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Maria E as Outras (2004)
I did not like it...
Just saw it yesterday in the Sao Paulo Intl Film Festival. Just before going I came here to see how it was rated, and at that time it was 7.4, a pretty nice rate...
After 15 minutes I was dying to get out (never did this), but felt embarrassed to do so as the producer of the movie was in the screening.
I did not like at all, the dialogs are shallow and lead nowhere, the characters are shallower than the dialogs, nothing lead anywhere, and the worst and worst: plenty of Siemens and Organics advertising on the movie. Despite the fact that I already paid to go to the movie and entertain myself, I still have to be bombarded by the main character chatting on the internet and Siemens mobile popping-up all the time on her lap-top; or another character having a bath or cutting her hair just to have Organics shampoo displayed enormously on the screen! All of this would be bearable if the plot, characters, romances, anything was good, but was bad, really bad! A "don't know how to do" sex-in-the-city.
Don't waste your time or money.
A heavy portrait on the criminal court of justice of Rio de Janeiro City
Not an easy to see documentary about histories that happens on the criminal court of justice of Rio de Janeiro City. The documentary does not have and does not need a narrator. A guy that is caught with drugs in a stolen car, his public attorney, his wife, his pregnant girlfriend, the judge on the case, another drug-dealers with no future caught by policemen and sent to a public prison...the way he comes out...
It is for those who liked Bus 174, Carandiru, prison stories, very sad stories, inequality, poor justice system, etc... For me is a must see to everyone, but be aware that when one come out, one does not look the world in the same way...
De Passagem (2003)
It is not (all) about violence
Brazilians for sure are more used to this movie, its plot and its surrounding, it is a movie for people who like movies in general, mainly not Hollywood, blockbusters ones.
There is no one scene with blood, shoots, knives, etc. The violence is everywhere in the movie (like it is in the slums of Brazil), but is never portraited explicitly.
The story is about a teenager, who is doing army school in Rio, when he comes back home (Sao Paulo) to recognize the body of his brother that was killed. He then has to take a long trip to the other part of the city (Sao Paulo has 17 million people!!!) with his brother's friend. Then it starts an interesting flashback of his early teens in that slum (and a very interesting also parallel story, beautifully edited).
If you like artsy movies in general, if you study cinema, and you don't want to go out to a boring bar with boring business friends spending money on beers, stay at home and watch this movie, you will like it (mainly if you understood my cynicism).
A powerful documentary about teh biggest prision of Latin-America
The Prisional System Professor F. Favero, aka Detention House, aka Carandiru, or Carandiru Complex was going to be demolished in 2002. Then started a national rush to cover as much as possible of this incredible (on the bad side) place.
Carandiru Complex was made of 9 pavillions, each one with 5 floors, where no guards/wardens could enter and go up. Made to receive about 4,000 inmates, it once held 9,000, and by the time of the demolition had 7,000. The building was falling apart.
Famous by the massacre of 1992 (111 inmates executed), nicely portrait by Babenco's 2003 movie(Carandiru), the documentary is a compilation of more than 170 hours of footage recorded by the inmates themselves, who were given 20 DV cameras and a video workshop.
How can you control 7,000 people (killers, drug-dealers, robbers, stealers, rapists, transvestites, innocents maybe) with almost no money and less than hundred wardens? The inmates had their own rules, and the simple one: you do something wrong, you die. This is how they could make people, who had once break the rules, to obey rules. And it is an incredible environmet: transvestites, crack, marijuana, bosses, evangelics, etc..., all in the same place.
The documentary is slow at times, but it never gets out of a trilling pace. The inmates tried to focus on dreams and hope, instead of murders and past stories. Of course the camera work is at times shaky, and confusing, but the editor perfectly could arrange the 170 hours in 2, getting the "best" of Carandiru.
To everyone that is completely bored of happy-ending blockbusters movie. It is not a depressing movie at all, but you will never get a happy ending. Watch it!
Door to Door (2002)
Perfect movie, amazing performance!
I rented this movie non-pretensiously and was gladly surprise that I did it. It is about the story of a salesman who has brain disorder which leaves half of his body paralized. At last he finds a job as salesman of Watkins and give a powerful lesson of life. It is very touching, a story which will lead you to fell light at the end.
