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A trip to the mental institution hell. This odyssey is lived by Neto, a middle class teenager, who lives a normal life until his father sends him to a mental institution after finding drugs on his pocket. The marijuana cigarette is just the final drop that exposes the family tragedy. Send to a mental institution, Neto gets to know a completely absurd, inhumane reality in which the people are devoured by a corrupt and cruel institution system. The documentary type language used by the director give this movie a sensation of realty that increases even more the impact of the emotions Neto goes through. In the mental institution, Neto is forced to mature. The transformations that he goes through change this relations with his father. Written by
Neto is a teenager. He's quiet, doesn't seem to care about anything, and is tight-lipped with his mother, father and sister. He hangs out, drinks, smokes pot with his friends, and gets arrested for spray-painting graffiti. He even gets into a pushing fight with his father when they argue.
When his father finds a marijuana joint in his clothing, the family thinks that he has a drug habit. They decide to practice tough love to help him. Do they talk to him about what they've found? No. Do they put him in a drug-counseling program? No.
This is where the title, Bicho de Sete Cabeças (animal with seven heads) comes in. It's a Brazilian term that loosely means, 'making a mountain out of a molehill,' 'blowing something way out of proportion' or 'something horrible.' The action that Neto's family takes when they find that he's been smoking joints is drastic. Convinced that they are doing the proper thing, they commit him into a mental institution. They have every faith in the staff to help their loving son and brother.
Neto's nightmare begins, when it is evident that he is in the wrong place. The Institution staff is corrupt and mistreats its patients. In order to keep him docile and to restrain him in the ward to get more government funds, they give him drugs and shock therapy.
This film is based on the real life experience of Austregésilo Carrano who has made it his mission in life to expose and fight abuses that can take place in Brazilian mental institutions. While watching the film, I thought the entire situation would end in a tragedy, but I was happy to see that something positive came out of the experience.
The entire cast gives a heart-wrenching performance. Rodrigo Santoro, who plays the role of Neto gives a very strong performance. My heart ached for Neto as I watched his father trick him into going to the mental institution and then finding himself trapped in a nightmare, where he was sane among the other patients.
The sister (played by Daniela Nefussi) and parents (played by Othon Bastos and Cássia Kiss) give convincing performances. I could understand their actions, although clearly misguided and drastic.
Bicho de Sete Cabeças is the story of something horrific that ends well.
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