Anarchist film with surrealistic touches, fine actors and delightfully wacky dialog
Ana Carolina surprised everybody when, after many documentary shorts and a hit documentary feature about Brazilian dictator Getúlio Vargas, she jumped into anarchist, surrealist crazy drama/black comedy with her first fiction film "Mar de Rosas". A non-sequitur, iconoclast portrait of middle-class family life, her protagonist Betinha (Cristina Pereira, perfectly cast) is a sort of teenage Mafalda (Quino's comic book anti-heroine): rambunctious, naughty, irrepressible, eager to be evil. She's on the run with her mother Felicidade (Norma Bengell, returning to Brazilian films after a long sojourn in European cinema and theater), who has killed husband Sergio (Hugo Carvana) in a hotel bathroom. Betinha and Felicidade are followed by suspicious character Bardi (Otávio Augusto) and, after terrible "accidents" -- Betinha sets fire on her mother at a gas station, Felicidade is hit by a bus while trying to escape from Bardi -- the 3 of them end up being "helped" by wacky couple Dirceu (Ary Fontoura) and Niobi (hilarious, wreck-voiced Myriam Muniz).
"Mar de Rosas" has some major lulls (especially toward the end) and is technically precarious, but the acting is inspired and, despite being ultimately a tragic film, you'll find yourself cracking with the loony dialog which is rather difficult to translate, as Ana Carolina uses a lot of Brazilian jeux de mots, adages and figures of speech in her trademark style of "free association". "Mar de Rosas" is refreshingly anti-cliché, and its critical and commercial success paved the way to Ana Carolina's very individual oeuvre that combines anti- conformism, feminism and social criticism with a delightful touch of surrealistic (black) humor.
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