of the parts, given that the novel is set in the city, Marajó and French Guiana – which will facilitate the interpretation of local customs. The director also intends to spend more time in the city to develop a better connection with the story. “My view is that of an outsider, unlike those who live there every day. Since we’re beginning everything now, many things will be developed next year, but I had a meeting this week with Braulio [Montovani, the screenwriter] and my father [Fernando Meirelles], and talked about how to approach the film. I still haven’t had an opportunity to talk with Edyr, but we’ll learn about the book, about life and his vision of the city from him. In terms of the cast, Jana [Janalice’s name as a prostitute in the book] is very young, and we’re certainly going to hold casting tests to select who’ll play this adolescent. For the other parts we’re thinking of having someone who’s already known to provide more visibility, perhaps the Portuguese character. But there’s still a lot to do, we’re also doing fundraising now,” the director informs us. The forecast is that it will be two and a half years before the film’s release.