Hilton Lacerda’s film debut is a lively take on the conflict between the straight establishment and the gay avant garde in late ’70s Brazil, and won a clutch of awards at the recent Rio festival.
The spirit of Fassbinder lives on in Hilton Lacerda’s Tattoo, at once an homage to the anarchist theater scene in late 1970s Brazil, a portrait of a society on the edge of change, and a punchy critique of Latin American homophobia. As drama, Tattoo tells an often-told story, but it does achieve a distinctive air of controlled chaos, managing to be both bouncy and thought-provoking in an unsubtle kind of way. Having picked up several awards in Rio, Tattoo should go on to leave its mark at festivals where the gay and the political meet. Its five Rio awards included best actor and best supporting actor. Continue reading
Review (by Jamie Russell,) :
Life is cheap in this searing Brazilian documentary about the real-life hijacking of a bus in Rio de Janeiro in June 2000 by a homeless, drug-addicted street kid named Sandro do Nascimento. Broadcast live on Brazilian television, the four-hour stand-off let the nation watch as its incompetent, poorly trained police force struggled to contain the explosive situation. A stunning indictment of Brazil’s social meltdown, this startling documentary plays like City Of God – except this time the bullets are real.
The hijacking itself is a catalogue of errors: the police failed to seal off the bus, letting camera crews and Joe Public wander within inches of its windows while Sandro stalked around inside with a .38 revolver. As a result, SWAT team snipers were told not to shoot because the event was being broadcast live on national television.
In a secluded Brazilian coastal village, where everything seems to stand still, Clarisse watches her life over the course of a day, unlike those around her who live that day just like any other. She tries to understand her obscure reality and the destiny of the people around her in a circling, disturbing sense of time. Continue reading
The first film of Tizuka Yamasaki, a young Brazilian woman of Japanese ancestry, Gaijin: Roads to Freedom is based on the experiences of Yamasaki’s own grandmother in coming to Brazil in the wave of immigration at the turn of the century, when Japanese were encouraged to join the Brazilian labor force during that country’s coffee boom. In an effort to comply with the immigration agents’ preference for family units, a very young Titoe marries Yamada, a man whom she has never met, and the two leave for Brazil. Life on the plantation is close to slavery: workers, forced to buy food at the plantation store, are presented with falsified accounts, and at the end of the year are still in debt to the plantation. The film treats relations between Brazilian plantation owners and foremen and their Japanese laborers (a group which, traditionally, did not cause labor problems), as well as relations between the Japanese and other immigrant groups, in particular the Italians. A compelling story of a woman’s struggle to survive, spanning many years, is juxtaposed with the growing union consciousness among immigrant workers in Brazil. Continue reading
A murder and a future teller meet in a desert road. He, driving his chevrolet, a short-cut hair, a rosemary leaf held behind his ear, a yellow shirt of shiny satin. She, walking on the paved road, heavy red lipstick on, a flowery dress with a loose skirt, and red shoes matching the lipstick. He offers her a ride and, after hesitating for a moment, the two of them engage on a bizarr love affair, an outlaw love, where boredom many times gives way to tragedy, raising the agony of a holiday spent in the abyss. Agony originarily means a fighter who fights on the limit of his endurance.
Doralice is a simple minded woman romantically fascinated by marriage. However, when she is raped by a butcher, a friend advises her to become a prostitute – and she does it. After that, all her wishes and longings will curl up into a fascinating vortex. Continue reading
Carlos Adriano wrote:
This film caused controversy in 1969, not just for its content, but above all for its daring and sparse approach to that content. Today, it is regarded as a classic of Brazilian cinema. The title of the film was inspired by the headlines of the ‘gutter’ or yellow press. Right from the start the title is literal: a young, lower middle class man kills his father and mother and goes to the movies… to see Lost in Love. From then on the film-within-a-film takes over. Fiction and fact blend into each other and it is no longer clear on what level of ‘reality’ – or of the imaginary – we are existing. The film gets rid of the usual parameters of representation and the stories overflow their boundaries, that usually circumscribe action. In Lost in Love two upper-middle-class girls hide away in a mansion in the hills. But there is also an affair between two poor girls, there are two tormented young men of different social standing, there are references to the political context of the time. To make matters more uncertain, the same actors play different characters. The actions of social violence correspond to acts of violence against the syntax of the film itself: the discontinued and fragmented development, the daring ellipses, the juxtaposition of disconnected elements, the rupture of the sound space. Bressane works on his dialectics of discomfort. Projected onto the screen is a true ‘impression of reality’ and a ‘suspension of disbelief’ in the cinema. Continue reading