News

‘300’s’ Rodrigo Santoro Stars in Globo Novela ‘Velho Chico’

As it embraces TV’s digital revolution – VOD, shorter-form series – Brazil’s Globo, Latin America’s biggest TV group, is attempting not to lose the baby with the bathwater: Super Bowl-sized audiences every night of the year on its main Globo free-to-air channel, still driven by telenovelas.

Its latest play, “Velho Chico,” with big star-wattage, marks a new twist in its big novela lineup: the telenovela comeback of Luiz Fernando Carvalho (“The King of the Cattle”), nominated for an Intl. Emmy in 2014 for year-end special “Alexandre and Other Heroes” and one of Brazil’s most celebrated super-soap auteurs. Though Carvalho won a slew of prizes with his 2001 movie “To the Left of the Father,” he has spent much of his life battling to prove that Brazilian soaps can be a worthy successor of a great narrative tradition.

Bowing at 9 p.m. peak prime time on main channel Globo as Globo’s big new novela,
See full article at Variety - TV News »

'Neon Bull' triumphs in Rio

  • ScreenDaily
'Neon Bull' triumphs in Rio
The sensorial cinema of Gabriel Mascaro, who turned the life of a group of cowhands into a poetic experience in Neon Bull (Boi Neon), was the big winner at the 17th edition of Rio de Janeiro’s International Film Festival.

The allegory of the recent economic transformations in Brazil received four Redentor awards on Tuesday night: best film, best screenplay, best cinematography and best supporting actress for Alyne Santana.

Previously the film screened in Venice, where it won the Orizzonti special jury prize, and Toronto.

The best director prize was shared between Ives Rosenfeld’s Hopefuls (Aspirantes), a journey of a young amateur football player, and Anita Rocha da Silveira’s Kill Me Please (Mate-Me Por Favor), a teen horror film set at a school in Barra de Tijuca. Both works are first features.

The jury headed by the director and cinematographer Walter Carvalho also celebrated Hopefuls with a best actor prize for Ariclenes Barroso and a
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Vania Catani’s Bananeira Filmes Launches New Gen Brazilian Talent, Primes Lucrecia Martel’s ‘Zama’ (Exclusive)

Vania Catani’s Bananeira Filmes Launches New Gen Brazilian Talent, Primes Lucrecia Martel’s ‘Zama’ (Exclusive)
Rio De Janeiro — Argentina has a New Argentine Cinema; Carlos Reygadas, Mantarraya and Canana ushered in a new era in Mexico; the Novissimo Cine Chileno exploded onto the scene at the 2005 Valdivia Festival.

Now, finally, in a year when Brazil has selected Daniel Ribeiro’s “The Way He Looks” as its Foreign-Language Oscar entry – a first feature for its director and producer alike – the Latin America giant may be sewing the seeds of a New Brazilian Cinema.

Several factors are in play: Hiked direct incentives, tabbed by president Dilma Roussef at $540 million for 2014, and open to new directors; new TV coin from pay TV players such as Canal Brasil and Telecine, again accessible for first features; a new generation of producers, such as Bananeira FilmesVania Catani.

Catani broke through producing actor-turned-director Selton Mello’s “Happy Christmas” and “The Clown,” a groundbreaking arthouse hit in Brazil. As she preps Selton Mello’s third feature,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

‘Absence,’ ‘Town,’ ‘Paradise’ Make Rio Fest Premiere Brasil Line-Up

‘Absence,’ ‘Town,’ ‘Paradise’ Make Rio Fest Premiere Brasil Line-Up
Chico Teixeira’s “Absence,” Daniel Aragao’s “I Swear I’ll Leave This Town” and Andre Ristum’s “The Other Side of Paradise” world premiere in the Rio de Janeiro Intl. Film Festival’s centerpiece Premiere Brasil.

The Rio Fest runs Sept. 24 to Oct. 8.

“Absence,” “Town” and “Paradise” all figure in the feature film section. Also competing for Rio Fest’s top Redentor fiction feature prize: “Obra,” from Gregorio Graziosi, which bows at Toronto Discovery section.

