Fernando, a journalist, and his friend César join terrorist group MR8 in order to fight Brazilian dictatorial regime during the late sixties. Cesare, however, is wounded and captured during... See full summary »
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Renata de Lélis,
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Fernando, a journalist, and his friend César join terrorist group MR8 in order to fight Brazilian dictatorial regime during the late sixties. Cesare, however, is wounded and captured during a bank hold up. Fernando then decides to kidnap the American ambassador in Brazil and ask for the release of fifteen political prisoners in exchange for his life. Written by
Salvatore Santangelo <email@example.com>
The title in Portuguese ("O que é isso, companheiro?") means "What is this, comrade?" "Companheiro" is a treatment used between members of the left wing. Brazil's president Lula uses to call "companheiro" to a minister or even to a friend. See more »
(at around 1h 16 mins) Shortly before 8:30 PM on the final day, late in the countdown to 10:00 PM, Maria's watch clearly shows the hands at approximately 9:32. See more »
An interesting historical story made engaging by the focus on the people involved and the smaller situations
When the Brazilian Government is overthrown by a military uprising, the result is a dictatorship over the people. With protests violently broken up on the streets, armed struggle is seen as the only solution and leads to the formation of the 8th October group (MR8). Desiring direct action, Fernando and Cesar join the group and are trained in weaponry and the likes. However during a bank job, Cesar hesitates to kill and is shot and captured by the police, while the others flee. It is this that gives Fernando the idea to kidnap the American ambassador in return for the release of 15 captured revolutionaries and bringing the events to the attention of the world. This film tells the story of the four-day hostage situation in the mid-sixties.
I'm not a particularly well-read person and there is a lot of history (even recent history) that I am simply not aware of and this includes the events and times presented in this film. For that reason I cannot really comment on the accuracy or level of detail containing in this telling but what little I have since gleamed from other sources tell me that it is pretty fair and close enough to being accurate. The plot is well told and is made interesting by the attention paid to the people involved in the situation; the drama and tension comes from them rather than false action sequences or stand-offs. The thanks for this should lie with the cast but also with the script that creates the characters and makes them 'real', meaning we find it easier to understand them and feel for the positions they are in. The historical context is well done and I did find it very easy to get engaged in.
The characters are where it is at and they are all very 'human'. We are never made to totally root for them because of what they are doing, but we are helped to understand why they are doing this and how hard it is for some of them to actually turn their words into action. Cardoso does this best and he is the real heart of the film and easily the most sympathetic character. He has good chemistry with Arkin, who does well acting in a foreign film. Torres does well to gradually soften her character as the film goes and it makes her more interesting than she was early on. Support is all pretty good with no really weak performances anywhere but the film mostly belongs to these lead three. The direction is good, capturing the feel of the period early on (where stock footage blends seamlessly into the main film) and producing tension without overdoing the style over substance.
Overall this is a pretty good film, telling a straight story using the characters to drive it forward and involve the audience. The film has tension but it comes from the people involved and the situations they face in the attempts to do the 'right thing'. The script delivers the characters to the actors and the actors are convincing in their delivery, producing an engaging and interesting film that helps deliver historical relevance in a miniature story.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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