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Luiz Fernando Carvalho
Juliana Carneiro da Cunha
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.
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.
This unique Brazilian film tells a story in the first-person, through still photos, POV shots, flashbacks, cutaways that follow a subjective train of thought and an omnipresent voice-over. The plot details a geologist studying a remote region of Northern Brazil after a traumatic breakup with is girlfriend. At first we (and he) focus on the procedural element of his job but the desolate landscape begins to stir something inside of him and ultimately the structure of the film takes on a subjective fantasy-memory-reality dynamic.
The film is put together like a collage of memories and observations, and Irandhir Santos provides a tremendously evocative voice-over that exudes heartbreak and pain even if you don't speak Portuguese. But the 'road movie through the soul' structure never really finds anything to counterbalance its inherent repetitiveness and by 2/3 through this quite short film it becomes pretty exasperating to watch - plus the ending seems like a copout, a 'live-life-to-the-fullest' message that is far too pat for a story so deeply concerned with heartache.
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