Both “Town” and “Obra” are early sales titles on FiGa/Br, the new Brazilian sales label set up this year by L.A.-based FiGa Films.

Of other titles, Visit Films sells Fellipe Barbosa’s “Casa Grande,” also in the fiction feature cut. Playing out of competition: Pablo Fendrik’s Bac Films-sold “El Ardor,” an Amazon Western, first seen at Cannes, staring Gael Garcia Bernal and Alice Braga.

The world’s biggest new Brazilian pic spread,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Heleno | Review

  • ioncinema
Fantasy Fútbol Turned Nightmare: Santoro Brings Bravura

As we all know, the brightest stars often burn out far faster than your average Joe, especially when referring to narcissistic, trash talking celebrity athletes who seem to care for their public image more than the bodies that bring them success. Long before we witnessed the rise and fall of Mike Tyson, Darryl Strawberry, or Tiger Woods, there was Heleno de Freitas, a Brazilian bad boy soccer superstar who led the Botafogo football club throughout the 1940s, ending his career morosely by refusing to treat a crippling case of syphilis and talking himself into alienation from the sport that made him a national icon. Director José Henrique Fonseca’s biographic portrayal of the hot headed footballer takes pains to indulge de Freitas’ worst impulses in classic antihero fashion, but Heleno steamrolls story arch conventionalism with performance bravura and striking black and white cinematography
See full article at ioncinema »

Rio Int'l Film Fest Winners; Rio Seeks More Premieres Like Twilight, More Fast Fives and Woody Allen

The Rio International Film Festival and its host city are pushing to get their close up, reports Matt Mueller:Rio de Janeiro’s annual film festival wrapped today, but the city wants to keep the spotlight shining, forking out $500K for “picture-postcard” advertising in Twilight: Breaking Dawn and courting Woody Allen to shoot his next film there. The Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival finished its 12-day run today with the world premiere of Walter Carvalho’s music documentary Raul. But what stood out more than the quality of Brazilian films that screened (somewhat lacklustre, if truth be told) was a sense that Rio is a metropolis jostling to position itself as the cinema capital of Latin America – and poised expectantly for its moment in the sun. ...
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

The Ballroom | Film review

A drama set in a Brazilian dancehall over the course of a single night is a delight, says Jason Solomons

The week's hidden gem is at the Ica, a lovely Brazilian film set during a single night in a São Paulo dancehall, from doors opening to lights out. The music is superb – singer Elza Soares plays a local cabaret star – and the camerawork by Walter Carvalho thrilling, proving you don't need 3-D for a fully immersive experience. We get right in among the dancers and their various stories of ageing, loneliness, love and dancing.

World cinemaJason Solomons

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

World Report: Brazil

  • Box Office: Brazil The last three weeks of June, pretty much played out like other international markets. The Incredible Hulk (2008)The Incredible Hulk
[/link] (which filmed some scene here locally,) won the weeknd of the 13-15, that was followed by the comedy featuring Steve Carell in Get Smart. Pixar's Wall-e won the final weekend with a under 6 million take in 44 theaters. Brazil: At Home A New Era From July 5th to 12th, the first edition of the “Paulinia Movie Festival” took place in the city of Paulinia (126 kilometers away from Sao Paulo). The festival had in its competition, the most anticipated Brazilian movies of the year and was a salute to the recent achievements in our national cinema. Apart from the film selection, an important facet to the festival is the inclusion of the project “Magic of the Cinema”, created by the city’s government and intended to transform Brazilian cinema into an important cinematographic pole.
See full article at ioncinema »

Love for Sale

Love for Sale
Strand Releasing

NEW YORK -- This latest film by Brazil's Karim Ainouz doesn't have the panache of his exuberant transvestite film Madame Sata, but it's still a well-observed slice of social realist cinema. The downbeat tale of a young woman turning to prostitution to escape life in a claustrophobic Brazilian town is well written, and benefits from naturalistic performances. It should do OK business in small upscale urban venues, though lack of a strong marketing angle might pose a problem.

