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Bicho de Sete Cabeças
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Reviews & Ratings for
Brainstorm More at IMDbPro »Bicho de Sete Cabeças (original title)

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15 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

The Rise of a Star

Author: jungpfeffer from US
12 July 2003

Until I watched this movie, I considered Rodrigo Santoro to be a gorgeous, yet average talented soap opera actor. Today, after being forced to admit to my mistake and recognize the extent of his gift, it even upsets me when people give more emphasis to his looks than to his performance. Santoro is clearly a star on the rise, and the sky is the limit.

If for nothing else, "Bicho de Sete Cabeças" would be worth watching simply to witness Santoro's performance. But there is more to this movie than its Leading Man. Based on the autobiography of Austregésilo Carrano, this is a courageous, heartfelt move about a young man's journey into the Hells of public Mental Institutions and his struggle to maintain his sanity. A must-see to all of those who have ever feared losing their minds... and all of those who haven't!

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

A good drama, an ADORABLE documentary!

Author: Exiled_Archangel from Istanbul, Turkey
15 February 2004

Bicho de sete cabeças is a kick in the gut. Documentary style scenes constitute the skeleton of the movie, and makes the movie approach the status of masterpiece. The acting of Rodrigo Santoro is really good. I've seen him on Abril Despedaçado before, and I can say I see a bright future ahead of this guy. He's handsome and talented. I hope to see such great movies of his in the future. The madman called Ceara in the first mental institution is also showing signs of a PERFECT acting. I've never seen any actor that can act a crazy guy so well before. I was absolutely stunned by his performance! It's really sad how a young man is turned into a wacko by his revolting father's stupid strategies. What's worse is that, he experiences all that just because he doesn't take his father's tyranny, and smokes weed occasionally, like loads of people at his age. And what's even worse is that, this is a real life experience. I'd really like to sit down and have a coffee with that guy one day, and listen to his experiences in his own words. The movie made me want that.

The Brazilian cinema is the rising star of these days, and I sure hope it'll keep up the good work. A country with such a diverse culture, people experiencing extreme incidents in different walks of life, and great filmmaking skills to show those things to us. For this particular film though, I strongly doubt only Brazilian mental institutions are like this. Most likely, several terrible places like that exist all over the world. It's not certain that you're mad if you go there, but as this film depicts, it's almost certain for you to leave mad, if ever. Also make sure to see Abril Despedaçado with the same actor if you can. Brazilian movies rule!

9/10 for this all in all great movie.

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

One of the most important films about Brazil's society

Author: Marcelo ( from Brasília, Brazil
23 April 2002

Shocking. This is how I felt when watching this movie. It is a raw picture of the mental institutions system of Brazil and the ignorance by the parents and relatives about dealing with the subject of drugs. Is the act of putting someone in public mental institution the best solution or the easiest ? The madness of our society leads the family to take the easiest solutions instead of giving love. Medicine instead of friendship. This astonishing movie shows us all these kind of conflicts. Conducted by a fantastic music composed by Arnaldo Antunes.

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

A Tragic Story with a Positive Ending

Author: Fafa Fafa (
5 December 2004

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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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Deeply Haunting

Author: darksidelingua from United Kingdom
11 May 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A wonderful film which pulls at the heartstrings. Rodrigo Santaro as Neto portrays the tormented soul of a teenage boy locked up in a mental asylum so well.

This is a film that completely draws you in and makes you question the intentions of those who are supposed to be helping people. The doctors told Neto's parents that they were looking out for his best interests and kept prolonging his stay there. They knew that he was not mentally ill, but tried to create a situation in which he would end up that way, so that they could continue to collect money from his parents.

Film highlights the evils that people will do all in name of the money.

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9 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Good intentions not enough

Author: Edgar Soberon Torchia ( from Panama
17 July 2005

"Bicho de sete cabeças" is based on a true story, but it somehow resembles an overlong advertising spot with documentary posturing. Director Laís Bodanzky tries to make it look harsh and real, but few situations ring true, not the least those related to the young. This is quite obvious when the filmmakers try to find a cinematic equivalent to the perceptive alterations of a person under the influence of drugs. Back in the 1960's one could pass such naiveté as a Roger Corman joke in the face of lack of budget, but today it seems rather clumsy. Although he is too old for the leading role of Neto, Rodrigo Santoro gives a startling performance. As a matter of fact, it is his work that holds the movie together. Unfortunately, he has to deal with a weak script that opts for stereotypes: this is not a bad option per se, but it clashes with the film's intention to create a documentary climate. When the family visits Santoro in the sanatorium, for example, incoherence reigns, sister makes dumb remarks, mother smokes, while father bursts into his usual rhetoric. Poor Othon Bastos does his best to bring a bit of humanity out of his role as the father, loaded with clichéd dialogues. Hugo Kovensky's cinematography is also outstanding but in the end the script and the direction betray the intentions of the rest concerned. 6/10

