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This sequel to "Os Fuzis" follows the story of a hard working operator who dies on a work related accident due to the precarious conditions established in the place. But when his superiors decide to hide the fact and try to bribe his family, one of his relatives, with the help of a lawyer and a journalist, tries to fight for justice. Written by
A prominent boom mic is visible, below on the right corner, in the scene when Laura visits Mario in their unfinished house. See more »
José, it's not fair, Laura, it's not fair. He died for nothing. Everything will stay the same. I mean... I knew José for a long time, long time ago. I had a Gaucho friend, a truck driver, and José killed him. Not sure if on purpose but he did it. He got out of the army, and so did I. Out there. We didn't looked for each other all that much but we've met now. Not long ago... at the construction work. And then all of this happen. We were soldiers together. A long time ago. We were young, you know...
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One of Brazilian's best film of that lost decade. Tough watch but very rewarding
Good Brazilian films of the 1970's are truly hard to find. It's such a tricky and low decade both in quality films and also in the political terms that it's really to feel nostalgic about it, even though many old folks will argue to death that at least the educational system was better then. "A Queda" ("The Fall") is a rare diamond of that decade and one I can proudly say without any doubts and exaggeration that it's one of the best films ever made in the period. A real and depressive portrait on labor's exploitation and how low any working person in this nation has to sink in order to fulfill a job and lose his/her soul (most of the time) while others already lost it somewhere and don't think of ethical terms anymore, it's all about the money.
This is a sequel to the classic "Os Fuzis" (1964) - still to be seen by me - but it doesn't ruin the view if you watch this first because the directors included some flashbacks from that movie to enhance and develop the main character's strong reactions and his sense of friendship. Our troubled hero is Mario (the great Nelson Xavier, one of the co-directors of this film), a hard working and responsible operator who watches José, his best friend and co-worker (Hugo Carvana) dies in a tragic accident after falling from a great height while working on the construction site of a subway station. The place's working conditions are the poorest ever, and the man died because he wasn't following the security procedures. Trying to hide the fact from almost everybody, the bosses decide to bribe the victim's family so they can't go the court and sue the company for their wrongdoings. That's where Mario enters to help the family and go against his superior (Lima Duarte) who also happens to be his father-in-law, to demand that the company will assist the family. And that will be Mario's downfall before society, torn between his responsibilities with the firm, his own work and his own family at the same time trying to assure that the family of his deceased friend get justice done - though not wrong but very naive about the issue, he contacts a lawyer and a reporter who'll help him in making this tragedy a case for the court and a case for the news.
Power, corruption and lies...and a majority of working people getting exploited, barely getting paid in order to secure the richness of a minority. "A Queda" has this as center of the matter and its presentation is brilliantly done, giving us time to reflect about our own experiences on the topic and making us put ourselves in Mario's shoes. Throughout the film you wonder a lot about Mario and Jose friendship (presented through brief flashbacks from "Os Fuzis"), the main reason that instigates our hero to help the people he loved and admired at the same time he's spiraling out of control while helping those folks. A summary of the previous film: they became acquainted while doing another risky job: in the Northeast of Brazil they were soldiers who were trying to stop the population from sacking a food deposit. The parallel established between both films is that a poor man's life doesn't mean much, whether you're on the side of the fence trying to do your job in the best possible way or whether you're too miserable and unfortunate with no job.
Mario's actions are highly commendable, if only we all had friends like him but we are forced to think that no one would go that far for anyone, friend or unknown. There were times when I kept wondering why he wasn't more selfish, even when things were going his way with his boss giving a new house for him and his wife (one of the most difficult scenes I've ever seen and all captured in one long take with the wife asking her father/his boss what Mario had to do in order to get the house, and the father kept dodging the question). But there's things that can't be shattered, it will remains important. "We've been through a lot together, we were... friends", he says at a breaking point.
Directors Xavier and Ruy Guerra offered a real picture, explosive with many valid points; and even with a great of artistic choices that work (the big bosses in their suits and ties are presented with faceless photo stills, drinking and partying and their voice-overs are heard, to the fact they're so on top no one sees them quite right) and others that though understandable shouldn't be included (the movie begins with poor people on a landfill, survivalism at its worst cause they only have garbage to eat but I'm not complaining about this comparison but to what comes next: a two minute sequence that takes place on a slaughterhouse and you probably know what goes there, so please do watch this movie but just fast forward this part.). The point made: it's all honest yet cheap and dirty forms of survivalism just like being a subway construction worker. Doesn't get any better in this land and in many others as well. The movie, however, is near-perfect. 9/10
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