A Dog's Will (2000) Poster

(2000)

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8/10
Avoid the misunderstandings
fredmontier30 June 2010
Before watching it, get this straight !

1- This movie is an adaptation from a original play and smaller works from the same author (1955).

2- This is not how Brazil is today in the country side but how it was at the beginning of the 20 century (circa 1920). Sort of Brazilian Wild West (in our case Wild East).

3- This was a TV series much longer and was reduced to almost 1/3 of its original size for the theaters and DVD due to the great viewers ratings of the TV series.

4- Much of the jokes and characters are local to the region shown in the movie: Sertão Brasileiro.

5- To understanding the movie you should really know Brazilian Portuguese, some local accents related to the plot and the colloquial words used make it very tricky to translate, and in many cases, impossible. I watched also with English subtitles, and believe me: most of the jokes are gone.

6- There is no parallels between this movie and "Cidade de Deus" (City of God). You can argue about the technical aspects of them but for me, is like comparing "much ado about nothing" (from Shakespeare) and American Pie. To really appreciate "much ado..." you you must master the English Victorian world completely (of course... its out of my league. Eng. is not my first !). Or like old Italian comedies from the 60 and 70 where many joke relay on gestures that a foreign just cant understand.

7- And about the religious ending, its a joke inside the joke. And of course, if you cut a work that takes 3 1/2 hours to just 90 minutes and thinks that its the same thing.

...for example, for a native Brazilian, its just hilarious to see a black Jesus, a Zelot Devil and organized one following rules by the book.

In the other hand, you could compare this movie to DOGMA (Kevin Smith). And its way better than DOGMA.

Thats all folks...

And of course... I'm a Brazilian.
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A must see!
jungpfeffer9 July 2003
It's hard to find actors with as much charisma and on-screen chemistry as this movie's main duo. Throw in an impeccable script and various Cameos by Brazil's biggest and brightest stars, and you'll have one of the funniest movies ever made (and my personal favorite amongst the post-1980s Brazilian productions. The only downside of this movie is that it was originally a four-hour TV mini-series; the two-hour version is inevitably condensed. If you have the option of choosing between them, go for the complete work. If not... well, half the laugh is still better than no laugh.
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9/10
A rough guide to life, love and death
m-heintz130 July 2006
O Auto de Compadecida is a funny film, in more ways than one. At first, I was baffled by the storyline, or rather, by the lack of a storyline such as I'm used to. If you expect the first five or ten minutes of a film being devoted to introducing the characters, their backgrounds, and their passions, you'll find yourself puzzled by this flick. There is hardly any introduction or explanation, and such as is offered appears exactly at the appropriate moments. The film is also funny in content. The main characters are a teller of unlikely stories and a schemer of impossible schemes, who never reach the third dimension, but then, there's no need for that: the burlesque quality and speed of the scenes thrive on these two men being cartoon characters rather than real people. And truly, an in-depth character would be highly out of place in a scene which involves Jesus, Mary, and Lucifer doodling in the margins of a book--using blood as ink, naturally. Highly enjoyable.
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It's folklore
fabiogaucho6 September 2004
When the 4-chapter mini-series was announced by Globo network, few people expected it to be THAT good, for the simple reason that nothing that good had been done in Brazilian television in the previous 15 years. The adaptation is efficient, departing very little from Cabral de Mello Neto's text and mood, the direction, scenography and art direction are beautiful, the humour is well balanced with adventure and drama, everything works well. But the real treat you get watching this is Nachtergale's performance as Joao Grilo. This is the production that made everyone agree that he is the best actor of his generation by a mile. Let me talk a little of what the story is about. It is not really a 'fantasy' of the writer as some American viewers (understandably) thought. The play's proposal is to be an adaptation of several texts from the tradition of 'cordel literature', typical of the Brazilian northeast (where the play is set). Those texts are mostly long poems that translate the folklore of that region. It is, of course, a very catholic area, but in a very peculiar way. Jesus ('Manuel'), Mary ('the Merciful') and the devil ARE common characters of those folk stories, and they are as 'accessibile' to people as the movie shows in Brazilian Folklore. Also from 'Cordel literature' comes the character of 'Joao Grilo'. Anyone who sees this movie and don't know Grilo should watch for Shakespeare's 'Henry IV' (the character Falstaff) and Moliere's 'Scapino'. It is sort of a universal character – the court's fool, and doesn't belong to Arraes, Mello Neto or even to Brazilian Folklore. So it is not really someone's fantasy – it is the fantasy of an anonymous collective, the people from Brazil's northeastern 'sertao'. It is a great movie anyway, I just thought people would like to know the background.
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10/10
The greatest Brazilian comedy ever!!! (for Brazilians)
maidenmaniac24 February 2006
"O Auto da Compadecida" figures as the best Brazilian comedy of all times, not only for the jokes itself but for the social and economical context that it shows!! Showing the northeast poor situation it shows an atmosphere that can only be understanded by Brazilians and third world countries citizens.

