The Famous and the Dead – Original title: Os Famosos e os Duendes da Morte (2009)
Directed by: Esmir Filho
Before the movie itself, I’d like to have a very brief introduction to Brazilian movies. One of its main attributes is that most of them deal with social themes and political criticism. You can see that even in the comedies. The movies may differ from each other, but there’s always this little hint: governmental critique.
Cinema of Brazil has been very popular in the country for many decades. In the 30’s and 40’s were released amazing silent movies. The “Cinema Novo” (French Nouvelle Vague) presented us with masterpieces such as “Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol” and directors as Cacá Diegues, Glauber Rocha and Nelson Pereira dos Santos. This period ended in 1964, when a Military coup d’état took place in Brazil. Many intellectuals had to leave the country.
In the ending of the 60’s and 70’s Brazil’s Cinema was filled for the most part with B-Movies and “Pornochanchadas”, which were mainly erotic comedies. As the nation was under a dictatorship, it was better for the government to have “empty” movies with no political content whatsoever. This cycle ceased in the 1980’s with the arrival of American pornographic movies in the national market. But not all was about B-Films, “Toda Nudez será Castigada”, “Bye Bye Brasil” and “Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands”, considered classics, were produced in the 1970’s.
As mentioned before, the arrival of foreign movies was one of the reasons why in 1980’s and the 1990’s Brazilian cinema industry faced a tremendous downfall (even though some marvelous movies were released, such as “Pixote” and “Memórias do Cárcere”) and only in circa 1995 with the “Retomada” (a movement to re-boost the industry) Brazilian cinema gradually became popular again. Films such as “Carlota Joaquina – Princess of Brazil”and “O Quatrilho” are some of the films which helped the popularization. After that we have “Central Station”, “City of God”, “Carandiru”, “Behind the Sun” and talented directors like Walter Salles and Fernando Meirelles.
Nowadays Brazil has a very interesting movie industry. Well made movies, stylish and acclaimed by the audience and critics, it has not only survived, but is here to stay. Not only in Brazil, but also in Argentina and Chile we have fascinating movies that are highly recommended. The film I’m suggesting is an example of this.
“The Famous and the Dead” is a beautiful movie with astonishing scenery. It shows a part of Brazil not many foreigners know about it. It is actually the region I live. Usually we see Rio de Janeiro or people talking about the Amazon Forest, but what most of us forget is that Brazil is a continental country.
Here we have a small review from IMDB: “I saw this film at Valdivia’s Film Festival last week and I loved it. I also met Esmir, he was a really cool guy, very enthusiastic and soulful and talented as well, and you can see all that in this film. It’s a great movie, very well directed, superb acting, beautiful photography and perfect choice of music. It portrays a very surreal and psychedelic reality full of depth and emotion. It reminded me of “C.R.A.Z.Y.” but this film has its own universe and pace, and it drags you I just wished it had ran a bit longer than 101 min, because I really wanted more, but at the same time I think it works perfectly.” (Adapted).
Michuk from filmaster summarizes: “What’s crucial, the cinematography and the music serve a purpose: they help us understand the boy, get closer to his fears, his dreams, his emotional side. In his own world, desperation borders with hope, his attitude changes within seconds, triggered by virtually insignificant impulses. This ever-changing mood affects the viewer, even if – as it was in my case – it’s hard to identify with the protagonist. (…)What’s also worth noticing is the narration. The film consists of two main stories: a down to earth story of a teenager with problems and a mystical one, where the videos of a mysterious couple published in an online sharing service intermingle with real life. Thanks to the able editing and direction, it all eventually merges into one story which we can interpret both literally and metaphorically.”
This is a different film. It’s simply alluring. And also, internet is one of the approached themes. “The Famous and the Dead” has it all to be truly appreciated by you. Oh, and by the way, this is also another suggestion I’m typing and compiling after many hours of work and no resting (when I rest, I’m SURE I’ll fall asleep, hehe), so, once again, please forgive the mistakes. And enjoy the movie (s) :).