The story revolves around Hermila (Hermila Guedes), a young woman striving to escape her oppressively small hometown in northeastern Brazil. Young and pretty but without prospects, she decides to raffle herself. The winner will get, as Hermila describes it, "a night in paradise." Dramatic tension is increased when a caring ex-boyfriend tries to keep her from leaving town.

Cinematography by Walter Carvalho (Central Station) successfully evokes the bleak feeling of a nowhere town. His compositions remind you of the work of famed American photographer Steven Shore, who made a career out of depicting such places in an esthetic style.

But Love for Sale, which opened Aug. 15, is generally an actors' piece. Guedes convincingly essays the role of a desperate innocent who gets slightly out of her depth. Some angry scenes with her mother ignite with dramatic intensity, and she subtly portrays a sad indifference towards the man who loves her. The final shot, a long static take of the town's road sign, has an Antonioni-esque feel.

60th Locarno Int. Film Festival Winners

[/link], Saverio Costanzo, Irène Jacob, Jia Zhang-ke, Romuald Karmakar and Bruno Todeschini gave out a bunch of leopards on the weekend. Masahiro Kobayashi (see pic above) won the Golden Leopard for his film Ai no yokan (The Rebirth). Best Director was awarded to Capitaine Achab by Philippe Ramos (France) and the Special Jury Prize went to Memories (Jeonju Digital Project 2007) by Pedro Costa, Harun Farocki and Eugène Green. Spanish actress Carmen Maura and the French actor Michel Piccoli both received an Excellence Award (Michel Piccoli also received the prize for best actor in Sous les toits de Paris, joint winner was Michele Venitucci in Fuori dalle corde). And finally (and not surprisingly), Death at a Funeral (the Brit comedy by Frank Oz) won the audience award – this making it the 5th or 6th time that it has walked away from an international festival with such honors.
See full article at ioncinema »

Janela da Alma/Window of the Soul

Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival

A blind photographer, a renowned neurologist, a Nobel laureate and several filmmakers are among the eloquent participants in the Brazilian documentary "Janela da Alma" (Window of the Soul), a philosophical dialogue on the nature of vision. Working with directing-writing-producing partner Joao Jardim, cinematographer Walter Carvalho marks his helming debut with this provocative film, in which accomplished individuals with varying degrees of visual impairment address the subject from a multitude of angles -- profane and rarefied, personal and sociological.

Carvalho, highly regarded for his work on such films as "Central Station" and "Madame Sata", and his co-director interweave the inquisitive, discerning voices into an affecting fugue. Delving into psychology, art and the increasing disaffection of contemporary life, this high-quality item will find an appreciative audience at festivals and cinematheques and in classrooms. It screens at the Museum of Modern Art in New York after its recent competition slot at the L.A. Latino fest.

The musings begin with a poetic insight by Nobel Prize-winning Portuguese novelist Jose Saramago into the physiological limits of human vision -- specifically, why our very notion of romantic love would not exist if we could see as sharply as falcons. Several blind interviewees speak of how heightened their other senses are, some postulating that sight can hinder inner vision. Franco-Slovenian photographer Evgen Bavcar, for one, challenges assumptions with his striking black-and-white snapshots of beautiful women, among them actress Hanna Schygulla.

Running through most of the commentaries is the idea that imagination and emotion transfigure the way we see the world. Neurologist-author Oliver Sacks discusses the crucial link between emotion and visual cognition, while director Agnes Varda deconstructs footage of her late husband, filmmaker Jacques Demy, explaining that her deep affection for him dictated camera placement and the very length of shots.

Wim Wenders offers some of the most incisive remarks, including a critique of the tendency of contemporary films to provide closed, complete visuals rather than imagery that leaves space for the viewer's interpretations and responses, like reading between the lines of a book. There's plenty of room for such involvement in this elegant documentary.

Behind the Sun

Behind the Sun
A worthy but somewhat less-than-satisfying follow-up to the Oscar-nominated "Central Station", Brazilian director Walter Salles and producer Arthur Cohn's "Behind the Sun" is a somber tale of a blood feud depicted as an endless cycle of ritual violence. Distributor Miramax can count on Salles' name to lure dedicated cineastes for limited engagements, but "Sun" is probably not destined for boxoffice or awards vindication.

