A feature film directed by ZEPE
C and B are twin cats who live in a rundown harbour town, inhabited by downtrodden birds who, under the yoke of an oppressive, mutilating and silencing power, have lost the ability to sing or fly. C is a restless dreamer and B is a pragmatic thinker, but both are determined to change their destiny and save the town. C decides to leave the town, go up river and venture into the forest in search of solutions. Meanwhile, B believes it is more important to stay, resist and intervene politically. Dom Fradique is a series of adventures that brings together a gallery of unexpected and peculiar characters. What they discover will change them, their lives and their town forever.
C is for Cat - The Lonesome Musician
C lives in an old room with a verandah overlooking the river, in a poor part of the old, neglected town. He mostly occupies his time fishing for bottles with messages inside. He religiously collects these notes from the unknown and doggedly tries to decipher their cryptic messages. As time goes by, the messages in the bottles become increasingly more cryptic.
B is for Brother - The Supportive Musician
B is C’s brother. Pragmatic and altruistic, he believes he can change the rundown town and that the answer to overthrowing tyranny lies in political activism. This conviction leads him to attempt a joint act of sabotage involving rival rebel factions.
Dom Fradique - The Philosopher Bird
He is a somewhat eccentric bird that has travelled the world over. A talented sketch artist, Dom Fradique records all his explorations and everything he learns about. For years, he has been studying signs and researching documents that have led him to believe in the existence of an ancient divinity whose exact whereabouts are unknown to him.
Smokey Maria - The Overseer
Nimble and brave, Smokey Maria has an intuitive knowledge of the forest and all its creatures. She speaks to her retinue of hens in a language consisting of clicks. She smokes a pipe, plays the fife and doesn’t seem to miss socialising with her peers. What she likes most is to take care of the animals who are sad and lost.
Bad Wolf - The Anarchic Boatman
Bad Wolf has a reputation as a bandit and his name is on wanted posters all over town. But no one knows what crime he committed. He clandestinely pilots his floating crane between the outskirts of the town and the edge of the forest, and knows the properties of the mineral that in former times enabled the birds to sing and fly.
Aya - The Forest Spirit
Aya, the wild, fluvial divinity embodies the forest as a primordial place and the river as a primeval power. Her magic presence is terrifying. During the apparition rites, she emerges from a green fire, sporting a huge balloon skirt that spins like a whirling dervish.
Aya is part of an ancient, threatened world, but that does not stop her from crossing through time itself to re-emerge in the present as a living memory.
Tiny Bird - The Young Outcast
This miniature alter-ego of B appears for the first time looking feverish, with rheumy, droopy eyes, standing on the railing of the harbour bridge, soon after C leaves town.
At that time, he seems to have renounced life, but, despite his illness, he soon bounces back and plays a major role in his new friend’s existence.
Tiny Bird has a profound knowledge of the Old Town and its secrets and shows them to B. Thanks to him, B radically changes his vision of the world and his attitude towards life.
Though he cannot replace C in I’s life, he soothes his pain as he keeps him company and encourages him in his struggle for radical change in the town.
Shakey - The Fool Foul
He is the leader of a rebel group of birds who meet at the Eyeball Inn, expressing their discontentment in a rather indiscreet fashion. As so many revolutionaries, Shakey is a folk figure of the Old Town, and a representative of generalized social misery.
He used to be a dock worker, but physical disability prevents him from working. He now spends his time ranting amidst alcohol vapours, gathering new supporters for the cause with his eloquence. He promotes the idea of sacrifice for the sake of the rise of a new order. He boasts of his past heroic actions, but it eventually becomes clear that those were the deeds of brave and pure-hearted anonymous heroes. A fool foul, Shakey represents the power of apathy under a mask of rebel energy.
The Crane Man
An old bird with a youthful spirit, the Crane Man is an eccentric character who, amongst other odd jobs, operates a worn-out crane in the Old Dock. Sure he has nothing to lose, and that the world he used to be a part of no longer exists, the Crane Man fears nothing and no one. He knows the secret stories of the Old Town, and acts as a sort of guardian watching over the entrance of the Old Town.
The Sentinel Birds
They manage and watch over the New Dock, yet they also patrol every corner of the old quarters in small groups: the taverns, the secretive squares, and the Old Dock where fugitives search for a hideout. Still, their natural habitat is the concentrationary setting of the New Dock.
They speak in soliloquies of monosyllables. To communicate, they use whistles. They go about harshly giving orders, but in fact they are the epitome of blind obedience to the system they guard. They keep an orderly and mechanical behaviour, lacking insight and judgement.
DOM FRADIQUE combines different animation techniques and processes, particularly traditional computer assisted animation, and 2D and 3D animation.
As in the case of the short, THE CYCLE (the trial-balloon for the preparation of DOM FRADIQUE), it took as its starting point the needs inherent to drawing, as opposed to the technological contingencies, and the usual aesthetic of 3D images.
All our research led to preserving the graphic aspect the author intended it to have, bringing it much closer to the processes and aesthetic of traditional animation.
Although seemingly simple, the 3D characters and settings are highly complex.
Each character/object is alterable in all its components, enabling a closer approximation to the world of drawing and greater exploration of their appeal.
The settings enhance renderings/repetitions and alterations of volume measurements, adapting to the trajectory of the characters and other moving elements.
Technically, these concerns are already addressed in the modeling of the characters, the creation of blend shapes, construction of skeletons and respective controllers (rigging).
The approach to post-production will also be non-traditional, with recourse to dynamic filters and textures, and with contours and shadows being treated separately.
character line and colour_STUDIES
Director: José Pedro Cavalheiro (Zepe)
Screenplay: Regina Guimarães, Cátia Salgueiro e Zepe
Estudios de animación – ICAIC (Cuba)
Kecskemét Animation Film Production (Hungria)
Paul Thiltges Distribution (Luxemburgo)
Pássaro Films (Brasil)