A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession.
A three-paneled look at the worldwide AIDS crisis: in Montreal, a porn actor (Ashmore) schemes to pass his mandatory blood test; a young nun (Sevigny) makes a personal sacrifice for the benefit of a South African village; in rural China, a black market operative (Liu) posing as a goverment-sanctioned blood drawer jeopardizes an entire village's safety.
A trip to the mental institution hell. This odyssey is lived by Neto, a middle class teenager, who lives a normal life until his father sends him to a mental institution after finding drugs... See full summary »
This is a mesmeric movie about the corrosive effect of an attractive and sensual woman's intrusion on the close, almost intimate, relationship between two men. Set in the seamy underworld of the Brazilian port of Salvador de Bahia, the film takes its name from the lower (baixa) quarter of that city. One of the few "touristy" shots in the movie is of the lift connecting the Cidade Baixa with the Cidade Alta, a treasure house of colonial architecture, of which we catch but one brief glimpse in the film.
To my mind the film is as notable for what it doesn't state explicitly, as for what it does. Neither of the two male protagonists refers to the fact that they are of different colours; but it is hard to avoid the thought that this plays a part in the rift which develops between them, and is foreshadowed by the savage cockfight between a black and a white bird in an early scene.
The film is uncompromising - and entirely non-judgemental - in its depiction both of the criminal activities of its men, and of the prostitution of the women. We may not approve of what we are seeing, but "this is how it is" the film tells us. The acting is of the highest standard, with Alice Braga (niece of Sonia) outstandingly sexy; and the fast-paced and close-up camera work glues the viewer to the screen.
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