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Madame Satã (2002)
Cinematic Gem
13 December 2004
Built on subtly-nuanced performances by an outstanding cast, this film is a real cinematic gem. From the period costumes to the cinematography to the music, everything fits together. Lazaro Ramos as Joao Francisco dos Santos gives a tour de force performance especially powerful given the range of emotions necessary for the role. But all of the actors shine, under the demanding, gifted direction of Mr. Anouz. In some very long takes, for instance when Laurita tells dos Santos of the death of Rehatindho, all aspects of the craft are called into play. It cannot have been easy to maintain for such a long take.

The story is inspirational in the sense that the human spirit triumphs, love fulfills, talent overcomes in even the most sordid circumstances. Whether in Berlin or Brazil, life is, most certainly, a cabaret.
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unexpected perfection
8 March 2002
Like another comment I read here, I approached this film with trepidation. I am a huge James Whale fan but I knew nothing of his private life. I was worried this film would ruin Whales' films for me. What a surprise. The performances, writing, cinematography, costumes and sets were excellent. Having loved and lost I identified with the man when the "ghosts" from the past appeared. To me this was a love story. Also it is the story of a man grieving for his lost youth and possibly for life itself. Gods and Monsters is such a hugely great film that I refuse to watch it again as I don't want to dilute the amazing impact it had on me that first wonderful time.
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Deeply moving documentary
5 March 2002
Thanks to Spike Lee for telling this story in such a compelling manner. However, the use of the autopsy photos was so unnecessary. The horror of the event is evoked clearly by the lines on the faces of the survivors, and in their voices. I know the intent was to nail the point home, but for me, as a parent, seeing and hearing the story told by the family was almost too much to take in all at once.
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