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K. Anthony Appiah,
The life and ideas of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. A love triangle unfolds as Nietzsche and his best friend decides to live with a Jewish woman. According to Nietzsche's ... See full summary »
Following a newspaper ad, ordinary women tell part of their life stories to director Eduardo Coutinho, which are then re-enacted by actresses, blurring the barriers between truth, fiction and interpretation.
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The names of the characters are pronouns. She is a teacher, with his father dead just three days ago. Faced with this situation, He intends to take care of her while He is alive. This is the beginning of an odd relationship.
This is an unusual, rather radical film about a very radical philosopher. To follow the film, and to appreciate it, one must be very familiar with Nietzsche, late 19th century West European History, and its culture. (selected Wagner music is played throughout the film.)
The film has no real plot. It is a composite of well-known Nietzsche writings voiced over in Brazilian Portuguese to situations in Turin (Italy) and to location shots of Turin, where Nietzsche spent a period of about nine months late in his life. It was a time when Nietzsche was at the height of his delirium, so many of his writings confirming this mental state are especially included.
The director of this film spent a lot of time both in Brazil and in Turin preparing the film. He was helped by his wife - the distinguished professor of philosophy Rosa Dias, who obviously influenced the film greatly.
Between 1995 and 2000, the director shot images of Turin for the film. Unfortunately, these are generally of bad quality (even if for effect - they don't work), and are contemporary, showing Turin today. All the movement towards the sky to avoid cars and skyscrapers being seen are not effective either.
The film is for Nietzsche scholars only. Anyone else, even insomniacs, will surely sleep right through it. The director deserves credit for having taken the chance on such an unusual film, and such an "un Brazilian" theme for a Brazilian movie.
But, the film is ultimately (predestined by its theme) a big bore of a tribute, perhaps even to those interested in Nietzsche and his texts.
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