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.
Cássia Kis Magro
1980s. Juliano and Joaquin are best friends who get excited when learning of Serra Pelada, the largest open pit gold mine decides to leave from St. Paul and to the local dreaming of wealth.... See full summary »
A small community of descendants of Italian immigrants in the interior of the state of Rio Grande do Sul resorts to making a video to try to solve the problems of basic sanitation that plague their village.
I am seldom attracted to film aspiring to Academy Awards, as the biopics of Margaret Thatcher and J. Edgar Hoover; the retro-dramas on black servants, French orphans and stars of silent films; hurt lockers or kings' speeches. I prefer smaller, simpler films as the Dardennes' "Le gamin au vélo", maybe an Iranian title or even zombie Otto's dilemmas (although Bruce LaBruce insists on being lewd when his ideas are more than substantial). Last night I saw "A Festa da Menina Morta", a film I had never heard of, that I liked a lot, and that is the first work by actor Matheus Nachtergaele, who has demonstrated his acting talent in films as "Amarelo Manga", "Arido Movie", "Cidade de Deus" and "Central do Brasil". Maybe it was his gift what helped him obtain remarkable performances from his cast, and not only from professionals as Daniel de Oliveira and Cássia Kiss, but from the natural actors he directed. A reflection on people's mysticism, racism and a material and spiritual misery that films seldom risk to show, "The Dead Girl's Feast" reveals sordid anecdotes of the relationships between the leading characters, behind the magical thoughts that inspire a town in the middle of the Amazonian jungle. The story is simple: in the home town of the Dead Girl, people are about to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of her cult, directed and conducted by "O Santo" or the Saint (Oliveira), a young, self-worshiping homosexual, with a volcanic temper, and an emotional life that includes a marital, sexual-active life with his father and vague memories of his Caucasian mother. Close to him and his alcoholic, roguish father, are the devout women that keep the cult alive, and Tadeu (Juliano Cazarré), the Dead Girl's brother, who has lost his faith and begun to question the cult and the Saint. During the night of the feast, tensions and violent emotions grow, and an unexpected visit arrives, leading the story to a denouement in which the Saint's annual message to the devotees is an echo of his personal drama. Although the violence surrounding the story can erupt in any moment, one perceives Nachtergaele's affection for the characters, their customs and the story, an affection that moves the film away from manifestations of the so-called "porno-misery" that could have been generated. Nachtergaele had full control, opting for ethnographic observation that sometimes reduce dramatic action to a minimum, with fine support from cinematographer Lula Carvalho. Highly recommended.
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