In tropical Recife, in northeastern Brazil, temperatures drop to impossible lows and the inhabitants have to adapt. This 'mockumentary' gradually turns critical, looking at the climate, ... See full summary »
The life of Austrian writer Stefan Zweig in Brazil. He wrote the famous book "Brasil, País do Futuro" (Brazil, Country of the Future). He and his wife Lotte, in a mysterious death pact, decided to kill themselves in the week following 1942 Carnival, in Brazil.
Sylvio Back's film cannot be viewed as a conventional, political melodrama. Its characters were not designed in the naturalist fashion that gives support to verisimilitude -- so dear to the cinemas that remain faithful to consecrated Hollywood standards. Back belongs to the generation of Cinema Novo filmmakers of the 1960's who faced the risks of dealing with experimentalism. Halleluja Gretchen gathers Brazilian and German characters and depicts their lives in a span of some forty years, in an attempt to demonstrate how much the nazi weltanschaung has survived in our contemporary milieu -- even though we may not always realize it. All characters speak in Portuguese -- even when they were supposedly speaking in German, and no differentiating accents are ever used. That narrative device creates a eerie atmosphere, in which the familiar sounds of the Portuguese language (to the Brazilian audiences) may eventually be perceived as a disguise for something else we were actually not supposed to understand. In the final sequence, which takes place during Carnaval celebrations, nazi officers don their (authentic) uniforms -- and the people surrounding them do not realize these are not costumes. Thus the difficulty to frame the film in a specific genre -- for it borders several genres: historical, political, spy, horror.
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