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Men and Women (1964)

Noite Vazia (original title)
| Drama | 1967 (USA)
Two friends take two prostitutes for a night of pleasure. But the night turns out to be frustrating for all involved, as much bitterness is revealed in their conversation and attitudes, ... See full summary »


1 nomination. See more awards »
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Credited cast:
Norma Bengell ...
Odete Lara ...
Mário Benvenutti ...
Gabriele Tinti ...
Lisa Negri ...
Nelson's lover
Marisa Woodward
Anita Kennedy
Ricardo Rivas
Célia Watanabe ...
Japanese Waitress
Wilfred Khouri ...
Luis's son
Júlia Kovach
Darcy Cardoso
Laura Maria
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Rubens Barsotti ...
Himself (as Zimbo Trio)
David Cardoso ...
(as Darcy Cardoso)


Two friends take two prostitutes for a night of pleasure. But the night turns out to be frustrating for all involved, as much bitterness is revealed in their conversation and attitudes, uncovering their anguish and deeper feelings, and the emptiness of their lives. Written by lukejoplin@infolink.com.br

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Release Date:

1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Eros  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Actors Norma Bengell' and Gabriele Tinti - who play the more intimate couple of the film - were married at the time of the filming. See more »


[first lines]
Luisinho: Bye! That's enough, daddy's in a hurry.
[his son is pretending to drive the car]
Luis's son: Let me start it?
Luisinho: Sure.
See more »


References Les Bonnes Femmes (1960) See more »

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User Reviews

Mesmerizing Odete Lara in Khouri's best film
13 January 2004 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

Unanimously considered the best film of Brazilian "existentialist" director/writer Walter Hugo Khouri's four-decade career -- here massively influenced by Antonioni's "alienation" trilogy -- "Noite Vazia" (Empty Night) was an incredibly bold portrayal of bourgeois cynicism, unglamorous sex and unsettling urban oppression, focused on a great quartet of characters and their soul-searching struggle in the big city of São Paulo (5 million people in 1964).

Luis (Mario Benvenuti), an alpha-macho, well-off, married playboy in his late 30s,concentrates all his energies on his nightly female-hunting adventures, but is now in a cul-de-sac: he's terminally bored, his marriage is a formality, his relationship with his young son is superficial, his sex escapades have become repetitive and unexciting (there are hints of first signs of impotence). He teams with his younger, repressed and anguished buddy Nelson (Italian actor Gabriele Tinti, then married to Brazilian actress Norma Bengell), who intimately despises Luís's way of life, but nevertheless profits from it (Luís pays for Nelson's women and booze). One particularly tedious night they meet high-class prostitutes Regina (blonde lioness Odete Lara) and Mara (huge-eyed brunette Norma Bengell). The quartet goes to Luis's garçonnière, where they have sex, change partners, drink, get bored, argue and fight; by dawn their "masks" show cracks all over (pay attention to the highly symbolic opening credits' design).

"Noite Vazia" features dazzling rhythmic, dissonant music by Tropicalist composer Rogério Duprat and vintage Brazilian bossa nova band Zimbo Trio, absolutely decisive in creating the angsty, desperate, late night mood, as is the chiaroscuro b&w photography by Hungarian D.P. Rudolf Icsey (undoubtedly influenced by Malle's night sequences in "Ascenseur pour l'échafaud" and Antonioni's trilogy). The crude, acid dialog provides ideal material for the performers: Benvenuti's tired, end-of-the-rope old lion Luís; Bengell's dreamy, lonely, haunted Mara who wonders if she'll ever know love; Tinti's insecure, tormented Nelson, drowning in crushed sensitivity, social inferiority, existential void and muted anger.

And, above all, it features one of the best female prostitute roles ever put on film: the world-weary, no-nonsense, aggressive, emotionally damaged Regina (Odete Lara), who knows what makes the world go round (money, power and sex, of course) and is perfectly aware of her beauty and allure, but also of her social standing (being poor and socially despised among the rich) -- a woman whose dreams of love and happiness were dropped along the way a long time ago, and now is haunted by aging and by violent, bloody nightmares she can't understand, and whose future is a scary downhill slope. It's a realistic prostitute portrayal of huge impact: her man-hating and her bourgeois-hating are not only an expression of cynicism and anger, they're an antidote against humiliation and manipulation; they make perfect sense (she's the toughest and wisest of them all). There's a long list of celebrated 1960s movies about "angry" men becoming conscientious revolutionaries, very few about "angry" women -- "Noite Vazia" is about a prostitute with very lucid class, gender and political conscience.

Odete Lara, then 35 years old, gives sex allure a new meaning: raw, crude and provocative, with her amazing curvaceous body, beautiful blond feline features, cold piercing eyes, tough mouth, spot-on debauched delivery and total understanding of her character -- someone who knows the cruel ways of the world (Lara is the real-life daughter of suicidal parents). The scene in bed where she gazes at her own body in the mirrored ceiling is awesome: the pride in her physical beauty, her world-awareness, her toughness are survival weapons that keep her from being a passive, doll-like, disposable sex toy men want her to be. Her final close-up in the elevator is unforgettable: under a ton of make-up there's nothing left inside, she's an hollow carcass. This is one of her very best roles, alongside her parts in Nelson Pereira dos Santos' "Boca de Ouro" (1962) and Antonio Carlos da Fontoura's "Copacabana Me Engana" (1968). A must-see for all of her many Brazilian fans.

"Noite Vazia" remains one of the top Brazilian movies of the 1960s. It has mood to spare and, though it's now tamer and everybody in it is bored to death, it's anything but naive or boring. If its style is dated -- fascinatingly dated, one might add -- the issues it raises aren't, as long as manipulation, humiliation and abuse continue to thrive on the menu of human relationships.

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