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Excellent Acting of Santoro

Author: Juan_from_Bogota from Colombia
26 March 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As a foreign viewer (from Colombia) i was proud to see such good acting inside a touching and really close story; and after i read about the Austergésilo Carrano's book and events in his life i was even more touched by this movie, based on true events held in Brazil. The Brazilian movie industry is remarkable and is showing great productions, is also becoming an example for other Latin American countries to promote good quality of our movies, i saw recently Carandiru, which is also a great Brazilian film (Santoro is in that film too).

This story about Neto (Rodrigo Santoro) as a teenager that is precluded in a mental institution by his father (Othon Bastos) who found marijuana in his pocket, is touching and shows some cruel facts behind the mental institutions in Brazil, the cruelty and terrible events in the mental institution makes you think about some social problems hidden to the common people.

I saw this movie some years later (2007) and is remarkable how a really good actor (Santoro) plays a difficult role, i felt his acting so real, that the movie seemed somewhat like a documentary; really great! and now his talent has been recognized, playing important roles in Hollywood (Charlie's Angels and the recent 300!). Excellent for Rodrigo!

The only thing that i didn't liked about the film is that i felt that some important parts of the movie where omitted, forcing you to suppose what happened sometimes. Like when Neto was in the institution, and later he was in his house, i wish to have seen what happened between those two moments, i felt like the movie skipped something

7/10 in a really good Brazilian film!

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant performance by Rodrigo Santoro,if it were an American film, he would have won Oscar.

Author: caiomurillo-inf from Curitiba
3 February 2012

This film is brilliant, flawless performances and beautifully told story, coupled with the beautiful soundtrack. Unfortunately Brazilian films still suffer discrimination even here.

I would love people to disclose this marvelous work.

When I see the potential of this movie, seriously believe that would be worthy of an Oscar, two or three Oscar's. Not that Oscar is so important to the quality of a film if the film did not win is not a sign that he is not good.

Briefly, this movie demonstrates what happens when people are prejudiced, and prefer to push the issue to another, than face it. And still today, because it shows that you treat marijuana like crazy, can only worsen things.

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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:


Author: Luis Henrique ( from Sao Paulo, Brazil
30 June 2001

a true story about a young man that's put in an asylum by his own father when he founds a pot cigarette on the son's pocket. wonderfully photographed in a documental way, with a camera that's always on movement, this movie has a perfect script, great soundtrack, composed by two of brazil's most talented musicians and absolutely marvelous performances, specially by the lead character, neto, played by Rodrigo Santoro and his friend on the asylum, Ceara. this movie is a must see!!!

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3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

The two sides of alternative direction

Author: prix162 from São Paulo, Brazil
18 July 2001

Alternative (and artistic said) direction is a tradition among Brazilian movies, and Bicho de Sete Cabeças does not escape from it. The first thing you notice when watching it that the image is not of a very high quality; a cheaper type of film was used. That can be explained by the fact that the movie industry is not very sponsored in Brazil, forcing some cuts on the budget. But that can also be a consequence of the constant fight of Brazilian moviemakers to never do things in the conventional way. That is also noticed on the unusual takes and camera movements.

Normally, that is the exact reason why Brazilian people themselves dislike Brazilian movies. It is rather unpleasant to watch. Some scenes even create a certain dizziness. And for that reason, this alternative direction is a nuisance for the beginning of the movie, where we see Neto living his everyday life. It may not be an ordinary one, but his personal decadence could have been shown using modern filming techniques, that wouldn't create in the audience the feeling that they're watching an amateur movie, something homemade. However, when it comes to the scenes that occur inside the madhouse, this alternative directions fits exactly with the horrible climate that fills the place. It transmits to the audience the point of view of the character; a normal person who's under the effect of heavy drugs and is surrounded by mad people. That uncommon filming enters the audience mind, as if they were there, living that situation. It makes them feel uncomfortable, but that's the purpose.

The poison for some is the balm for others. So the lesson here is that nations should exchange their techniques and use them to best fit their movie, instead of keeping fighting against what is foreigner.

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