Inside a dilapidated 1942 social housing complex, once a colossal epitome of Brazilian Modernism, residents live solitary, intensified lives: there are rumours of an approaching pandemic. It’s past midnight – the hour of insomniacs. 

Lights from one apartment flicker and keep changing colour. A woman is changing bulbs over and over, with theatrical urgency.

Uttering fragments from Virginia Woolf’s ‘Orlando’, she repeats movement patterns that lend her existence subjective meaning; she has been alive for 350 years. 

In an apartment several floors below, a man in stripy pyjamas moves about, singing, apparently heartbroken. He is sleepwalking.

His haunting melodies seep through the estate, derailing her carefully constructed patterns, as she is swallowed by the building blocks’ ossified concrete. “The Queen has come”.

“Music is liquid architecture; architecture is frozen music.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“The Great Frost was, historians tell us, the most severe that has ever visited these islands. Birds froze in mid-air and fell like stones to the ground. Corpses froze and could not be drawn from the sheets. Are we so made that we have to take death in small doses daily or we could not go on with the business of living?”

Virginia Wolf

Big Frost was shot at IAPI, a landmark council estate built in Belo Horizonte in 1942.

“Humanity needs dreams to be able to survive the miseries of daily existence, even if only for an instant.”

Oscar Niemeyer

Cast & Crew

Performers: Paula Lay , Rodrigo Firpi
Choreography: Fernanda Lippi
Director / Camera : Andre Semenza

The film is currently in post-production.