Inspired by Ismail Kadare's novel "Broken April", set in Albania, Salles and co-writers Sergio Machado and Karim Ainouz have fashioned a widescreen period drama that holds one's attention but comes up short as a cinematic experience that will resonate strongly with all viewers.

Transporting Kadare's original to the Inhamuns Badlands in northern Brazil's Ceara state, "Sun" plays like a lengthy short story or a short novella stretched to feature length. There are a handful of characters and few plot points that entail long scenes. As with his previous film, Salles tells much of the story with minimal dialogue and proves again to be a very talented visual artist.

What's missing in the film is the one character who can command the same attention as the film's technical virtues, while the horrid atmosphere of dread that hangs over the film is predictably destined to be broken. One comes away from the film in perhaps a gloomier mood than was intended, however, because there is nobody to enthusiastically root for. It's more a case of just hoping one or two folk survive the carnage.

The Breves family was once a proud supplier of sugar in the desert-y nowhere they call home, but the decline began with the abolition of slavery, and now the reigning patriarch (Jose Dumont) is forced to drive the oxen himself at the old mill where the sugar is processed. A very hard man who proudly remembers his many brothers and uncles who died defending the family's honor, this nameless father has a 20-year-old son, Tonho (Rodrigo Santoro), who is next in line to gun down one of the hated Ferreiras family. Tonho's younger brother Ravi Ramos Lacerda), who doesn't have a name -- his father and mother (Rita Assemany) call him "kid" -- has nightmares of the latest murder that needs avenging, but he doesn't want his older sibling to become a killer.

Nonetheless, once the blood on the shirt worn by the victim turns yellow, Tonho is sent on his mission of assassination. He succeeds and must wait for his demise, prohibited from leaving by his psychotic father. Enter a wandering pair of circus entertainers, Salustiano Luiz Carlos Vasconcelos) and Clara Flavia Marco Antonio). The latter is a multitalented beauty who responds to Tonho's obvious infatuation, while her companion refuses to keep calling the younger boy "kid" and gives him the name Pacu.

A little romance and playfulness with swings and circus ropes provide an upbeat contrast to Tonho and Pacu's doomed-to-die-young fates, but it takes an unexpected tragedy and stronger-than-hate familial love to break the death cycle. Newcomer Lacerda, Dumont, Santoro and real-life circus performer Antonio are skilled at making their minimal characters fully dimensional, but the darkly atmospheric movie's biggest stars are Salles, cinematographer Walter Carvalho, soundman Felix Andrew and composer Antonio Pinto.

BEHIND THE SUN

Miramax Films

An Arthur Cohn production

Director: Walter Salles

Producer: Arthur Cohn

Screenwriters: Walter Salles, Sergio Machado, Karim Ainouz

Inspired by the novel "Broken April" by: Ismail Kadare

Executive producers: Mauricio Andrade Ramos, Lillian Birnbaum

Director of photography: Walter Carvalho

Art director: Cassio Amarante

Editor: Isabelle Rathery

Sound designer: Felix Andrew

Costume designer: Cao Albuquerque

Music: Antonio Pinto

Color/stereo

Cast:

Father: Jose Dumont

Tonho: Rodrigo Santoro

Pacu: Ravi Ramos Lacerda

Clara: Flavia Marco Antonio

Mother: Rita Assemany

Salustiano: Luiz Carlos Vasconcelos

Running time -- 90 minutes

MPAA

Possible Loves

Ever thought of what would have happened if things had gone differently with a one-time love, how your life would be different? Of course you have, and in this frolicsome romantic comedy, we see the three-piece sets of one amiable guy's lives if a certain date had showed up one rainy evening. The co-winner of the Jury Prize in the Latin American section at this year's Sundance, this winning Brazilian film should woo appreciative viewers on a select-site basis. "Possible Loves" is the kind of sophisticated and sprightly romance that filmmakers don't seem to make any more in this advanced age of adult video and dysfunctional relationships.

