A story inspired by the life of one of the most remarkable figures in Brazilian popular culture, João Francisco dos Santos (1900-1976). In turn, bandit, transvestite, street fighter, brothel cook, convict and father to seven adopted children, dos Santos--better known as Madame Satã--was also a notorious gay performer who pushed social boundaries in a volatile time. The story begins in 1932, in Rio de Janeiro's bohemian Lapa district, when João Francisco is about to achieve his dream: becoming a stage star. In the sordid yet lively world of Lapa--populated by pimps, prostitutes and other denizens of Rio's underworld--João battles the streets and presides over a surrogate family that includes the charming prostitute Laurita, and her baby daughter whom everyone dotes on; the flamboyant hustler Taboo; João's teenage lover, Renatinho; and Amador, the owner of the Blue Danube club which is their second home. It is at the Blue Danube that street tough João begins to sing, and the mythic drag...Written by
Sujit R. Varma
The names of the major characters and the performers portraying them and the roles and names of the major contributors (director, etc) are shown in gold and red sequins respectively, interspersed with scenes of Madame Sata performing. Once the credits reach the minor performers and contributors the credits revert to a standard scrolling format, albeit with an unusual font, on a red/ black background. See more »
I feel proud about the Brazilian cinema of the last years. Although facing many difficulties, mainly financial ones, the Brazilian film-makers are proving that it is possible to make a truly high level cinema here.
"Madame Satã" is just another example of this new Brazilian cinematography. Excellent photography, which really brings to the screen the mood of 30's bars and nightclubs from Lapa (Rio de Janeiro traditional bohemian neighbourhood, known also for its violence). The camera is "drunk" and "high" in many moments, in others is able to show tenderness in an ultra violent and uncontrolable character (the scenes where João Francisco takes care of Laurita's baby). The cast is excellent, with a great merit of young Lázaro Ramos, performing a character that has everything to lead to exageration or to a ridiculous acting; even though, Lázaro manages to bring to life in a realistic way someone who is a homosexual with feminine behaviour in some times and in other times is a scary fighter, who could deal with 3 or 4 opponents bare handed.
The main achievement of the film, though, in my opinion, is that the director wanted to show the personality of João Francisco, not worrying too much in telling a story. The plot is almost absent, we are invited to make part of João Francisco's turbulent, violent and difficult life through Lapa's gethos and bars, dealing with prostitutes, police, thugs and dangerous people. We can understand why Francisco,later called "Madame Satã" lived that way (even though we may not agree with it) , having in one hand the fascination for a fairy tale world of fantasy, with songs in French and taking care of a baby and in the other hand dealt with streetfights, robbery and eventual imprisonments in jail. If it is difficult for someone to be poor, black and homosexual in nowaday's Brazil, imagine in the 30's!
Great movie, great acting, great photography, great editing, the only thing I can do is give it a 10!
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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