Performing Loss Part One

2021 - 20 min, 3 channel video

The Voluntary Psychopomp

Co-directed with Mathilde Renault

After the sudden loss of my father, I attempted to find new ways to process grief. Looking for strategies, she took a DNA test. The DNA of one individual can tell vastly about the history of colonization, immigration, and cultural exchanges. While visiting key ancestral locations she explored local grieving rituals. 


Mixing scientific data about the neuroscience of ritual and Brazilian genetics with the rawness that can only derive from first person accounts, the three-channel film portrays a contemporary psychopomp as a craftswoman. 


Writen by Mayra Sérgio

Directed by Mayra Sérgio and Mathilde Renault

Cinematography by Mathilde Renault and Pierre Clément Nivière

Edting by Mathilde Renault 

Sound design by Andrés García Vidal

Coreography by Marlieke Burghouts

Extra footage Brasil Sofia Safaad

Extra footage Portugal Flora Lahuerta

Research Brasil Sofia Safaad

Research Portugal Flora Lahuerta

Research Nigeria Cecile Tafanelli

Wood carving adviser Daan Simons

Wood smoking adviser Niels Hendriks

Interns Ida Leijting and Cecile Hübner

Narrators Mayra Sérgio,  Michelle Son and Laura Dubourjal-Bergé

Subtitles Michelle Son