Opens with a woman returning to town to a mixed welcome just in time for a funeral featuring some light hostility – but you can tell from the Star Wars scene wipes that this is picking up where Aquarius left off, and is gonna be a good time. Not TOO good of a time – I was disappointed when the flying saucer a half-hour in just turned out to be a drone… but the drone turned out to be operated by a group of American hunters descending on Bacurau because the mayor has sold out the townspeople as wild game.

The town pulls together pretty quickly, unlike the hunters, who turn on each other whenever things go wrong. You’d think the mayor would know this, but Bacurau features at least two notorious killers, a history of violent revolution, a museum full of vintage defensive weapons, and (I’m not sure how this is related) a love for psychedelic drugs.

When two hunters pause mid-action to fuck, I’m pretty sure it’s a Cannibal Holocaust reference. Movie’s logic has an Udo Kier-shaped hole in it. After insisting that he’s more American than the Americans, he acts like they’re going on a rescue mission for the missing advance couple, then shoots one of his own guys after taking random potshots at main street, then almost kills himself, then whines like a baby at the town mayor, then says something like “we’ve killed more people than you know”, but his group was acting like they just met for this mission, then some “you haven’t heard the last of us” line as he’s being buried alive under the city. Wonder if they didn’t give him a script, and just let him make any decision he chose. I’ve been bummed out lately by some overwritten movies with predictable story arcs, so I’m not sure this is a complaint. Cinema Scope on the movie’s weirdness, not specifically on Udo Kier:

If Bacurau is a genre film, it’s one whose tension relies most on the fact that genre can no longer be relied upon. The unpredictability of these genre shifts is only amplified by the same reversals in tone or perspective already discernible from the beginning, which become increasingly jarring as the film progresses, producing an off-kilter, anything-goes atmosphere that is still careful to stop just short of the incoherent or the arbitrary.

The town doctor is Sônia Braga, lead of Aquarius, and the woman returning to town in the beginning was also in Aquarius playing Sônia’s character in flashbacks. The hunter who gets shot by Udo for calling him a nazi was in Support the Girls. Udo Kier is of course best known for Puppet Master 12: The Littlest Reich.

Turned this off halfway through and continued a couple days later, but I thought about abandoning the movie because I knew how it was going to end up, and wasn’t relishing the idea. We’re following Clara (Sonia Braga of Moon Over Parador, Kiss of the Spider Woman) who lives in a nice seaside condo, has lived there forever, full of memories and good records, hanging out with friends and family. But the building has new ownership, and every tenant except Clara has sold and moved out, and the realty company is starting to act funny, and vague threats are being floated by the underhanded old developer Geraldo and his young project head (and grandson) Diego. As vibrant and well-liked a person as she is, Clara is not gonna be able to stand up to a determined developer with a seaside property – we’ve got another Leviathan on our hands. So imagine my surprise.

Flashbacks to 1980, starting with the birthday of an aunt, establishing Clara as a cancer survivor and a Queen fan, back when her husband was alive – now in her sixties minus the husband and one breast, the movie still manages to have plenty of sex scenes. Anyway, she talks to people who work with the development company, gets help from her lifeguard friend Roberval (Irandhir Santos, star of Neighbouring Sounds), digs up a scandal with help from her lawyer, finds the termite nest they’ve planted in her building and brings it, along with the paperwork/evidence, to their office, suddenly reminding me that the Cinema Scope article on this movie was titled “Termite Art.”

Barry Lyndon:

“People like you who took a business course but lack basic human decency, who have no character … no, I mean, you do have character; your character is money. Therefore, honey, you have no character.” It’s like a superhero movie, establishing a lead character on the side of good, gradually introducing her support team, then uniting against evil at the end.

With Roberval in the termite apartments:

Strike Team: niece/lawyer, nephew, brother

R. Koehler:

All of his narrative films, short or long, entail examinations of life in various urban spaces in his beloved coastal city of Recife, in the northern Brazilian state of Pernambuco. These spaces, sometimes simply street corners, sometimes — as in his extraordinary 2012 feature debut, Neighboring Sounds — city blocks, develop into zones of competing sources of power through the course of patiently crafted narratives … Even more than in Neighboring Sounds, Aquarius contains a keen sense of history, and how the fundamental questions of identity and personal physical space can tie together memory and objects, music and the body, and how family itself is a living embodiment of history.

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.

A. Cutler:

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.