In this jaunty divertissement, we first meet Carlos (Murilo Benicio), our doe-eyed, shaggy-haired and handsome hero, as he waits outside a Rio de Janeiro cinema for his first date with Julia. For a reason we never know, Julia doesn't show, and they never connect again. Carlos goes on and eventually marries another. Flash-forward 15 years in this "what if" romantic scenario, and we catch up on the possibilities that might have occurred in Carlos Love' life had chance and circumstance been slightly different in his missed connection with Julia. What's most amusing and also most sobering in this zesty scenario is how our romantic lives are dependent on chance and how vastly different they can become: It's the small, everyday things in life that often determine and shape our existence rather than the so-called "big" things we obsess over and strive for.

Delighting us with three plausible and frothy permutations of Carlos' life that could have occurred, screenwriter Paulo Halm's easygoing, charming scenarios all involve the beautiful, mysterious Julia (Carolina Ferraz), the woman who didn't show up that rainy night at the cinema. Both magical and natural, the three possibilities are vastly different, and each shows the far-ranging possibilities of these people's lives. In each scenario, a different facet of Carlos and Julia is explored, and quite incredibly, we come to see and appreciate each particular and vastly different life they could have led; indeed, they are two characters of intelligence, charm and energy, and Halm has channeled their essences into credible, engaging romantic stories.

It's the juicy lead performances that win us over, particularly Benicio as the man with three very different love lives. His rangy, sympathetic turn is consistently charming, while Ferraz is enticing and utterly alluring in her three turns as the multifaceted and passionate Julia.

With a heady boost from director Sandra Werneck, the technical contributions are fittingly frothy -- perfect cappers for romance. Joao Nabuco's jaunty samba score quickens our pulse while loosening our story inhibitions as to the possibilities of romance. Similarly, cinematographer Walter Carvalho's lensings are luxuriant and enticing -- perfect eye-play for this seductive cinema.

POSSIBLE LOVES

Producer-director: Sandra Werneck

Co-producer: Elisa Tolomelli

Screenwriter: Paulo Halm

Director of photography: Walter Carvalho

Editor: Isabelle Rathery

Music: Joao Nabuco

Color/stereo

Cast: Murito Benicio, Carolina Ferraz, Demilio de Mello, Irene Ravache, Alberto Szafran, Beth Goulart

Running time -- 100 minutes

No MPAA rating

Janela da Alma/Window of the Soul

Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival

A blind photographer, a renowned neurologist, a Nobel laureate and several filmmakers are among the eloquent participants in the Brazilian documentary "Janela da Alma" (Window of the Soul), a philosophical dialogue on the nature of vision. Working with directing-writing-producing partner Joao Jardim, cinematographer Walter Carvalho marks his helming debut with this provocative film, in which accomplished individuals with varying degrees of visual impairment address the subject from a multitude of angles -- profane and rarefied, personal and sociological.

Carvalho, highly regarded for his work on such films as "Central Station" and "Madame Sata", and his co-director interweave the inquisitive, discerning voices into an affecting fugue. Delving into psychology, art and the increasing disaffection of contemporary life, this high-quality item will find an appreciative audience at festivals and cinematheques and in classrooms. It screens at the Museum of Modern Art in New York after its recent competition slot at the L.A. Latino fest.

The musings begin with a poetic insight by Nobel Prize-winning Portuguese novelist Jose Saramago into the physiological limits of human vision -- specifically, why our very notion of romantic love would not exist if we could see as sharply as falcons. Several blind interviewees speak of how heightened their other senses are, some postulating that sight can hinder inner vision. Franco-Slovenian photographer Evgen Bavcar, for one, challenges assumptions with his striking black-and-white snapshots of beautiful women, among them actress Hanna Schygulla.

Running through most of the commentaries is the idea that imagination and emotion transfigure the way we see the world. Neurologist-author Oliver Sacks discusses the crucial link between emotion and visual cognition, while director Agnes Varda deconstructs footage of her late husband, filmmaker Jacques Demy, explaining that her deep affection for him dictated camera placement and the very length of shots.

