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Chega de Saudade (2007)

7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 348 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 4 critic

In an old-time dance hall (the "gafieira") in São Paulo, one evening is all it takes to meet different characters as they remember the past, live the present, wonder about the future, have fun, flirt, fight and, naturally, dance.

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Title: Chega de Saudade (2007)

Chega de Saudade (2007) on IMDb 7.2/10

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8 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Leonardo Villar ...
Álvaro
Tônia Carrero ...
Alice
Cássia Kiss ...
Marici
Betty Faria ...
Elza
Stepan Nercessian ...
Eudes
...
Bel
Paulo Vilhena ...
Marquinhos
Elza Soares ...
Ana - crooner da banda
Marku Ribas ...
Wanderley - crooner da banda
Conceição Senna ...
Aurelina
Marcos Cesana ...
Garçom Gilson
Clarisse Abujamra ...
Rita
Luiz Serra ...
Ernesto
Miriam Mehler ...
Nice
Marly Marley ...
Liana
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Storyline

In an old-time dance hall (the "gafieira") in São Paulo, one evening is all it takes to meet different characters as they remember the past, live the present, wonder about the future, have fun, flirt, fight and, naturally, dance.

Add Full Plot | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Romance

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Details

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Release Date:

21 March 2008 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Chega de Saudade  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

Mulheres
Written by Toninho Geraes
Universal Music Publishing MGB Brasil
Produced by Eduardo Bid
Performed by Marku Ribas
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User Reviews

 
Dancing with the Stars
13 April 2008 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

The scenery is an old-fashioned dance hall ("gafieira", as we call them in Brazil) that has seen better days. The people who go there are in search of a good time, socializing (and, why not, flirting), fond memories and the very special sort of human contact that ballroom-dancing can provide. Almost all of them are old-timers; those under 50 can be spotted across the room like a flashlight in the dark. We get to meet a bunch of easily recognizable characters: the old, grouchy former ballroom king who's got his foot in plaster (Leonardo Villar); the beautiful old lady slowly sliding into the foggy world of Alzheimer's disease (Tônia Carrero); the "simpaticone" charmer and his irresistible soft small talk (Stepan Nercessian); the roué ex-Don Juan who's become a pool of sarcasm (Luiz Serra); the aging beauty who fails to see she's lost her lure (Betty Faria); the shy spinster who still waits for male initiative (Cássia Kiss); the sensuous, mature tigress whose hot tango is the hors-d'oeuvre to vivid sexual pleasures (Clarisse Abujamra); the huge-bellied, sweaty fatso who dances the night away all by himself (Beno Bider)... Among all these old-timers, a very young, conflicted couple call attention: the frowning, overstressed ballroom sound technician (Paulo Vilhena) and his lovely starry-eyed girlfriend who's never been to a ballroom before (Maria Flor).

Laís Bodanzky's second feature -- seven (!) years after her critical and box-office success "Bicho de Sete Cabeças" -- is a character study comedy influenced by Ettore Scola's and Robert Altman's ensemble pieces, especially Scola's "Le Bal" (1983) in its integration of music, dance and emotion, and "La Cena" (1998), as it also takes place in one single evening. No less than 10 writers have collaborated in the script, so it's no wonder the film seems a collage of sketches, with somewhat stereotyped characters. But there's still a sense of unity and roundness, thanks to Bodanzky's tight direction, Walter Carvallho's hand-held camera-work (which is so close to the actors' faces and bodies it can only be described as biopsy-like) and above all the strong performances by a dream cast of veterans. "Chega de Saudade" is a tribute to some of the most emblematic Brazilian film actors of all time, and the two newcomers -- Paulo Vilhena (a soap-opera ham who gives an unexpectedly fine, subtle performance) and the sensitive and lovely beyond words Maria Flor, with her knock-out smile and ebony eyes that can melt iron -- rise up to the occasion.

There are no tricks in the actors' play; never before have sagging skins, receding hairlines, swollen feet, dried-up hands, double chins and big bellies been so ruthlessly photographed on screen. It takes a while to accept what old age and multiple face-lifts have done to some of the most beautiful Brazilian stars (especially to the one who, in her prime, was surely one of the world's most beautiful women, the now 85-year-old Tônia Carrero). There's no attempt to disguise their ravaged faces with special make-up or soft lighting, and seeing them in blunt, realistic proximity sometimes is a little awkward, as if we'd caught them naked. But soon we realize those zillion wrinkles and age spots have their own kind of beauty, and their talents have now a rich ripeness that only old age and decades of professional experience can bring. What a joy to see them sink their teeth in their roles! Even the cameos by Jorge Loredo, Marlene Silva or Selma Egrei bring fond memories and a sense of comforting familiarity: it's as if we're meeting dear old relatives we hadn't seen for a long time.

The soundtrack is another big asset: there are some 20 vintage Brazilian songs in various genres (including samba, forró, choro, samba-canção, pop, etc) performed by a big band with singers Elza Soares -- her face unrecognizable after innumerable face-lifts and collagen injections, but still showing powerful lungs and infectious swing at 70 -- and Marku Ribas. There are also some vintage ballroom recordings, from an unspeakably kitsch pop version of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" and Marvin Gaye's soul classic "Let's Get It On" to Norma Bengell's sultry rendition of "C'est Si Bon". Non-Portuguese-speaking audiences won't get the extra subtext that the lyrics of the Brazilian songs bring to each scene, but there will still be plenty to enjoy musically, anyway.

Because of its setting, cast and soundtrack, "Chega de Saudade" may register more deeply with Brazilian viewers over 40 (or 50), but its characters and themes -- getting old and learning to dig it, fighting loneliness, yearning for close physical contact in old age, keeping the love door open, learning to treasure memories while preventing them from hampering the present -- are universal and easily identifiable by any audience. "Chega de Saudade" has got an earthy sense of humor and, even though some of the dialog is schematic and the script seems chopped and some characters are just rough sketches that begged for more screen time to fully "exist", it's thankfully devoid of cheap schmaltz. Recommended for those who enjoy ensemble acting, dancing, music, laughter...and it can probably work miracles for grumpy old heels.


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