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Luiz Fernando Guimarães,
God decides to take a vacation - but, first, He has to find a saint who can rule the universe while He's away. For that, He goes to Brazil's northeast, where He believes there's a very good man for the job - but, during His mission, He becomes friend of a very smart young man, Taoca. Written by
Honestly, Brazilian cinema is not inside my radar. With respect I say I saw the beautiful "City of God" in its original language and I was fascinated. But when you see these actors, a plot like this one and images that want you to stay with them, you can't reject a film.
Carlos Diegues must have been the most influential of all. He, alongside many screenwriters developed a premise I have never heard before. I mean: God is Brazilian? I don't think so. But the fact that he could be and could visit the country as an ordinary man because he just wants to take a break and needs a "saint" to cover his position is creatively remarkable.
They must have had fun writing this stuff; playing and acting the characters as they were creating them. They created lovable characters. Who doesn't want to meet a guy like Taoca (Wagner Moura), so honest and lost in life, with nothing to loose or to win? The scene where he meets God (Antonio Fagundes) requires perfect comedic timing. Every element must be collaborating to achieve that, as He is standing on a stick and then Taoca looks at him from his canoe as if he was crazy, but He tries to explain, metaphorically, that He created the world. Taoca doesn't believe him and fish start jumping out of water and hit him. The effects, the cinematography, the acting, the writing; it all works together in that scene.
When Taoca is convinced about God, they both travel throughout Brazil, looking for this "saint", Quinca Das Mulas (Bruce Gomlevsky). During the journey, there's a lot said about love, animals, the Earth and the other planets, and the couple meets people, including Madá (Paloma Duarte), a young girl who suffered her mother's death, and Baudelé (Stepan Nercessian), a man Taoca owes money too.
The strong point about the film is that they took their issues seriously, in able to make them funny and real. They combined the story and elements perfectly. With God on screen all the time, they made us believe music played only when He wanted and objects moved only if he decided that to happen. One fantastic scene where the travelers have to make money and God turns into a magician. Soon, Madá is flying above people, and it is beautiful; how it can be comedy, fantasy, love and character development at the same time.
When Taoca and God are walking through the street, a cow passes by, and God looks at the animal strangely. "That's a cow", Taoca says. "Yes, I know I invented it", God responds. "Yes, but we named it". It's funny! How the main males keep the excuse that God is a literature professor named Emanuel Salvador, when they are both always near to revealing who the old man actually is.
Performances are adequate and enormously pleasant for a type of movie like this one. Wagner Moura is definitely gifted, even when he shouts and exaggerates. It works. Antonio Fagundes does it effortlessly. He is relaxed as God itself, as his character says, traveling through galaxies. Paloma Duarte is beautiful, besides being also very talented and memorable.
"I can't perform a miracle at any moment", God tells Taoca. "It takes time". "God is Brazilian" is no miracle but perhaps with some more time
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