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Title (Brazil): "Dona Flor e Seus Dois Maridos"
Dona Flor is married to Mr Wrong, but she loves him and overlooks his short comings and takes care of him. After his untimely death, she marries Mr. Right who adores and cares for her. Yet, the spark Mr. Wrong ignited within her is missing. That is until the ghost of Mr. Wrong comes back... LOL! Can a woman love and honor two husbands?
Whether you're a stickler for monogamy or you believe having more than one spouse is the only way to go, you'll have fun viewing this beautiful, entertaining, and hilarious film.
Death precipitately befalls during the exotic festivity of a cluster of people dancing and courting a mulatto in a Brazilian town, and the deceased is Vadinho (Wilker), a young man in his early thirties, and the causes of his death are multiple. He is survived by his wife Dona Flora (Braga), and she starts to recollect their seven-year marriage and it turns out Vadinho is a complete good-for-nothing except his amorous sexual desire. He is a chronic gambler, an inherent womaniser, a boozer and whore-monger with a tendency for domestic violence. And Dona is a sultry beauty, but also a religious wife, she puts up with him in spite of all the suffering and abuse, since occasionally she can find the ephemeral satisfaction in their torrid love-making. But in the eyes of others, like Dona's mother and her close friends, who keep grousing about why she is so submissive towards Vadinho's tyranny, their marriage is a total mismatch judging by the face value.
When Vadinho is out of the picture, everyone is hoping for a new bright future for Dona, including herself, she is tormented by his sudden death, but is also looking forward to commencing a brand new chapter of her life. So she marries to a second husband, a middle-age pharmacist Teodoro (Mendonça), the exact opposite of Vadinho, a respectful man with a prospective future, but pedantic and boring, and worst of all, the sex is dreadful, comically marked out by Barreto in their wedding consummation with droll earnestness.
Commendably, the film focuses on a woman's conundrum between two polarised types of men, edifies with the motto "happiness does not equal romance" and then establishes Dona as a token of woman's sexual liberation by creating an imaginary ménage-a-trois situation with no rationale behind it. Barreto affirmatively betrays his young age through mischievousness of twisting the irony of fate and whimsies in engineering its saucy sex scenes with inordinate indulgence. Especially Wilker is not such a hotrod gaging by today's standard, watching him flaunt his flabby body in the buff and ca-noodle Braga again and again only solidifies one thing: she deserves someone much better, and the exploitation of her sex appeal out-paces the requirement for a committed performance, which she invests profoundly in the character development.
As far as the film is concerned, although sometimes verbosely executed, but who can resist its fetching charm of a strange land with all its whistles and bells function in full mode, plus a hindsight of Barreto's young age can only attribute more to his precocious expertise, a creditable achievement indeed.
The gossipy neighbors, the uptight mother, the casino and whorehouse friends of Vadinho, are all played to absolute perfection! Mauro Mendonça deserves honorable mention for his spot-on portrayal of the bassoon-playing dork of a second husband. I've seen this at least a dozen times, and I still can't stop laughing.
Few films create a masterpiece out of a masterpiece of fiction, which both this film and Jorge Amado's novel certainly are. Here, you get not only erotic art, but a hilarious and splendid comedy of manners, in a fantastic period setting, perfect in every detail. If that were not enough, the soundtrack of Francis Hime and Chico Buarque de Hollanda, with the theme song, "O que sera sera," sung by the great Simone, serves you an auditory feast worthy of Dona Flor's immortal moqueca.
A treasure to savor, over and over and over again!