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Luiz Fernando Carvalho
Juliana Carneiro da Cunha
A pawn shop proprietor buys used goods from desperate locals--as much to play perverse power games as for his own livelihood, but when the perfect rump and a backed-up toilet enter his life, he loses all control.
In 1942, the lonely German Johann travels through the arid roads in the country of the Northeast of Brazil in his truck selling aspirins in small villages, using advertisement movies to promote the medicine. He meets the drifter Ranulpho, who intends to go to Rio de Janeiro seeking a better life, and gives a ride to the man. While traveling together, they develop a close friendship, but on 31 August 1942, Brazil declares war to Germany and Johann has to decide if he should return to his home country and fight in the war, or stay in Brazil in a concentration camp; but the option of moving to Amazonas with the migrants of the drought seems to be feasible. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Interesting premise, but not nearly enough material to sustain an entire film
MOVIES, ASPIRIN AND VULTURES (Marcelo Gomes - Brazil 2005)
The film has the potentially great pretext of a young German trying to sell the recently discovered aspirin in the Northeast of Brazil during World War II, molded in a kind of road-movie. The discovery of aspirin is one of those little forgotten things in history. Sadly, the result is only mildly interesting and certainly not a great film.
Not much is done with the potentially funny pretext; A German traveling through northeastern Brazil in 1942 is something different, either for Brazilians back then, or contemporary Brazilians, or any audience around the world. Nobody seems to bother. And many of the scenes where he tries to sell aspirin with the help of a promo film (he brought a film projector) about headaches and the curing qualities of the product, could have been funny or touching, but it's executed in quite a lacklustre way. A real shame. Secondly, the cinematography. They shot on location in North-East Brazil, but the interesting locale is mostly left unused.
Not a bad film perse, it has some interesting moments but it suffers from a lack of inspiration and could have used a little more plot. The rural setting in NE-Brazil is interesting, especially for a European spectator but otherwise not a very engaging film. Messy, uninspired and a lack of ideas.
Camera Obscura --- 5/10
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