The movie tells the story of joão grilo and chicó two poor friends that uses their smart to survive. sometimes honestly and sometimes tricking the richer and stronger people. With a smart and simple humor it makes you laugh from the first to the last minute, don't having to appeal to nudity and deliberated violence!!

This one is one of the greatest comedies ever and should be watched by everyone who can understand it context!!
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Sensational Brazilian Tale
patygirl_df7 May 2001
Warning: Spoilers
***SPOILERS***

Imagine a fantastic tale about two unique characters in a not so expounded Brazil. Now add the most intelligent and splendid humor and the most talented performances of the always great Selton Melo and the phenomenon Matheus Nachtergaele. Don't forget that the funny Denise Fraga and Diogo Vilela are in the production, as the wonderful Lima Duarte, Marco Nanini and Rogério Cardoso. If you are still not convinced that this is just one of the best movies ever made, remember that the only Brazilian actress ever nominated to an Oscar is priceless as the Compadecida.

I guess I've convinced you all, haven't I? So, have a lot of fun, watching one of the most inventive, original and authentic Brazilian movie. I know that a lot of jokes will be untranslatable and it will be very hard to related with that reality, but I know that it isn't impossible because I know that there's poverty in everywhere in this world and I know that there's corruption in Catholic churches in everywhere in this world and I know that people cheat their husbands in everywhere in the world.

The unique Brazilian touch is the humor of the two protagonists, one is the most creative liar and the other is the most sprightly illiterate guy. While Chicó spends his time getting trouble and telling the most incredible things that "happen" to him, João Grilo uses all the briskness that he has to take them out of the trouble and just survive.

The thing is that Chicó's last trouble was huge and João Grilo ended up being killed by a bandit. That's one of the most funny scenes, he has to be solved in a trial, so that he can goes to Haven. Since he used to commit a lot of sins, the only way to get out of this is with Mary's help.

It's really rare to find a comedy that succeeds criticizing important groups of the society, making us reflect, criticizing concepts (Jesus is black) and that also make us don't stop laughing during the entire movie. Just great! Don't miss it!
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10/10
GREAT MOVIE!!
bmeirinho31 March 2002
This movie is wonderful!! One of the best Brazilian movies ever. Simple scenery, good sound and music, good actors, screenplay and directing, everything done with care and without much technology, and the result is a great and comfortable movie.
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More Geared Towards Native Viewers Than Global Audience
CinemaClown9 April 2020
The only reason A Dog's Will (O Auto da Compadecida) even surfaced on my radar is coz of its inexplicably high position on Letterboxd Top 250 list. The film doesn't have much of an international presence yet it appears to be held in high regard by Brazil's local audience and is a staple of their country's most beloved feature films.

For an outsider like me however, this was a chore. Cheap production value, over-the-top characters, exaggerated acting & an onslaught of dialogues that provide no breather, this fanciful comedy is full cringe during its first act and it's difficult to process what it's about or where it's headed. But the longer one holds on to it, the better it gets.

The idiosyncratic characters aren't instantly appealing so it takes a while to warm up to them. But once we get a grip on what's happening, the ride sure becomes a bit smoother. The themes & context that are in play during its witty moments are so firmly rooted in Brazil's culture that for a foreigner, it is difficult to grasp and is bound to leave most clueless.

