In a fancy Brazilian apartment building in 2010, young, pregnant, white Dona Ana hires Clara, a woman with no experience or references, as nanny on instinct, because she does this:
The two start sleeping together, but it turns out both women are behind on their rent, Ana’s friends and family don’t speak to her anymore, and she gets cat-eyed and bitey on nights of full moons. Finally a were-baby bursts out of Ana’s belly, killing her, and after weighing her options, Clara grabs it and runs.
The movie has been pretty typically shot, with fine lighting and color even in the dim scenes, but it adds some new flavors around the halfway point. Ana’s were-pregnancy backstory is told with still drawings, the child is probably a CG-enhanced puppet, and as Clara makes her escape, a homeless woman sings a warning song.
The second half jumps to present day, and the main stylistic addition is a CG wolf-boy that’s not quite there. But first, a bunch more plot, as Joel is turning seven, and starts to rebel against his restrictive diet and being chained in a dungeon on nights of full moon. Clara is a busy nurse now, so Joel is alone and the landlady feeds him meat, then things spiral. He sneaks into the mall at night and rips his best friend to shreds, then sneaks off to the school dance and almost kills his girlfriend before mom intervenes with a gun. She again can’t bear to kill him or leave him behind, so the movie ends beautifully with them preparing to take on a mob of angry neighbors together.
I had a flashback to this movie during Parasite:
A Locarno prizewinner, playing alongside Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun and The Wandering Soap Opera and A Skin So Soft, a bizarre lineup. Isabél Zuaa (Clara) has got range, was in last year’s anthology slavery horror The Devil’s Knot. The writer/directors have been working (mostly together) since the 1990’s, with some shorts and one musical comedy horror about gravediggers.