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Premise without plot does not a movie make
Some films just beg to be shorter and this is definitely one of them. What you get with HISTORIAS QUE SO EXISTEM QUANDO LEMBRADAS is basically a glorified Twilight Zone premise stretched out to fit feature length: a young photographer arrives to a rural village in the Brazilian county-side full of old people where it's revealed that no one can die. It might have worked if it had been a short film but, as is, there's just not very much there. It never really moved beyond that premise with real plot. To fill up the time, they force in all these stray scenes of exchanges between the girl and the villagers--scenes full of cloying poetry and insights that would be better suited to a greeting card. The girl wanders around, takes some pinhole pictures, watches the villagers do their daily rituals of survival over and over and over again, etc. After an hour of this you just want to yell at the screen: "I GET IT! LIVING FOREVER AND BEING FORCED TO DO THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN IS BORING AND A HORRIBLE BURDEN!" What might have stood out or worked if it was say, a half hour, gets flattened to lullaby level of tedium in 100+ minutes. That's the dominant adjective for this movie: flat. It just never feels very organic. It's clearly a manufactured film with a manufactured narrative. The writing is very basic and exhaustingly formula driven. I was hoping it would take advantage of all the dark and shadowed possibilities its theme invites or become the real mystery that it promised to be...but there is no payoff. If it weren't for the very lovely lensing provided by Lisandro Alonso's usual cinematographer, Lucio Bonelli, I'm afraid the director wouldn't have much of a film at all. The visuals really do carry this thing. And the actors do a fine job, considering what little they have to work with. I really wanted to like this one, but I'm sorry to say it just put me to sleep. Maybe skip this one and seek out Bonelli's other work instead (like the gorgeous LIVERPOOL).