Overall, A Dog's Will is one of those films that are more geared towards its native audience and isn't going to impress those not well versed with Brazilian culture & heritage, for the film lacks a universal appeal. There's hardly anything appreciable about this terribly dated, awfully humoured & hurriedly moving feature for a non-native like me but I for one am not sorry for failing to see what's so great about it.
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the Brazilian Terry Gilliam
natachapoggio4 October 2003
It is amazing how, from the very beginning of this movie, you notice the influence that Terry Gilliam has had on this Brazilian director. The movie has the twists and craziness you would expect of "Adventures of Baron Munchausen", but from the third world, portraying incredible well the way people try to survive where there is not much for them anyway. "O Auto da Compadecida" is definitely a very good movie, with talented actors and unexpected plot. Must-see.
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10/10
Just great...
mpreza20 June 2001
This movie it's wonderful . It says that the Brazil can do great comedies.Shows a creative and hilarious story about two mens ,with different personalities Chicó (the liar) and João Grilo (the smart one)living the most funny history you'll ever heard...
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10/10
Best brazilian Movie ( i mean,...)
jdavidjf7 May 2019
It was a serie wich was compacted into a movie. Era uma série que foi compactada em filme. In spit of it..... it became the best comedy movie ever here.
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10/10
This movie is about survival
ian_saltos12 October 2020
O Auto da compadecida is comedy about survival, we saw the things through the eyes of João and Chicó, both of them represent a great part of a invisible Brazil, poor and simple people that do everything to survive, we saw that even in the poor places there will have a huge social inequality. To survive this people even have to fool the Devil.
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10/10
Flawless movie !!
adalice_duarte12 October 2020
O único defeito é que acaba ! Just perfect, so cultural and a beautiful message. Ariano Suassuna is a magnificent storyteller. His masterpiece, O Auto da Compadecida, is hilarious and heart touching at the same time. You MUST watch it now, Thank me later !
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8/10
A great study about the human being
luizedumedeiros-8267822 June 2020
Thats amazing story about heaven, hell and the duality of the human being settled in the poorest region of the Brazilian northeast is a great portrait of the human in the most comic way possible. It isn't the most famous Brazilian movies around the world, but it's surely one of the best.
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9/10
A Humorous, Spiritual, and Lighthearted Portrayal of the Brazilian Northeast, Its Folklores, Classes, Habits, and Language
ReviewingHistory21 June 2020
"O Auto da Compadecida," commonly translated as "A Dog's Will" (a translation which, to my ears, waters down the significance, the gravitas, and the poetry of the title in the original) is a sure-classic and a phenomenon of the Brazilian cinema and popular culture of the recent past and of modernity in the rural communities of its countryside. The film has marked the heart and the soul of an entire generation since the dawn of the twenty-first century, and features lines and words still common-parlance among the average Brazilian (e.g., João Grilo's : "Não sei não... Só sei que foi assim. ("I don't know--all I know it was so"))

All in all, the film portrays themes of class, spiritual feelings, and some legendary figures of the folklore and of the past of the Brazilian drylands and Northeast. In a way, "O Auto da Compadecida" memorializes through the friendship of Chicó and João Grilo an entire generation and past, an entire dialectic and language, all done with outstanding actors, actresses, and acting overall.

This is surely a landmark of Brazilian cinema, imagination, and one that is sure to delight those open to receive its humor and themes of love, spirituality, redemption, and forgiveness.
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8/10
Great Brazilian Comedy
seankuchida14 August 2019
This movie is inspired by Ariano Suassuna's screenplay (which goes by the same name). It treats the "auto" (religious play) genre in a amazing and comical manner, the actors did an amazing job performing their roles. And despite being an theater adaptation, it manages to be as good as the play (the experience of reading it, I never watched it live) itself.
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10/10
A very funny movie, specially for Brazilians!
jofilho16 August 2011
This movie is a film adaptation of a very funny and traditional Brazilian story. The actors are very good and the director created the perfect ambiance for the scenes. It's a movie about a very particular Brazilian way of life. You will not find at this movie big cities like São Paulo or Rio, or big forests like Amazon, nothing. You will find the Sertão: a deserted area in Brazil where a lot of people lives with few resources and needs to use the creativity to survive. Maybe, for non-Brazilians, the language can be a problem, because most of the jokes have some linguistic aspect. But this is not a very big problem. The film is funny for everybody and have a good message at the end.
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4/10
Lost in Cultural Translation
witness-714 July 2014
I viewed this movie based on the many recommendations here and elsewhere. I'm no stranger to Brazilian cinema, though I do not profess to be anything close to familiar with it -- at least with comedy. (More from the drama and crime veins.) And I know enough of Portuguese to barely get by (and even have a native Portuguese-speaking wife).

The story is over-acted, but you kind of have to give it a pass for that as an adaptation from the original stage play. So manners, expressions, and exchanges are all exaggerated for the stage but put on film. It comes on pretty thick.

Then there's the subject matter of the story and comedy itself. I love parody, but the sort of social, class, and religious satire that dominates this movie seems very predictable and trite from a modern American's perspective. Here's where I think much of it was lost in translation for me: cultural and historical translation. The jokes seem forced, and many of the situations follow the absurd misunderstandings of an episode of 1970s TV's "Three's Company".

I can only guess that the subject matter may have been taboo or shocking at the time to make cynical jokes about how, say, the priesthood might respond differently based on money and class. But in today's world where we have the realities of child abuse scandals and the like, it comes off too dated and quaint to have much impact by comparison to all that we know today.

The comedy itself lacks variety, relentlessly focusing on the topic of social, class, and religious stratifications and hypocrisies. As such it's quite one dimensional, so if the social play of poor people tricking more influential people to interpret things differently according to their egos and financial interests doesn't provide a wealth of laughs for you, the movie falls completely flat and drones on the topic incessantly.

