Andrea Barata Ribeiro

Andrea Barata Ribeiro

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Adrift [a Deriva] Review


Good
Shot with a warm, sun-drenched glow, this drama practically purrs with the sexuality of its characters. Although since the story's told from a teenager's perspective, it doesn't always get things right.

In 1980s Brazil, struggling author Mathias (Cassel) is on a beach holiday with his wife Clarice (Bloch) and their three children. The eldest, 14-year-old Filipa (Neiva), isn't quite aware of the tension between her parents, so when she discovers that her beloved dad is having an affair with an American woman (Belle), she's furious. She of course feels much more grown-up than she is. And while trying to figure out how to confront her father, she starts flirting with Artur (Passi), who clearly loves her, and other men too.

Continue reading: Adrift [a Deriva] Review

Blindness Review


Bad
Fernando Meirelles' Blindness was adapted from the novel written by Portuguese Nobel-laureate Jose Saramago. The novel follows a singular woman who somehow goes uninfected when a sudden, freakish plague of "white blindness" strikes the planet, leaving her the sole witness to moral and sanitary decay and atrocities unmentionable in a prison for the infected. What was a poetic, exhaustively-brilliant piece of fiction has now become a clunky, clattering, ever-collapsing film of bludgeoning rhetoric.

The woman (Julianne Moore) tags along with her ophthalmologist husband (Mark Ruffalo) when he is struck by the blindness and sent to the initial holding facility for the infected. Visually plagued by random flashes of pure white, the film hams up Saramago's eloquent metaphor as the wards of the facility become factions. One splinter supports a dictator (Gael García Bernal) and an accountant (Maury Chaykin) who garner the entirety of the rations supplied by the army. Possessions and eventually women are traded for meager portions as the nameless woman begins to consider her tolerance in the face of a shadowy, violent orgy that even Argentine provocateur Gaspar Noé might find a little too much.

Continue reading: Blindness Review

City Of Men Review


OK
Splintered off from Fernando Meirelles' undeniable City of God, Paulo Morelli's City of Men, a continuation of the acclaimed Sundance Channel TV series, takes on a similar ghetto with a similar Dickensian cast of gangsters, seasoned veterans, and day-job so-and-sos as they go 12 rounds with the day-to-day routine of slum life in Rio de Janeiro. But where God used a central eye to see the pervasive crawl of violence in the ghetto, Men goes for straight shooting and high hopes.

Morelli, a veteran of the television series, continues to document the lives of two young men that make their home in the area known as Dead End Hill. One, a young father named Ace (Darlan Cunha), has a problem paying attention to his son while also trying to excise his youthful indiscretions. The other, a motorcycle-taxi driver named Wallace (Douglas Silva), wants to find his father before he gets his ID card for his 18th birthday. These young roustabouts, especially Ace, find themselves in the middle of a turf war between likable though snotty gang leader Midnight (Jonathan Haagensen) and his right-hand man Fasto (Eduardo BR).

Continue reading: City Of Men Review

Domésticas Review


Bad
In anticipation of Domésticas (Maids), by award-winning Brazilian directors Fernando Meirelles and Nando Olival, I was anxious to see a film that shined a light on the suppressed existence Brazilian housemaids are forced to endure. I have already witnessed firsthand in Sao Paulo these women toiling for practically no wages by cooking, cleaning, and scrubbing for upper class families. I'd also listened to many stories from teenage boys from prosperous families frequently losing their virginity to these housemaids. Many of these young Brazilian men laughed exuberantly in retrospect as they shared their personal stories of sexual indulgence, obliviously harkening back to the abuses of slavery. Disappointingly, while Domésticas uses humor to touch on some of these disheartening issues, it fails to make a compelling statement that truly empathizes with the Brazilian housemaid's cause.

The film is shot in pseudo-documentary format and follows five women's lives as domestic laborers and their bleak existence outside of their jobs. One thing they all share is a deep hatred of their employers, who oddly are never shown in the film. While they all have different reasons for ending up in their current occupation, the most frequent explanation is that the women were born into it. In fact, the most profound statement of the entire movie is the very first line, when a housemaid talks about a long lineage of maids dating back to the days of slavery. Frighteningly, the lack of upward mobility associated with their jobs still eerily mirrors a form of indentured servitude.

Continue reading: Domésticas Review

City Of God Review


Very Good
I wouldn't know to complain if you told me we were having coffee in a part of town called "City of God," what with its vague St. Augustine allusions and all. But after watching the Brazilian film of the same name, I think I'm supposed to add it to the list of neighborhoods that represent the combined failures of local government, law & order, and perhaps the human race: South Boston, Trenchtown in the Jamaican capitol of Kingston, East St. Louis, and South Central Los Angeles. We group them on an imagined Most Wanted list of places we'd never go, streets and sidewalks where we think getting killed might be as likely as tripping over the curb.

Rocket, City of God's young protagonist agrees, even though he grew up there. His story spans two decades (as far as I can tell, from the mid-1960s to the early 1980s) in this arid housing project 15 miles outside of Rio De Janeiro, beginning with him as a child looking up to the local hoods as they rob delivery trucks, and ending with him photographing them for the local newspaper as they kill each other. And while there were good times, Rocket's narration indicates that he doesn't miss them much. "This is where the politicians dump their garbage", he says. "Criminals? Homeless families? Pack 'em up and send them to City of God!"

Continue reading: City Of God Review

Andrea Barata Ribeiro

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Andrea Barata Ribeiro Movies

Adrift [a Deriva] Movie Review

Adrift [a Deriva] Movie Review

Shot with a warm, sun-drenched glow, this drama practically purrs with the sexuality of its...

Blindness Movie Review

Blindness Movie Review

Fernando Meirelles' Blindness was adapted from the novel written by Portuguese Nobel-laureate Jose Saramago. The...

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City Of God Movie Review

City Of God Movie Review

I wouldn't know to complain if you told me we were having coffee in a...

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