William Macy achieved a top-notch performance, and reached the panteon of excellent actors. Both him and the movie should get more recognition and I hope more and more people get too see it.
Os Normais: O Filme (2003)
Take care before going to watch it!
I saw this movie yesterday because the movie I went to see was cancelled (a Russian movie in the SP International Film Festival). I saw part of the series on TV, series which I thought was not bad, sit-com typically Globo style.
Take care before going to watch this movie! Mainly because this movie is high (at least for now) rated 7.5 here on IMDB. Which is simply ridiculous!!!
First something is not a movie only because is played on the big screen. Os Normais is basically a poor TV episode stretched to fit 1.5 hour. People indeed were laughing, but they laugh when the main characters say words like f**k, dic*, son-of-a-******, etc. It is cheap laugh, they laugh on coincidences that are so ridiculous that you think that the writter (Fernadn Young) was on booze. The script is not laughable at all. Actors are good comedians (except for Marisa Orth, she is really bad), and make the movie a little better.
Technically the movie is horrible: the sound looks like coming from another planet other than actors mouths, the camera keeps doing Brazilian Soap-Opera shots, moving like an afraid rabbit, the photography is so poor that you don´t know when is day, when is night, when is anything. You can almost see the lights reflected everywhere. The colors are everything but the beautiful Rio-de-Janeiro. Brazilian TV directors are horrible, who knows how to translate poor mass-consumption things to poor people, put them in movies and this is the final result: Os Normais.
I don´t want to judge bad or good movies, because it depends for who. I think I can judge them technially speaking. But definitively this is not a more than 5/10 movie for IMDB standards. Don´t be fooled by brazilians nationalists that fill IMDB thinking that Cidade-de-Deus should have won an Oscar, that Carandiru will win in 2004, and than anything that comes from Brazil is excelent. The latests good brazilian movies was Central Station and Bus 174, that were pieces-of-art, the rest, some are ok (Cidade-de-Deus, Carandiru, Amarelo-Manga, Abril Despedaçado, O Bicho de 7 cabeças, etc.), and some are piece-of-garbadge (Os Normais, Apolonio Brasil, Lisbela e o Prisioneiro, O Auto-da-compadecida, etc.)
If is your style, if you spend more than 1 hours watching open-cahnnel in Brazil: go watch asap, you will have loads of fun, and don´t go if you like David Lynch, Eric Homer, Jim Jarmuch, Scorsese, Kubrick, Wes Anderson, Mullen, and the list goes on and on...
Les triplettes de Belleville (2003)
Another piece of great animation
It is very nice to see that Pixar, Myazaki, Amstrong are not alone in the world of amazing animations, and it is even better that one is really different from the others. I don't think one has to understand about France culture a lot to get the animation. The symbolisms of the movie are very clear. The story is simple, and better, it does not have any dialogs, all are conveyed through the excellent caracters expressions, music, movements, and sounds. All characters are really funny, specially the dog. This film is not targeted to any specific age, I reckon everybody who loves a different, creative, innovative piece of art, will love this movie. 9 / 10
Amarelo Manga (2002)
If you are looking for a mellow, soft, blockbuster movie, certainly amarelo Manga is not the one. No one is assassinated in this movie, but there are really strong scenes. This does not mean that the movie is only for the strong hearted. NOT! Amarelo Manga shows how life can be yellow, not golden beautiful yellow, but mango rotten one. The plotline happens in the outskirts of Recife, capital of Pernambuco, one of the biggest cities in the Northeast, and one of the poorest region of Brazil. Five people connected in stories of love, betrayal, work, and desire. Each one with his own problems and crazyness, something that is not for from our daily reality. Even though 80% of the directing, acting, photography is amazing, the other 20% of extremely bad moments can put some people off. But, movies lovers will like this different style, something that cannot be found not only in Hollywood mainstream movies (all exactly the same), but also is not found in Woody Allen, Kiarostami, Almodovar, Rohmer, Dardeene, etc. movies. And this is why worth a lot seeing this movie: is something that is different from what you have already seen before. The whole experience is new and worthwhile, in the last 5 minutes of the movie one will have an excellent surprise, with one of the best editing and directing in Brazil film history. This movie is receiving excellent reviews from critics, and I hope it gets to theathers around the world, to open more the doors of brazilian cinema to everybody who wants to experience it.