Wim Wenders offers some of the most incisive remarks, including a critique of the tendency of contemporary films to provide closed, complete visuals rather than imagery that leaves space for the viewer's interpretations and responses, like reading between the lines of a book. There's plenty of room for such involvement in this elegant documentary.

To the Left of the Father

To the Left of the Father
L.A. Latino Int'l Film Festival

The delirious and lugubrious depiction of a family's unhappiness in Brazilian director Luiz Fernando Carvalho's first film, "To the Left of the Father" (Lavoura Arcaica), exhausts one's patience. At the two-hour mark, you might smile at the excessive emotionalism even as you admire Walter Carvalho's lyrical cinematography and Marco Antonio Guimaraes' vibrant music. The film contains some of the most gorgeous imagery you likely to encounter in any movie this year. Yet as the film nears the three-hour mark, even its pictorialism wears thin.

Does a tale of incest and family dysfunction really deserve such lush imagery? Or is this not self-conscious artfulness posing as genuine art? Rather than pull you into the story, the movie's tricked-out manner -- the mournful music, the actors' overwrought emotionalism, the excruciatingly claustrophobic camerawork -- shoves you away. Worse, Carvalho, the film's writer, director and co-producer, working from a novel by Raduan Nassar, fails to explore fully his dramatic situation.

The focus is a family of Lebanese immigrants in rural Brazil sometime in the unnamed past. Their isolation and a strict, religiously devout father have apparently turned the mother and several offspring into nut cases. They are "scarred," as the son's narration would have it. By what, one wonders?

The mother fondles her small son with sexual fervor. The grown-up son then seduces his nubile sister. He flees, then like the prodigal son returns and is last seen setting his sexual sights on a younger brother. Oi!

The dialogue is little help getting to the bottom of things: It's flowery and literary, more concerned with the play of words than actual communication of ideas or emotions. Unless, that is, you think people in real life would ever talk about the "atavism of our passion."

Behind the Sun

Behind the Sun
A worthy but somewhat less-than-satisfying follow-up to the Oscar-nominated "Central Station", Brazilian director Walter Salles and producer Arthur Cohn's "Behind the Sun" is a somber tale of a blood feud depicted as an endless cycle of ritual violence. Distributor Miramax can count on Salles' name to lure dedicated cineastes for limited engagements, but "Sun" is probably not destined for boxoffice or awards vindication.

Inspired by Ismail Kadare's novel "Broken April", set in Albania, Salles and co-writers Sergio Machado and Karim Ainouz have fashioned a widescreen period drama that holds one's attention but comes up short as a cinematic experience that will resonate strongly with all viewers.

Transporting Kadare's original to the Inhamuns Badlands in northern Brazil's Ceara state, "Sun" plays like a lengthy short story or a short novella stretched to feature length. There are a handful of characters and few plot points that entail long scenes. As with his previous film, Salles tells much of the story with minimal dialogue and proves again to be a very talented visual artist.

What's missing in the film is the one character who can command the same attention as the film's technical virtues, while the horrid atmosphere of dread that hangs over the film is predictably destined to be broken. One comes away from the film in perhaps a gloomier mood than was intended, however, because there is nobody to enthusiastically root for. It's more a case of just hoping one or two folk survive the carnage.

The Breves family was once a proud supplier of sugar in the desert-y nowhere they call home, but the decline began with the abolition of slavery, and now the reigning patriarch (Jose Dumont) is forced to drive the oxen himself at the old mill where the sugar is processed. A very hard man who proudly remembers his many brothers and uncles who died defending the family's honor, this nameless father has a 20-year-old son, Tonho (Rodrigo Santoro), who is next in line to gun down one of the hated Ferreiras family. Tonho's younger brother Ravi Ramos Lacerda), who doesn't have a name -- his father and mother (Rita Assemany) call him "kid" -- has nightmares of the latest murder that needs avenging, but he doesn't want his older sibling to become a killer.

