Milton Goncalves

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Orfeu Review


OK
Like 1959's Black Orpheus (Orfeu Negro), 1999's Orfeu tells us of another musician named Orfeu and his beloved Euridice in Rio de Janiero on the eve of Carnival. It's a familiar remake -- only the mysterious Death/Hades has been replaced by a jealous local thug, who ends up capturing our hero's girlfriend. Oddly, Rio still looks the same 40 years later, and still they haven't managed to make this retelling of the Greek myth any more worth watching.

Carandiru Review


OK
From Brazil comes this introduction to the notorious Carandiru House of Detention in Sao Paolo where we meet an assortment of criminal dudes (and dudettes) living their life in a place where the con boss acts as judge and executioner to instill and maintain order. The warden and officials look on as nearly powerless overseers while the central figure who guides us through the labyrinth, the Doctor, exerts a calming as well as a healing effect on the detainees under his care.

Doctor Drauzio Varella worked in this place for over 12 years and recounts stories of crime, revenge, love, friendship and massacre in the book Carandiru Station (Estação Carandiru) from which this film was adapted by Fernando Bonassi, Hector Babenco, and Victor Navas and directed by Babenco (Pixote, The Kiss of the Spider Woman). The objective, it would seem, is to reveal the truth about a menacing place of incarceration.

Continue reading: Carandiru Review

Orfeu Review


Weak

A modern retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, the Brazilian import "Orfeu" skits its source material to such a degree that the film becomes little more than a templated ghetto love tragedy set in an exotic locale.

The myth tells the story of a musician who played the lyre so beautifully that no one and nothing could resist his song. When his true love dies from a snakebite, Orpheus is overcome with grief and descends into the Underworld to win her back from the dead with his music. Soothed by Orpheus's melodies, Hades agrees to let Eurydice return to the land of the living, but only if Orpheus leads her to the surface without looking back until they both reach sunlight. Desperate to make sure she's behind him, he blows it, turning around when he emerges out of the ground, condemning Eurydice back to her death.

The Orfeu of the film (Tony Garrido) is Rio de Janeiro's most celebrated samba composer, who lives in a hillside shantytown so as not to forget his roots. He's a handsome, brazen Romeo as famous for his seduction of dozens of girls as he is for being the star performer of the city's famous Carnaval celebration.

Continue reading: Orfeu Review

Milton Goncalves

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Milton Goncalves Movies

Carandiru Movie Review

Carandiru Movie Review

From Brazil comes this introduction to the notorious Carandiru House of Detention in Sao Paolo...

Orfeu Movie Review

Orfeu Movie Review

A modern retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, the Brazilian import "Orfeu"...

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