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Veronica (Hermila Guedes) has just finished med school in Recife and is facing the gap between the theory of books and the harsh reality of Brazil's public health system: enormous lines, unhelpful colleagues, and disgruntled patients who refuse medical protocol and sometimes even spit in her face. She refers to herself in the third person, as "patient Veronica," and exerts self-pity for feeling alienated in spite of having it all on paper. When she's not being a doctor, or a patient of her own self in her journals, she's hanging out with her ailing father, having lukewarm sex with her boyfriend, or daydreaming about beach orgies. Written by
Existentialism wrapped up in a poetic non Fairy Tale
This is billed as 'a fairytale in reverse' and I think it is easy to see why. Veronica is a newly qualified Psychiatrist in Recife, Brazil - she starts work as an intern at the City public hospital. She lives and dotes on her ageing and dying father. She has a great bunch of friends and a lover - Gustavo - who says he really loves her. So not a bad lot in life.
However, once she starts diagnosing her patients it opens a window on herself and she starts trying to diagnose what is wrong with her. She can not find romance but instead would rather have a one night stand with random pick ups of which Gustavo is aware. It is almost that the sex, self treatment and the songs she sings to her Dictaphone are all part of some healing process until she can find the cure to herself. The anti fairy tale part comes with the realisation that there is not a fairy godmother or an inevitable happy ending and probably the acceptance of such that make you be able to cope with whatever life throws at you.
Along the way there is a lot packed in and the relationship between father and daughter is really touching.This is told in a series of scenes that run in a linear narrative form and take us on the full scope of emotions and experiences for Veronica. It has a poetical feel in places and arty nudity in others. There is a fair amount of flesh on display here but it all seems rather natural, no one is trying to be super sexy or cool just as nature intended and that too adds to the overall mood of what is basically an art house film.
Please note I received a review copy for review purposes. The musical score is really rather nice too. This is from director Marcelo Gomes who has not had enough exposure outside of Brazil, but I think if he continues to make such self assured films like this then that position will change.
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