Nonetheless, once the blood on the shirt worn by the victim turns yellow, Tonho is sent on his mission of assassination. He succeeds and must wait for his demise, prohibited from leaving by his psychotic father. Enter a wandering pair of circus entertainers, Salustiano Luiz Carlos Vasconcelos) and Clara Flavia Marco Antonio). The latter is a multitalented beauty who responds to Tonho's obvious infatuation, while her companion refuses to keep calling the younger boy "kid" and gives him the name Pacu.

A little romance and playfulness with swings and circus ropes provide an upbeat contrast to Tonho and Pacu's doomed-to-die-young fates, but it takes an unexpected tragedy and stronger-than-hate familial love to break the death cycle. Newcomer Lacerda, Dumont, Santoro and real-life circus performer Antonio are skilled at making their minimal characters fully dimensional, but the darkly atmospheric movie's biggest stars are Salles, cinematographer Walter Carvalho, soundman Felix Andrew and composer Antonio Pinto.

BEHIND THE SUN

Miramax Films

An Arthur Cohn production

Director: Walter Salles

Producer: Arthur Cohn

Screenwriters: Walter Salles, Sergio Machado, Karim Ainouz

Inspired by the novel "Broken April" by: Ismail Kadare

Executive producers: Mauricio Andrade Ramos, Lillian Birnbaum

Director of photography: Walter Carvalho

Art director: Cassio Amarante

Editor: Isabelle Rathery

Sound designer: Felix Andrew

Costume designer: Cao Albuquerque

Music: Antonio Pinto

Color/stereo

Cast:

Father: Jose Dumont

Tonho: Rodrigo Santoro

Pacu: Ravi Ramos Lacerda

Clara: Flavia Marco Antonio

Mother: Rita Assemany

Salustiano: Luiz Carlos Vasconcelos

Running time -- 90 minutes

MPAA

Possible Loves

Ever thought of what would have happened if things had gone differently with a one-time love, how your life would be different? Of course you have, and in this frolicsome romantic comedy, we see the three-piece sets of one amiable guy's lives if a certain date had showed up one rainy evening. The co-winner of the Jury Prize in the Latin American section at this year's Sundance, this winning Brazilian film should woo appreciative viewers on a select-site basis. "Possible Loves" is the kind of sophisticated and sprightly romance that filmmakers don't seem to make any more in this advanced age of adult video and dysfunctional relationships.

In this jaunty divertissement, we first meet Carlos (Murilo Benicio), our doe-eyed, shaggy-haired and handsome hero, as he waits outside a Rio de Janeiro cinema for his first date with Julia. For a reason we never know, Julia doesn't show, and they never connect again. Carlos goes on and eventually marries another. Flash-forward 15 years in this "what if" romantic scenario, and we catch up on the possibilities that might have occurred in Carlos Love' life had chance and circumstance been slightly different in his missed connection with Julia. What's most amusing and also most sobering in this zesty scenario is how our romantic lives are dependent on chance and how vastly different they can become: It's the small, everyday things in life that often determine and shape our existence rather than the so-called "big" things we obsess over and strive for.

Delighting us with three plausible and frothy permutations of Carlos' life that could have occurred, screenwriter Paulo Halm's easygoing, charming scenarios all involve the beautiful, mysterious Julia (Carolina Ferraz), the woman who didn't show up that rainy night at the cinema. Both magical and natural, the three possibilities are vastly different, and each shows the far-ranging possibilities of these people's lives. In each scenario, a different facet of Carlos and Julia is explored, and quite incredibly, we come to see and appreciate each particular and vastly different life they could have led; indeed, they are two characters of intelligence, charm and energy, and Halm has channeled their essences into credible, engaging romantic stories.

It's the juicy lead performances that win us over, particularly Benicio as the man with three very different love lives. His rangy, sympathetic turn is consistently charming, while Ferraz is enticing and utterly alluring in her three turns as the multifaceted and passionate Julia.

With a heady boost from director Sandra Werneck, the technical contributions are fittingly frothy -- perfect cappers for romance. Joao Nabuco's jaunty samba score quickens our pulse while loosening our story inhibitions as to the possibilities of romance. Similarly, cinematographer Walter Carvalho's lensings are luxuriant and enticing -- perfect eye-play for this seductive cinema.

