Brazilian baroque. The young son that ran from his dominant family, descends into decadence and then returns to the nest. With melodramatic themes of tyrannical fathers, incest, fierce ... See full summary »
Brazilian baroque. The young son that ran from his dominant family, descends into decadence and then returns to the nest. With melodramatic themes of tyrannical fathers, incest, fierce family conflicts and an overheated and intense visual style to match. Written by
"Lavoura Arcaica" (aka "To The Left of the Father") is one of the most intense films you'll ever see - love it or hate it, it'll be a real experience for you. Devastating could be the best word to describe this masterpiece, based upon Raduan Nassar's brief, but strong novel of the same name. I've wanted to see this film since when it came out, back in 2001 - I read the novel the following year, when I was 14, and was thoroughly fascinated; the film would only be released on DVD in late 2005, and only now I could find a copy and finally watch it. It was worth the wait.
Luiz Fernando Carvalho, who had directed lots of soap operas before making his stunning feature directorial debut, didn't have a screenplay
everything was improvised on the novel, in a process Carvalho called
a "reaction", rather than an adaptation, to the exquisite book. The tragic story of André (Selton Mello, perhaps the most versatile Brazilian actor of his generation) who leaves his home because of his tormented passion for his sister Ana (Simone Spoladore), is told with astounding visual taste by Luiz Fernando and cinematographer Walter Carvalho ("Central Station"), a remarkable original score by Marco Antônio Guimarães, and a flawless cast (including sacred monster Raul Cortez and Juliana Carneiro da Cunha as the parents). This is definitely not a film for all tastes, though; 170 minutes long, slow and spoken in Baroque Portuguese (I'm not sure English subtitles can make full justice to Nassar's poetic narrative; but then again, if you don't avoid Wong Kar-Wai's films just because you don't speak Chinese - I certainly don't - you'll be smart enough not to ignore this film). I'd compare "Lavoura Arcaica" to Terrence Malick and Pier Paolo Pasolini, but Luiz Fernando Carvalho managed to make a unique film with his own style. Well deserved winner of over 30 international awards, this is a film that must be discovered. 10/10 in my books.
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