Tatiana Issa’s Interview on Dzi Croquettes

by Leonardo Tenan

Tatiana Issa, along with Raphael Alvarez, directed Dzi Croquettes (2010), a documentary that illuminates the story of the avant-garde performing group by that name that influenced a whole generation in Brazil including the gay movement during the 1970s. Created by the choreographer Lennie Dale and actor Wagner Ribeiro, The Dzi Croquettes group, which performs mixed dance, music and theatre, was subsequently censored and suppressed by the Brazilian military dictatorship, which prompted the group flee to France.

Issa’s father—French technician Americo Issa—worked as a set-designer for the performances of the group in Paris, and so Issa lived with them for a short but important period of her childhood. With this documentary, she revives the story and the passion of Dzi Croquettes fans called tietes, while bringing awareness of the group’s profound contribution to Brazilian performing arts and music. The documentary reconstructs their story through 40 interviews. In this way it is practically an oral history due to the absence of archival documents. Members of the group reminisce along with artists and friends who supported them and aided the group’s development in Brazil and France. These included Liza Minelli, Ron Lewis, Gilberto Gil, Nelson Motta, Luiz Carlos Miéle, among others.

Despite the poor technical quality of the montage, film footage, and lack of in-depth research, the documentary is one of Brazil’s recent most celebrated and awarded documentaries due to its significant historical contribution to Brazilian culture.

In this 7 parts interview conducted by Leonardo Tenan for Intermedias Review in Toronto during the 4th Brazilian Film Fest, Tatiana Issa explains the documentary’s production process and the difficulties that impede the recovery and creation of Brazilian cultural history.