I saw a filmmaker on tv the other day telling everyone that a good opening always means a good film and vice versa. Unfortunately this comment should not apply to this film. This film features a perfect, outstanding opening credits with a powerful song, sung by a newcomer singer Bia Pontes, which synthesizes what Copacabana (the neighborhood not the film) is all about: diversity, tolerance, promiscuity, fun, all standing together in one harmonious piece. I really wanted to enjoy this movie, but I didn't. After the opening credits, you can learn - again, in a very delightful and creative manner - the origin of the name "Copacabana" and, given all the circumstances that surrounds low-budget films (this piece of Copacabana's history is told by means of puppet-like characters), it works fine. Problems with the screenplay pops up all the time, and it's amazing to see that it was written by three different people, including the director Carla Camuratti. The topic, namely the neighborhood itself and its inhabitants, is so rich and full of potential that one gets rather frustrated with the final result. I could almost have written a screenplay in my mind to explore all potential that such theme could provide. First of all, there are too many characters in this film and if the director was not able to fully explore the idiosyncracies of the main character, the rest of them was put aside, leaving the viewers with the question: what was the purpose of this and this character anyway? Alberto, superbly acted by Marco Nanini (very well-known actor in Brazil), should have been better "worked" by the script, giving not only his insights of his past but also how things have changed throughout the years, and how he keeps going despite the problems of the big city, especially for elderly people. Memories from the past, which are usually great plot when you have a senior citizen tracing back their lives, were not told in a way that you would leave the theater with a nostalgia mood. What went wrong with Alberto's life, that keeps him wandering about the streets of COpacabana and what is he doing about putting up with all the ghosts of the past? The scene of the birthday party goes on and on forever. It was supposed to be a surprise party for Alberto's 90 years of age,and because it is in COpacabana, everyone is invited, including a couple of drag queens and a famous transvestite, which are perfectly at ease at the party, but when the drags go to the bathroom to have some cocaine, two ladies (who arranged the whole party, and obviously invited all the guests) seemed very shocked by the drug episode... why? Didn't they know the guests, for Christ's sake? Ok , Copacabana is sort of an avant-guard district in Rio de Janeiro, people know that you can find all types there, but they don't have to invite all kinds of people to their parties just because it's not a typical middle-class neighbourhood. They tolerate more but they are not necessarily friends. The funeral scene also drags forever and it could be a great ending if Alberto told the viewers all about his life experiences totally aware that he is dead with a sense of sympathy towards all his friends along the way. But, no! He's not dead yet... and his saga goes on and on. As I said I really wanted to like this film. Camuratti is a good director and I anticipated only good things for this one, but it went in the wrong direction. Carla Joaquina, Princesa do Brasil, is such a good movie, and it was released in a time of difficulties for the brazilian film industry. It was a good start for filmmakers to recover their self-esteem and produce hundreds of films again for brazilians and foreigners because of the good qualities, but I think I'll have to wait until she finds a good screenplay and hit the road. Go,Carla, go!
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