POSSIBLE LOVES

Producer-director: Sandra Werneck

Co-producer: Elisa Tolomelli

Screenwriter: Paulo Halm

Director of photography: Walter Carvalho

Editor: Isabelle Rathery

Music: Joao Nabuco

Color/stereo

Cast: Murito Benicio, Carolina Ferraz, Demilio de Mello, Irene Ravache, Alberto Szafran, Beth Goulart

Running time -- 100 minutes

No MPAA rating

Film review: 'Central Station'

Film review: 'Central Station'
A deserved hit with film festival audiences, "Central Station" takes potentially predictable subject matter -- a lonely older woman and a young boy, who has just lost his mother, search for the father he never knew -- and infuses it with a jolt of bracing originality and quiet power.

Yes, the reluctant odd couple will ultimately form a bond in spite of themselves. Yes, each will ultimately have a profound influence on the other. But impressive filmmaker Walter Salles ("Foreign Land"), working from an original concept richly fleshed out by first-time screenwriters Joao Emanuel Carneiro and Marcos Bernstein, displays both a visual virtuosity and a tremendous rapport with his two remarkable leads.

Destined to be nominated for the foreign-language film Oscar, the Arthur Cohn production could also generate considerable traffic beyond the usual art house destinations.

Respected Brazilian actress Fernanda Montenegro puts in a masterful, fearless performance as the world-weary Dora, a lonely, cynical, far-from-pleasant former schoolteacher who meets rent for her depressing little flat by writing letters dictated by commuters who pass through Rio de Janeiro's Central Station.

But rather than mailing those letters, Dora takes them home and has fun reading them to her neighbor, Irene (Marilia Pera), before either ripping them up or stuffing them into a drawer.

Nice person.

One of those would-be correspondents -- a woman with a 9-year-old boy who just dictated a note to her son's long-absent father -- is killed by a bus, leaving the child, Josue (Vinicius de Oliveira) to fend for himself in the busy terminal.

Ultimately, after a couple of bad starts (at one juncture Dora "sells" Josue to a shady adoption racket, using some of her cash to buy a new remote-control TV), the stubborn twosome hit the road in search of the Josue's dad, with Dora ending up finding some long-lost feelings along the way.

Montenegro, who won the Silver Bear for best actress at this year's Berlin Film Festival for her warts-and-all performance, never stoops to caricature in her portrayal of a hardened woman who spent a good chunk of her adult life in self-imposed emotional exile.

Equally impressive is her traveling companion, de Oliveira, a former Rio airport shoeshine boy who never acted prior to his demanding, extraordinarily focused and moving work here.

Not only does Salles coax greatness from his leads, he also directs with a stirring visual sense. Working in tandem with director of photography Walter Carvalho, Salles deftly choreographs sequence after sequence -- Josue attempting to run after a departing train, Dora looking for Josue in the midst of a massive, candle-lit religious service -- that vividly underscore the film's themes of alienation and misplaced identity.

CENTRAL STATION

Sony Pictures Classics

An Arthur Cohn production

A film by Walter Salles

Director: Walter Salles

Producers: Arthur Cohn, Martine de Clermont-Tonnerre

Executive producers: Elisa Tolomelli, Lillian Birnbaum, Donald Ranvaud

Screenwriters: Joao Emanuel Carneiro, Marcos Bernstein

Based on an original idea by Walter Salles

Director of photography: Walter Carvalho

Production designers: Cassio Amarante, Carla Caffe

Editors: Isabelle Rathery, Felipe Lacerda

Costume designer: Cristina Camargo

Music: Antonio Pinto, Jaques Morelembaum

Color/stereo

Cast:

Dora: Fernanda Montenegro

Irene: Marilia Pera

Josue: Vinicius de Oliveira

Ana: Soia Lira

Cesar: Othon Bastos

Pedrao: Otavio Augusto

Isaias: Matheus Nachtergaele

Moises: Caio Junqueira

Running time -- 115 minutes

MPAA rating: R

See also

Credited With | External Sites