Vestido de Noiva (2006) Poster

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Hallucination, Reality and Memory, In a Surrealistic Daydream
claudio_carvalho14 April 2007
In 1942, in Rio de Janeiro, the twenty-five years old Alaíde (Simone Spoladore) is run over while crossing Carioca Street. She arrives in coma in the hospital, and while being submitted to an emergency surgery, she recalls her life since her family moved to a former brothel, mixing hallucination, reality and memory. In her surrealistic daydream, she meets Madame Clessy (Marília Pêra), the owner of the bordello that died in 1905, killed by her seventeen years old lover, and she tells a passionate and tragic love story between her husband Pedro (Marcos Winter), her jealous sister Lúcia (Letícia Sabatella) and herself, and how Madame Clessy died.

"Vestido de Noiva" is a successful play written by the outstanding Brazilian dramaturge Nelson Rodrigues in 1941. This adaptation to the cinema is directed by his son, Joffre Rodrigues, as homage to his father, who died on 21 December 1980. Marília Pera is stunning as usual, and Simone Spoladore, Letícia Sabatella and Marcos Winter have also magnificent performances. The cinematography and art direction are splendorous and the music score is of first-rate. The highly recommended DVD has subtitles in English and French; therefore I believe that can be found overseas. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Vestido de Noiva" ("Wedding Dress")
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Comment by Ruy Castro
flaviopenner13 August 2008
"The Wedding Dress", by Joffre Rodrigues is the best film based on a play by Nelson Rodrigues. Therefore, it is also the best Brazilian film based on any play. If people unanimously disagree with me, then they are worse off. Joffre achieved a miracle when he, not only conveyed a revolutionary play to film, but also that he created a movie that exists regardless of the play on which it is based. I would like to say that it is not only a successful adaptation, but an authentic recreation -- strictly speaking in cinematographic terms, in other words, using all available film resources. In the play, the planes of reality, memory and hallucination of Alayde's character fuse and mix together, as Nelson wished. But the theater, even when it is brilliant, has its limitations. An actor can't change his/her clothes and nor can the set be replaced instantaneously from one scene to another. But movies can do this and much more, from one plane to another -- in a millisecond, everything can change. Joffre surpassed those limits. There is no past, memory or delirium to confront reality. Everything is real (or maybe everything is past, memory or delirium). His "The Wedding Dress" reminds us of "Last Year at Mareinbad" by Alain Resnais, considered by many at the time -- 1960 -- as the only movie that could not be seen in any other media. Critics said the film was "theatrical". This is something it is absolutely not. Try to put on stage what Joffre showed on the screen -- the way he showed it. If anyone is able to do this, I'll change my name from Ruy Castro.
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Too faithful to the original
breno_k27 July 2008
This movie suffers of actually being too faithful to the original play. Not that the play isn't any good, it's outstanding, it's just that cinema and theater are very different mediums of storytelling: one can't just take a camera to the theater and point it at the stage. This is almost what the director has done.

In the play, the stage is divided into 3 sections: memory, reality and hallucination. Whenever the story would shift between planes, lights would go off in one section and on in another. That has a big influence on how the dialog was written and how the story moves forward. The director kept all the lines and most of the pace and just changed the different sections of the stage into merely different takes, just as if it was any other story.

This is a very unusual play, quite demanding on its actors and directors. While this production had good intentions, I think the overall result falls flat. I've just seen with my friends and two Russian guests (we saw it with English subtitles), they found the story to be interesting but the movie to be "not good".

I rate it a 6 just because of the sheer literary and dramatic strength of the play that is being adapted. If it were a different story, the rating wouldn't have been as good.
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Stick to the Paulo José version, which urgently needs to be re-released
psyquick24 March 2007
Joffre Rodrigues succeeded in what seemed almost impossible: massacring what is perhaps the best theater play ever written in Portuguese, his father Nelson Rodrigues' 'Wedding dress.' Absolutely incredible! The script (of Joffre's own authorship) is ludicrous, simply ignoring and therefore spoiling the Pirandellian dimensions of the original text. Let me explain it to those who are unfamiliar newcomers to Nelson's work: the play takes place in several different dimensions (the stage is actually divided in a number of Pirandellian spaces). Joffre leveled everything down to a series of present scenes and flashbacks mixed up with apparitions. I wonder if anybody at all who has not read the play can understand anything about the action which is going on. As to his directorial abilities, none at all. An incredibly amateur. Even good players like Pera and Froes are pathetic. The sound is poor. Words are hard to understand. Brazilian movies used to lack a minimum sound quality in the old days, but that technical problem has been largely resolved in the latter decades. Not for Joffre and his crew. The cinematography is mediocre. ANother minus. I'm sorry, I couldn't believe at first why the critics had been so harsh. Having rented the DVD, I can. Let's go back to the Antunes Filho version made for TV Cultura in videotape format (in the 70s) and especially to the memorable Paulo José version (shortened, though) starring lovely Tonia CArrero, made for TV Globo in 1983.
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