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Maria do Céu Guerra,
João Canijo latest movie adapts a Greek tragedy "Ifigénia en Aulis" to a provincial Portuguese family that has to deal with the Russian Mafia after a deal went wrong. In a place where everything is bought and sold even the youngest daughter may have to be offered for prostitution to make up for a deal that went terribly wrong. "Noite Escura" deals with the emotions of a small family that runs a provincial whorehouse, having to sell their youngest in order to survive.Written by
Portuguese cinema is, apparently, uninspiring and this film from Portugal is no exception. While it does not offer much optimism, there are some fine performances here. A couple of the lead actresses are supposedly two of the best in that country. Here they are part of a family who runs a brothel. Dad gets in debt and needs to sell his 15 year old daughter to the Russians who will in turn enslave her in another brothel in Spain. Her older sister fears she will end up dead and tries to save her. Mom doesn't do much to stop this from happening. She finally tries but never really puts up much of a fight. Too busy cheating on her husband who is meanwhile getting oral sex from his oldest daughter. Uhhhh... yeah, that's not good. Very, very bad. Really a total downer of a film, very dark and bleak and hopeless for the most part. It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section of the Canne Film Festival and was Portugal's entry that year for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. But being so depressing helped hurt it in my view. Disturbing and depressing yet still a curiosity to be sure... but with this one I'm coming in under IMDb.
5.4 / 10 stars
--Zoooma, a Kat Pirate Screener
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