1920s. Vitalino, a small farmer from São Vicente sees his father die of the epidemic which decimated the country. Some years later, of all the brothers, Vitalino is the strongest and takes his father’s place in the house. But the village is too small for his aspirations and he decides to head to Brazil, leaving his sisters in charge of the household. In parallel with Vitalino’s story, If I Were a Thief… I’d Steal portrays the world of Paulo Rocha rummaging through his films and ghosts over the years.
Tag Archives: portuguese
Rosa de Alfama (1953) Henrique Campos, Alberto Ribeiro, Mariana Villar, Alves da Cunha, Drama, Musical, Comedy
Alberto Ribeiro and Mariana Villar star in a popular melodrama set in Alfama (neighborhood of Lisbon), which tells the story of a young orphan, Rosa, who was picked up by a fisherman family and raised by a widowed father with two sons Renato and José. One day, Renato, seduces and impregnates Rosa, refusing to take responsibility for his actions. And only the greatness and humanity of José, who offers to marry the girl and take the paternity of the child, could save her. Unless the birth of a child will help rescue a life of doom for Renato…
The battle of the sexes? The forces of despair and seduction? On S. Miguel in the Azores, Rogério, a young man with old money, and his enigmatic wife Leonor host a garden party at their villa. The intriguing guests are an older unmarried couple, the philosophical and observant Irene, and Michel, a roué. While Rogério and Irene talk, Michel and Leonor go down to the sea. The conversations upset Rogério and capture Leonor’s imagination. Five years later, the four dine at the villa. Michel and Leonor again leave the other two. Intentions and undercurrents are subtle. One of the four proves strong, one weak, and two must choose. Wind and rain bring down the curtain on both acts.
O Crime da Aldeia Velha (1964) Manuel Guimarães, Clara D’Ovar, Alma Flora, Lídia Franco, Crime, Drama, Horror
Set in a little remote village, where everyone is very religious and primitive, “O Crime de Aldeia Velha” (The crime of Aldeia Velha) tells the story of Joana, the most beautiful girl in village. She is badly regarded by all other women because they envy her and her affairs with men. As soon as accidents start happening involving her (at some point, she holds an already sick baby and he eventually dies), the women (and slowly, men too) in the village start claiming that she is possessed by the devil. At first,she doesn’t believe it. They ask for two priests to exorcise her, but they leave and say to the people that she isn’t possessed at all, and that people need to relax. But, little by little, they start convincing Joana that she is really possessed and she starts entering a stage of slight madness and behaving like she is. So, people “believing” that she isn’t going to die, and that the demon will leave her body, with her permission, they end up burning her alive…
Adeus, Pai / Goodbye, Father (1996) Luís Filipe Rocha, Afonso Pimentel, João Lagarto, Laura Soveral, Drama
This is the story of father and son who work as clowns Puro Sangue/Valdemar (Paulo Jose) and Pangare/Benjamin (Selton Mello) in a circus which travels through the Brazilian country side. Benjamin is a clown who does not have id or social security number. Going through a phase where he starts questioning his ability to make people laugh and his future, Benjamin decides to follow a different path to find his answers and pursue his dreams: a fixed address and the ideal woman. In the adventure, he meets several people on the way to find his own identity.
Noite Escura / In the Darkness of the Night (2004) João Canijo, Fernando Luís, Rita Blanco, Beatriz Batarda, Drama, Crime
João Canijo latest movie adapts a Greek tragedy “Ifigénia en Aulis” to a provincial Portuguese family that has to deal with the Russian Mafia after a deal went wrong. In a place where everything is bought and sold even the youngest daughter may have to be offered for prostitution to make up for a deal that went terribly wrong. “Noite Escura” deals with the emotions of a small family that runs a provincial whorehouse, having to sell their youngest in order to survive.
Central do Brasil / Central Station (1998) Walter Salles, Fernanda Montenegro, Vinícius de Oliveira, Marília Pêra
Dora, a dour old woman, works at a Rio de Janeiro central station, writing letters for customers and mailing them. She hates customers and calls them ‘trash’. Josue is a 9-year-old boy who never met his father. His mother is sending letters to his father through Dora. When she dies in a car accident, Dora takes Josue and takes a trip with him to find his father.
Bressane’s first color film, shot in the home of the artist Elyseu Visconti. Part of it is missing sound and final editing because the director was forced to leave Brazil. Horror and humor to deal with the subject of insanity: “In the end everyone leaves the house as though they were laboratory mice escaping, they invade the city and contaminate the world”. “If we talk about horror, this film deals with national horror, with Mojica Marins as an emblem. There might be a few touches of Corman and English horror, but it is another level of horror. What transformed the film was the location where we were shooting, the house of a 19th century painter, a receptacle of light. When I arrived and saw that house, that light, I said: ‘This is the film. This is the horror’. The meaning of the film, its appeal, derives from this laboratory of light” (J. Bressane). — Torino Film Festival
Os Mutantes / The Mutants (1998) Teresa Villaverde, Ana Moreira, Alexandre Pinto, Nelson Varela, Drama
A bleak drama about street children abandoned by the Portuguese juvenile system, Os Mutantes/The Mutants was immediately controversial in Portugal, where it inspired nationwide debate over reform of the nation’s youth authorities. Os Mutantes examines the lives of Pedro, Ricardo and Andreia, three kids in their early teens who have rejected life in juvenile homes or with foster families to take their chances on their own.