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The Party (1968)
Be sure to go to the toilet before watching this one
This is it! I watched this movie a few days ago with a couple of friends, and we were literally shaking and howling and had tears rolling down our cheeks with so much laughing. Two thirds into the story, it slows down a little bit, but maybe it was done like that to avoid having viewers taken to the hospital or something. After watching it, I can honestly say I would not be surprised to hear news of people actually having to leave the room in order to regain their breath, thus loosing a few minutes of the movie. It really is that much funny.
No, we were not intoxicated with anything but the movie itself. If you like visual gags and comedies from the nineteen-sixties, by all means watch this one. And be sure to go to the toilet before doing so. When you do see it, you will understand what I mean, and probably laugh even more.
Tristezas Não Pagam Dívidas (1943)
Romantic spiritual comedy or something
Man meets widow at the cemetery. She asks him to help her spend the fortune her late husband left for her to "have fun" with. In order not to raise suspicions on the neighborhood, she invites back home her only son, which happens to be a little weird, to say the least.
This movie was originally almost 2 hours long. What is left of it nowadays amounts to some 40 minutes. This can make the storyline a little crazier than it was originally intended to be, but you can follow it, and it makes sense in the end. As for Oscarito, the actor playing the son, he does NOT make sense anywhere in this movie, and that's a joy to behold! This is your usual romantic spiritual comedy, and I won't explain what I mean by this in order not to spoil the fun.
Caídos do Céu (1946)
1946 carnival musical
The movie starts with a man going to Heaven, only to find out that his name is not on the Entrance list. Not on ANY list in heaven's bureaucracy. After complaining to some chief angel, he is asked to wait. They will send someone to earth to check if he was a good man when alive.
To avoid temptation, they send the purest couple of souls they can find. The year is 1946, and the pure souls are two folks who lived around 1890. The basic joke is the culture shock this man and woman from another century receive when they land in Rio de Janeiro right after World War 2.
The sound on the copy I saw was quite damaged, so I can only guess about the quality of many of the jokes. But, from what I was able to hear, I believe the film is very worth viewing, specially if you like musicals of that era. You get the typical characters: the Jewish salesman, the angry Italian dad, his daughter (who likes samba and wants to marry a samba musician), and so on.
It is also interesting to note this was the movie used to launch songs for the Victory Carnival: the first one after the end of World war 2. There is even a song with direct social equality demands. That was also Brazil's first carnival under a democratic government in quite a few years, and it shows.
What the #$*! Do We (K)now!? (2004)
cosmic romantic comedy
This movie attempts to mix science with religion. This infuriates some people. I understand the fear of religious dogma, for it can kill democracy. But there is also danger in scientific dogma. Every explanation of the world has flaws, even the scientific ones. Some philosophers of science, like Paul Feyerabend (he's not in the movie), call for a rethinking of the scientific method. And he was NOT a religious man. But science CAN turn into a fundamentalist dictatorship, too. In order to avoid that, we must keep an open mind, even for the ideas that seem counterintuitive or unscientific at first. And, if we can't avoid mixing our beliefs with science, then let us try and keep them on the side of freedom of thought and speech.
The movie itself is a little slow to start, but when it gets the knack for mixing talking heads with computer graphics and a fictional story to illustrate some of the points, it really gets going. The general idea, that divides into some more specific ones, is that the way you expect the world to go DOES seem to have an influence on how you SEE it, and so it can affect your life. Change the way you see it, and you change the way it goes. That's true to some extent, and do not let anyone, not even the people in this movie decide for you to what extent you will believe in this.
In short: Cosmic Romantic Comedy
Everyone is a bit weird in Canada, and that's fine
This movie is a little strange. When it started, I was a little worried it would turn out to be a drama instead of a comedy. And not a very good drama. Then it started getting better and better, and soon I was laughing out loud at some scenes. Be sure to watch the final credits, for there is a hidden last scene.
This movie tries to deal with some serious stuff, mainly relationships, be them gay or not. I don't know if the director wanted it to happen that way, but it did feel a bit weird, like I wasn't sure if some scenes were supposed to be sad or funny. Maybe he went for the REALISM effect, as in life it often does happen that you don't know if you want to cry or laugh. Anyway, this film was mostly funny, and I'm glad I saw it. I seems to say that everyone is a bit weird, but then again things CAN work out fine. I want to see this director's next movie.
Stop making sense!
This is it, for me! Absolute pure cinematic fun! This movie is not trying to tell you a story, although there is a plot about a funeral that ends up transforming into some unexpected events. I just had to laugh, and also marvel at some images that are simply beautiful, like some sort of silent visual music.
What the director does is basically a collage of absurd images and some camera tricks. These involve some artists of the time. I must say I am quite surprised by its freshness even today. Now I know where musical video clips come from! The first time I saw it, I was going to see some old silent movies, and this one was shown first, and I had no idea what it was all about. In a way, I still don't, and that's even better! Stop making sense for a while and start the fun!
Lábios Sem beijos (1930)
sex before marriage, maybe
This movie is worth seeing if only to witness a Rio de Janeiro that truly does not exist anymore. It was already a big city then, but it does not look that way for us today, and the beaches are all changed, too. For us it might be a light romantic comedy of some 70 years in the past. It is certainly a joy, and quite funny at times, and easy to watch. But, in 1930, this movie was considered not suitable for the ladies in Brazil. I guess I can understand.
The authorities probably figured that, upon seeing these rich girls that seem to be doing nothing but flirt and go to dancing parties all day long, women in Brazil would flock to Rio de Janeiro to let it loose! In the end, it is your regular love story, but it does seem to condone sex before marriage, as long as it is just a couple of days before the proposal!
Maridinho de Luxo (1938)
This one is for people who like high society comedies. You learn right from the start what is it all about: rich girl wants her daddy to buy her a husband. An ad in a newspaper and you have loads of unemployed males striving for the job. She chooses a small skinny man because she does not want a sexy athlete or anything. She will not let him touch her. He is just a social ornament, and she is free to flirt around.
Trouble is, he soon gets tired of standing around the house doing nothing. He decides to use his freedom to flirt around too. The movie has some delicious lines, and it is quite interesting to see it pointing to what is, after all, an open relationship. You kind of expect this comedy to behave in the end, but I like the way humor is used here to show people different lifestyles.
building the future
Inspired by a similar documentary about modern Berlin, the directors of this one try to show the viewer that São Paulo is a Modern City. There is a shade of militarism, but it is not quite as fascism was in Europe. They do not seem to advocate the elimination of the unadapted, but to point out that every class has its place in the bright collective future the people of São Paulo are helping to build for themselves and the rest of Brazil.
The camera does not refrain from showing the poor, and even the handicapped, though briefly. Even a prison is a good subject for the camera, although it is obviously presented as a place for correction and victory over the lack of discipline. The movie seems to be telling audiences all over Brazil to get ready to be lead by São Paulo. It foreshadows the political fight that would explode into a military conflict in 1930.
Tian bian yi duo yun (2005)
This is a movie about pornography, romantic love, isolation and watermelons. In some unspecified city, a man and a woman fall in love. She does not know it, but he is a porn actor. There is a drought going on, and people are using watermelons for water, and some other, sexier, activities.
It is sad and hilarious. It is slow, and then there are some weird and funny music videos I cannot quite understand, but worth very much the while. There are images that are worthy enough to be photography as art, just turn them into posters. It does feel dreamy, whether you find it gloomy or absurdly ridiculous, or both. And the last scene will stay with you, even if you laugh.