What ‘Bingo’ Director Daniel Rezende Learned From Being a Film Editor

“As an editor, I always learned that the footage will tell you how to cut. It’s not you to tell the footage how to cut it,” Rezende said.

“You look at it, you know it’s right.” That’s what Daniel Rezende came to realize when he was directing “Bingo: The King of Mornings.”

Rezende is an Oscar-nominated film editor for “City of God” and has also worked on “The Motorcycle Diaries” and “The Tree of Life,” so he knows how to follow his instincts. And he told TheWrap’s Awards Editor Steve Pond how his experience as an editor shaped his work when directing his feature film debut.

“There’s no such thing as a rule on how to make a movie,” Rezende said at The Wrap’s Awards and Foreign Screening Series at the Landmark Theatres in Los Angeles Thursday night. “As an editor, I always learned that the footage will tell you how to cut. It’s not you to tell the footage how to cut it.”

“Bingo,” Brazil’s official submission to the 2018 Foreign Language Oscars race, tells a dramatized account of the life of Arlindo Barreto, who came to fame playing a Brazilian incarnation of Bozo the Clown while privately battling a drug addiction. No one knew Barreto’s name as his character became a massive Brazilian TV star, and Rezende said that’s a struggle he can relate to as an artist.

“Maybe I always wanted to be a director, and then I found film editing as something I fell in love with by accident,” Rezende said. “It’s a character driven movie with a very human issue about being validated as an artist and a person and someone who wants to find his place in the spotlight, and when he does, he’s behind a mask and no one knows who he is. I thought it was a very interesting character to play with.”

Being a first time director posed the same challenges for Rezende as it does for any new filmmakers, but in “Bingo” you can see how Rezende found his footing, such as in some daring, long tracking shots in which the camera sweeps the room and flies out a nearby window.

In another pivotal moment, the camera tilts on its side as Bingo dejectedly walks down a long hallway, the lights flickering off as he goes. This proved to be one of those moments when Rezende knew what he was looking at was just right.

“You don’t always know everything you want, but you have to know where you want to go, or you have to be a very good liar,” Rezende said. “Even in my career as an editor, I always wanted to not repeat myself. I always wanted to do things I’ve never done before or try challenges that I had no idea how to solve that challenge.”

“Bingo” is a rare film in Brazil to highlight the country’s pop culture heritage, but as Rezende looks to what’s next in his career, he believes this story can cross borders.

“I don’t want to close any doors. I want to be editing for directors I admire and do respect, but I want to be telling my own stories,” Rezende said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re an artist or a director or an actor, we want to be validated and recognized by our parents, by our sons, by our friends, by our work. That is universal.”