Mais para Clara (Emails 2000)


Dear Clara,

We’re in Redding, California, now, seeing about a possible job for Marcella here.  My piriformis/sciatica seems slowly to be going away, though it is still very much here.  I keep doing my stretches.

Below I will print notes which I kept back in 2000, along with a letter I sent to Paolo Branco, Teresa’s producer for Agua e Sal, and then your mother’s first communication with me after she took you from Rome on Nov. 2.   Later I will send the series of emails that followed.  I know these things may be difficult for you to deal with, but they are things of your life, which you should know.  You would not learn of them through your Mother or her family or friends.

Amo-te, Clarinha.

Teu pai



ON WEDNESDAY, NOV 1, 2000, Teresa returned to Rome in the evening, we had with Clara a dinner out, civil if not enjoyable. In the morning of Nov 2, Teresa took Clara to school and returned home, we talked for perhaps 20 minutes, and I gave her a letter written to her producer, Paolo Branco, as she said she had not discussed it with him. After reading Teresa looked ghostly, and said she had to go for a walk and have a coffee. She left; I packed and at 11 am, before she returned, I went to the airport to go on a planned long weekend to Madrid where my work was being shown at the Filmoteca and Museo Reina Sofia.

Jon Jost vicolo di Santa Rufina, 50, (Trastevere) 00153 Roma
Phone and Fax: (39) 06 580 0924

To: Paolo Branco, Madragoa Filmes Oct 25 2000

Dear Paolo,
While Teresa had sort of held out the suggestion and promise of quite a different communication with you – perhaps yet another of her normal manipulative behaviors – this one is not, alas, about the prospects of my doing a film with you. Quite not.

As I assume you are aware, Teresa, on the evening before my return to Rome with Clara (to get her belatedly into school), handed me a little note in which in her rather naive, immature and utterly self-centered manner she announced the end of our relationship. Sort of, “needed baby-sitting services completed, I am finished with you now.” While in Cabanas I had known – as she suggested you knew – about her affair with Jose-Maria, her was-supposed-to-be first assistant. The wisdom of sleeping with an allegedly one-year clean ex-junkie from Lisboa, where, as the newspapers reported recently the AIDS ratio for junkies is 80% leaves very much to be desired. The ethics and morality of doing so with a man who had at the time an 8 month pregnant wife calls into question Teresa’s moral suitability for being a mother herself. That all this passes unnoticed in Teresa’s mind speaks for itself.

In any event Teresa’s subsequent behavior, attached to numerous false things she told me in the past months regarding the production and her avoidance (endless) of responsibility for things for which she is responsible, tied to the obnoxious responses of your on the scene production manager Alexandre regarding a stupid airplane ticket have all drawn into sharp relief and question my original agreement to go with Clara to be in Cabanas while the film was shot, and my letting Clara be in the film at all. At this point it seems clear that Teresa had more or less planned all this from the outset (perhaps from when she wrote the screenplay in the time I carved out for her to be able to do it instead of her being a half-time mother), and that she was merely using me, and Clara, for her own now clearly dubious purposes.

I am Clara’s father, and have legal rights regarding her. At present there is no contract between the production and me (or Teresa for that matter), and no legally valid agreement on my part that Clara participate in the film. Given what now appears – and what is somewhat evident in the script – to be Teresa’s rather callous use of her own daughter (as well as of me) to fictionalize (quite falsely and dishonestly) in a film what she was also busy carrying out in real life, I now have very real and strong moral reservations about the whole matter. Usually artists let the art stuff suffice for fulfilling their fantasies, but in this case Teresa seems to have used it to actually carry out her fantasies; at the outset of the production Teresa had confided in me, somewhat enthusiastically, hoping it would happen, that she was sure being in the film would cause Galatea to leave her husband! Had I had any thought that Teresa would actually do what she has done I would certainly neither have let her film with Clara, nor would I have stayed with Clara for three months of deceitful actions all for Teresa’s convenience.   Teresa will have to live with the consequences of her own actions, including the heavy personal weight of the effects on her own daughter.

I notify you here that until I have a long long discussion with you and with Teresa, have seen the rough cut (with sound) of the film, and am able to consider the future impact of Clara seeing herself be used in such a manner in a film made by her own Mother (in light of that Mother’s actions during the making of that film), that I will not give my consent for her appearance in that film, and if any effort is made to circumvent this, I will take legal actions necessary to see that my daughter is not abused by such actions, and if necessary to protect her interests (and my own) I will make the whole matter public in Portugal and in the film industry in general. Likewise until the foregoing is done, and I have given my consent, Clara will not be available for the remaining scene (in which the Mother of the film comes to steal her child away!).

I have known Teresa now for I think 10 years. I have lived with her for eight, following her very aggressive pursuit of me, fully at her instigation. She is, to my direct observation a continually manipulative person with everyone she knows, from her family and friends (including me, of course), to those she deals with in the film world, in manners both petty and grand. Her record of 3 producers, each of with whom she is not really on speaking terms, says something about the soured nature of her relationships. In this instance she seems to have imagined that I would do as the others she has so treated, and beat a hasty retreat, succumb to her attempts at charm, fall for her posture as the privileged artist which she thinks authorizes anything she wishes, and all the other ploys she normally uses to coerce her way. As she seldom is really aware beyond the most immediate things of what she is doing, and does not apparently care about them, she tends to leave all around her a sprawl of mess, of things she is unaware of or didn’t think about. She does this in her personal day-to-day life, in her business things, in her creative work: it is all of a piece. In this case she succumbed to her own hubris, manipulating in the crudest of ways not only the person she lived with, but also her own daughter, and seems to imagine it will all be OK. (Her mother does exactly the same thing with Teresa, pushing her out as a propaganda prop for the Portuguese CP, never asking Teresa – who is anything but a communist – if it is OK; daughter as useful placard.)

Ultimately – even for her own well-being – Teresa must be confronted with the quite ugly reality and consequences of her own actions, her totally self-absorbed selfishness, and how it effects others, and will also, in due time, effect her. Teresa seems to imagine that “being an artist” is license and justification for all this; it is not, however commonplace such ego-centrism may be among so-called artists. In this instance she is working very rapidly on assuring that her own daughter will see her more or less as Teresa sees her own Mother (and that, whatever she says about it to others, is not a very nice view.)

I will leave this here. I trust you perceive and appreciate my seriousness about this. Until I have seen and can make a judgment on the film (thus far) and its possible or probable negative impact on Clara’s thoughts and feelings in the future, Clara will not be available for any further shooting, and I will not give my consent for her to appear in the film at all. My judgment about the film will not have anything to do with whether it is a good or bad film, or whether I like it or not, but only as to how it would seem a young woman seeing such a film made by her own mother, using herself as a prop in such a way, would be effected by it. If I conclude that the effect would be negative, no permission will be forthcoming.

Any effort to ignore or otherwise not abide by my wishes will be met with legal and public actions.

I regret the actions which Teresa has taken which make this necessary to write, and I look to hear from you shortly.


Jon Jost

Calls home from Madrid that evening and the next 3 days begot no answers, only the machine. On the evening of Nov 5, in the airport in Madrid I looked for email at an internet point and found this:

nov 5 T letter

Your mother had taken you to Lisboa, and gone into hiding with you.  I will in the next letters send you the emails that followed, along with a description of what happened in the following weeks and months.


Amo-te, Clarinha !


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