Gabriel Mascaro – Boi neon AKA Neon Bull (2015)

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Iremar works at the “Vaquejadas”, a rodeo in the North East of Brazil where two men on horseback try bring down a bull by grabbing its tail. It’s dusty and back-breaking work, but Iremar is a natural vaqueiro feeding, prepping and taking care of the bulls. Home is the truck used to transport the animals from show to show which he shares with his coworkers; Galega, an exotic dancer, truck driver and mother to her spirited and cheeky daughter Cacá, and Zé, his rotund compadre in the bull pen. Together they form a makeshift but close-knit family. But Brazil and the Northeast are changing and the region’s booming clothing industry has stirred new ambitions in Iremar. Swinging in his hammock in the back of the truck, his head is filled with dreams of pattern cutting, sequins and exquisite fabrics as he mentally assembles his latest sexy fashion designs. Continue reading

Hector Babenco – Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)

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Kiss Of The Spider Woman takes place in an un-named, fascist country in South America. It is, essentially, a two-actor drama featuring two men, of vastly different demeanors and ideologies, who share the same cell in a brutal prison. Louis Molina (William Hurt) is a flamboyant homosexual window dresser who is imprisoned for corrupting a minor. His cellmate is Valentin Arregui (Raul Julia), a journalist jailed for his leftist political activities. To alleviate the day-to-day drudgery, Molina entertains Valentin by retelling the stories of his favorite movies. Continue reading

Hector Babenco – My Hindu Friend (2015)

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His father has died, he doesn’t speak for his brother for about 10 years and he has a serious cancer. Diego is a talented film director with difficulty to deal with his sickness, which is making him lose his friends and family slowly. His best friend and doctor, Ricardo, gives him the news that he needs to have a bone marrow transplantation, otherwise he’ll die. He gets married to a beautiful woman, Livia, just before going to Seattle to get treatment. There, an enormous staff of doctors start to give him numerous medications and procedures. During treatment, he meets and Hindu boy, with whom he plays pretend and tells amazing stories. Odds are against him and when stakes are the highest, Diego gets a visit from a very Common Man… Continue reading

Anna Muylaert – Que Horas Ela Volta? AKA The Second Mother (2015)

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Val spends 13 years working as nanny to Fabinho in São Paulo. She is financially stable but has to live with the guilt of having left her daughter Jéssica, in Pernambuco, in the northeast of Brazil, raised by relatives. As college entrance exams roll around, Jéssica wants to come to São Paulo to take her college entrance exams too. When Jéssica arrives, cohabitation is not easy. Everyone will be affected by the personality and candor of the girl and Val finds herself right in the middle of it. Continue reading

Alexandre Stockler – Cama de Gato AKA Cat’s Cradle (2002)

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Three young hedonistic sociopaths find themselves in deep, deep trouble in Alexandre Stockler’s ugly 2002 teen drama Cat’s Cradle. Longtime pals and recent high school graduates Gabriel (Cainan Baladez), Cristiano (Caio Blat), and Francisco (Rodrigo Bolzan) are all from privileged Sao Paulo households, and as such, spend the vast majority of their time seeking entertainment in any way, shape, or form. The depths of their depravity become fully apparent when the trio captures and gang rapes a young woman — who dies in the midst of this horrific crime. In a panic, the gang of rapists/murderers try to cover up their crime and quickly discover that the cover-up is oftentimes more egregious than the initial crime, with more death and mayhem following suit. Cat’s Cradle marked the first film of the newly formed TRAUMA (Trying to Realize Anything Urgently and with a Minimum of Audacity) school of filmmaking, a so-called “ironic Latin American response to Dogma 95” co-founded by director Stockler. ~ Ryan Shriver, All Movie Guide Continue reading

Marcel Camus – Orfeu Negro AKA Black Orpheus [+Extras] (1959)

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Screen: Legend Retold; ‘Black Orpheus’ Bows at the Plaza
By BOSLEY CROWTHER
Published: December 22, 1959

ALL tangled up in the madness of a Rio de Janeiro carnival, full of intoxicating samba music, frenzied dancing and violent costumes, the Frenchman Marcel Camus presents us a melancholy tale in his color film, “Black Orpheus” (“Orfeu Negro”), which came to the Plaza yesterday.

It is a tragic story of a Negro chap and a Negro girl who meet at the time of the annual blowout, fall suddenly and rapturously in love, whirl through the night in a furious revel and fall off a cliff in the dawn. At least, the fellow falls off the cliff, holding the dead body of the girl in his arms. She has been killed the previous evening while trying to escape a scoundrel in a skeleton costume. Continue reading