I made it through to the end, but I kind of wish I had stopped sooner. Definitely for specific tastes of humor.
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10/10
Amazing movie !!!
soudixzaron10 August 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Amazing movie !!!! I cry a lot when they die ! I recomend this movie for everyone !
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10/10
Wonderfull
joserobertobarbosa6 March 2019
The best Brazilian film of all time. Humor and deep interpretation.
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10/10
It is a master piece of Brazilian cinema.
tuana-oliveira3 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
As I said this movie is a master-piece of Brazilian cinema. However, if you are not Brazilian you should have something in mind before you watch this. This movies is a comedy that mocks catholic church and how the so-called christians go to church but outside the church they are greedy, cheaters and corrupt.

The two main characters are a reflect of the poor people, that most of the times have to become smart-asses to have food on their tables. This explains the so-called "Brazilian way" (jeitinho brasileiro). Even if you are good at heart, you will die of hunger if you don't fight for survival. No one will help you (not even church).

The movie also shows how a small town in the northeast region is usually structured. Every small town has a church and one rich farmer that gets all the good landing to plant and make money. So poor people work their asses of, but all the money goes to church and the farmer. On the dry season it's even worse and many people migrate to the urban centers searching for a better life. It is inevitable that some of them will become robbers.

But the main purpose of the play is to show that in the end, everyone is the same. They all go to the same place when they die. And in the case of those who believe in the catholic faith, you will be judged by your actions.

This is a really common kind of comedy in Brazil. We tell a sad story using comedy, because we believe that laughing at our problems is the best way to have strength to face them.

I've read a review complaining about the characters yelling all the time, that is because people from the northeast have a really particular accent, and it is really funny for people from the rest of the country. Even I find that accent funny, and I have a mild version of that accent. It's like a dialect from the northeast.

I really feel that for a foreigner this movie won't have the same effect that it has to Brazilians. Many of the jokes were missed, specially the ones that play with the words. But it is still an interesting movie because of the social context, the photography and the popular cordel poetry.

That is by far my favorite Brazilian movie, and this is not a critique to our cinema, which has had really great pieces over the years.
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9/10
Best Brazilian comedy ever made
felipe232 January 2007
That's an excellent movie. It shows that Brazil has achieved a mature level when it comes to movies. It exploits Brazilian culture and social problems, just like the great productions made in our country. It worries those that care about our cinema, because our directors always use this kind of plot, what may be dangerous. We should vary our themes. But that's a higher degree, and we gotta take one step after another. However, it is, in my personal opinion, the best comedy ever made in Brazil. A must see film. If you're not from Brazil and, occasionally or not, found yourself in this web page, be sure that's a good sample of contemporary Brazilian productions. I recommend also "Cidade de Deus" (but this one you should have already seen), "O Homem que Copiava" and "Dois Filhos de Francisco". If you like comedy, Os Normais (this one may be more difficult to find outside Brazil) is a great choice. Oh, coming back to O Auto da Compadecida, it's an adaptation of a very famous Brazilian book and the acting is great, just like the direction and the photograph (the film takes place in the Sertão Nordestino, like many others, and, like I said, shows Brazilian poverty in a satiric way.
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10/10
THE BEST MOVIE EVER!!!!!
joaoialima324 February 2020
You need to be born in the Brazilian Northeast to perceive all the BEAUTY of this movie. A wonderful story written for theatre in 1955 by Ariano Suassuna.
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10/10
A Green and Yelow Movie
maralvimmm17 June 2018
A film with Brazilian scent and taste, hilarious and country side, that shows and plays with mystical and authentic figures, in a very good way, with actors that incorporate the climate. Film that was done next to a remarkable series of the TV and that obtained the prowess of presenting well two works connected, but perfectly free to occupy their spaces. I recommend!

The filmmaker is the Pernambuco Guel Arraes, who develops exquisite works, many on TV and some pearls in the cinema, after that film made two exquisite, one a hilarious story about the discovery of Brazil with Caramuru: The Invention of Brazil (2001) and the another a novel similar to this one in this post, a hilarious movie, great called: Lisbela and the Prisoner (2003).
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8/10
Top 3 movie Brazilian
miguelneto-7493610 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
O Auto Compadecida no doubt is in the Top 3 of the best Brazilian film , based on a TV series with the same name , the film is fun and funny, the cast is very good, the protagonist duo has great chemistry , the jokes are good , and the film has participation of the Devil, Jesus is Mary, even it is interpreted by the great Fernanda Montenegro , the direction is good , the picture is beautiful , in my opinion O Auto Compadecida was the last Brazilian film that is really funny, because after only came movies bland, O Auto Compadecida has great humor, a good soundtrack , good performances , is certainly top three Brazilian films . Note 8.9
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