A Do The Right Thing setup, introducing the neighbors along a suburban Brazilian street, including young lovers, a stressed-out mom, a petty thief with rich parents. Clodoaldo (Irandhir Santos of Elite Squad 2) appears, setting up a street security force with the backing of the neighors, including an elder Donald Sutherland type (Francisco) who used to run this town. It’s all infused with a sense of slow dread seemingly leading nowhere major but enjoyable on its own, until Clodualdo’s final revelation at Francisco’s house, confronting the colonial sugar-mill owner with his past crimes before the movie ends abruptly in fireworks.
The movie draws its menace from the fences and bars, the security force and barking dogs, tension between neighbors and classes, dreams of hordes of street kids hopping the fences and murdering us all. It also sets you up to identify with Clodoaldo and his group, giving as Cinema Scope points out “the simultaneous sense .. of being inside and outside the community.”
Cinefest played it in the wrong ratio so everyone looked thinner, with some digital glitches – all forgiveable, since they played it at all.
The street on which the main action unfolds is his actual street; the apartment of one of the protagonists, the stir-crazy housewife Bia (played by Maeve Jinkings), is his apartment; the dog whose persistent barking drives Bia bonkers is his neighbor’s dog. Many of the film’s incidents, often charged with implicit racial or class tensions, came directly from things he had lived, and its mixing of genres—drama, comedy, action, horror—came from the mind of someone who regards daily life as material for cinema.
Green Vinyl (2004)
Also watched an earlier short by this director, set in the same neighborhood. A montage of still photos, a la La Jetee or Dog’s Dialogue. Mom gives Daughter a box of 45’s, says she must promise to never play the green one. Daughter ONLY plays the green one, keeps doing so even though it kills her mother, one limb at a time, like Monty Python’s black knight (and similarly unconcerned, always with a loving smile). “Freely adapted from a Russian fairy tale” was the only explanation I could find.