The comic strip Balada para Sophie, the new collaboration between authors Filipe Melo and Juan Cavia, is the one that exposes the affinities and anxieties that haunt them the most.
Ballad for Sophie arrives this week in bookstores with the seal of Tinta-da-China and joins the Portuguese screenwriter Filipe Melo and the Argentinian designer Juan Cavia around comics, summoning an imagination of cinema, music and Literature.
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With more than 300 pages, the book’s starting point is the rivalry between two French pianists, who in the 1930s competed in a competition for young talents. The story is told from the point of view of one of the pianists, Julien Dubois, who, knowing himself at the end of his life, seeks to redeem himself from the past in a long interview with a journalist.
“This is what we talk about most directly. There were questions that were important to us, but they were disguised in the previous books. In this we expose a little more the anxieties that can haunt our lives, ”explained Filipe Melo.
The question of the rivalry between the pianists – François Samson and Julien Dubois – seems to be the central theme of the book, but it is secondary, it is the trigger for the story, which extends between 1930 and 1990, explains Filipe Melo, without wanting to to unveil. “It’s a story of contrasts between two profiles”, filled with multiple references, from Glenn Gould to Keith Jarrett, Richard Clayderman and Liberace.
Filipe Melo recalled that the story of Balada pour Sophie had been written “at a very, very complicated stage, so that the making of the book seemed extremely simple”. “The writing of history seemed to be done alone,” says the author, even from afar, since Juan Cavia lives in Argentina.
“He’s one of the most talented and generous people. We work very well with each other. Much less hours to reach an agreement. I’m sure I wouldn’t do comic books without Juan. This book was designed as a comic to be drawn by Juan Cavia, ”he said.
The ballad for Sophie ends with the drawing of a score, with an unpublished composition by Filipe Melo, as if it had been written by Julien Dubois, “a guy who heard Chopin a lot, spent many years playing songs. with olive oil, is very tired, but I want to leave a message, a hug ”.
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The first literary collaboration between Filipe Melo and Juan Cavia took place ten years ago, when they released the first of four comic volumes of The Adventures of Dog Mendonça and Pizzaboy, followed by the graphic novel Os vampiros and the two new comics. Eat / Drink.
Ballad para Sophie is dedicated to Beatriz Lebre, the 23-year-old psychology university student and pianist, killed in May by a college colleague. “I wanted to dedicate the book to him for this person to remember. It’s an honest effort for someone to go see who she is and the song she made. It is dedicated to a pianist who left too early and who would like to be remembered in one way or another, ”said Filipe Melo.
Ballad for Sophie has already been published in France, by Paquet editions, in Poland, by Mucha, and in the United States by Top Shelf Productions, joining a catalog which includes, among others, Alan Moore, Frederik Peeters and Craig Thompson.