Journey into the deepest, darkest corners of Rio de Janeiro in the teaser for the anime-influenced Brazilian/French animated feature Heart of Darkness:
The proposed film transplants Joseph Conrad’s classic novel of the same name from Africa to a “near future” Rio. Here’s the official synopsis:
Marlow is a young police officer whose mission is to find and capture a certain Captain Kurtz, legendary member of the police who deserted the corporation and maintains a rebellious society in an almost inaccessible place in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro. Marlow will have to fulfill his mission in a small boat, undertaking a dangerous journey, navigating precariously the mangrove channels, through the outskirts of Rio, between the slums, pollution and garbage, far from the beautiful and worlwide known touristic postcards of Rio de Janeiro.
Conrad’s classic has inspired numerous film and TV projects in the past, most famously Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, a Vietnam War-era update of the story.
So, will we ever see the film? The project is being helmed by Brazilian filmmaker Rogério Nunes based on a script he wrote with Sergio Nesteriuk. São Paulo production house Karmatique Imagens teamed up with French producer Les Films d’Ici back in 2014 to try and raise funding for the digital 2D film, which is budgeted at an extremely modest 2 million euros. A 2018 completion date is currently projected, though as far as we know, it hasn’t yet entered production.
“It’s the first attempt to focus on the ‘B side’ of Rio de Janeiro through an animation feature, exposing the social contrasts that remain in Brazilian society,” Nunes told Variety back in 2014 when he was pitching the project at Annecy’s MIFA market. “Although Darkness makes use of fantasy, it also presents social issues such as police corruption, drug trafficking, environmental degradation, the absence of state control of Rio favelas, popular blind faith in a future savior.”
Nunes pitched Heart of Darkness at Cartoon Movie last March. The producers reported at the conference that they are still around 1 million euros short of the final production budget. The film skews adult, targeting audiences in their late-teens and twenties.
Should the film move into production, French actor Vincent Cassel (Ocean’s Twelve, Black Swan) is attached to voice Captain Kurtz, not just in French, but also in the English and Portuguese versions of the film.
Nunes envisions the film would be animated primarily in France, which has a stronger pool of 2D animators than Brazil, while backgrounds, compositing, coloring, and other artistic tasks would be completed in Brazil.