Clara, a 65 year old widow and retired music critic, was born into a wealthy and traditional family in Recife, Brazil. She is the last resident of the Aquarius, an original two-story ...
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While both participating in a production of "Death of a Salesman," a teacher's wife is assaulted in her new home, which leaves him determined to find the perpetrator over his wife's traumatized objections.
Clara, a 65 year old widow and retired music critic, was born into a wealthy and traditional family in Recife, Brazil. She is the last resident of the Aquarius, an original two-story building, built in the 1940s, in the upper-class, seaside Boa Viagem Avenue, Recife. All the neighboring apartments have already been acquired by a company which has other plans for that plot. Clara has pledged to only leave her place upon her death, and will engage in a cold war of sorts with the company. This tension both disturbs Clara and gives her that edge on her daily routine. It also gets her thinking about her loved ones, her past and her future.
Aquarius was again embroiled in controversy after critic Marcos Petrucelli, who was part of the special selection committee in charge of choosing Brazil's submission for the 2017's foreign-language Oscar race, made biased remarks on social media about director Kleber Mendonça Filho's politics - which was viewed as an attempt to keep the film from potentially representing the country at the ceremony. This resulted in an outrage where some resigned from the selection committee and directors withdrew their films from the submission process in protest to local politics interfering with the ability to fairly choose its candidate, such as Gabriel Mascaro (Boi Neon (2015)), Anna Muylaert (Mãe Só Há Uma (2016)) and Aly Muritiba (Para Minha Amada Morta (2015)). Brazil's Ministry of Culture remained silent about the matter and shortly after, the still unseen Pequeno Segredo (2016) was officially announced as the country submission to the 2017 Oscars, chosen among 16 other candidates. See more »
When Clara, who is annoyed by the noise from a party in the apartment above, decides to listen to a vinyl record, she picks up Queen's 1978 album "Jazz" and plays the first track, "Fat Bottomed Girls". But the version we hear is the shorter version of the son, released only as a single and in the 1981 compilation "Greatest Hits", and not the longer version of the song from the 1978 album that is visibly spinning in the turntable. See more »
I survived cancer. More than 30 years ago, you know? And these days I've been thinking about something. I'd rather give you cancer than having it myself.
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Ignoring all the political controversy surrounding this movie, what remains is a fantastic story.
It is sad that a powerful movie like this is contaminated by political ideology from both sides. Although I don't necessarily agree with any of the positions brought forth by the makers of this movie, this is still a fantastic piece of art, a fantastic story about the struggles of a middle-aged woman against not only a very real real estate speculation movement in Brazil, but also against her past, the upper-middle class blame, the old age labels, her family, all directed by probably the greatest living director of Brazil today.
From IMDb synopsis, Clara, a 65-year-old upper-middle class mother of 3 children, refuses to sell her apartment, the last still occupied, to a big real estate company, built in the upper class, seaside Boa Viagem Avenue, Recife. Pledging to only leave her place upon her death, her building is probably the last remnant of a not so long ago past. Facing this conflict ahead mostly by herself, she will reflect upon her past and future and give her new strength.
Although the story can seem to be a bit clichéd, the movie excels in representing a middle-aged woman in an unique and independent way, something rarely seen in movies, where usually these characters are simply secondary, caricatures. There will be no big reveals and big turns, it is a mostly linear story (quite different from Kleber Mendonça Filho last movie, "O Som ao Redor", also critically acclaimed). But the way the director tells the story is what is so great. With a technique so sharp, he creates tension throughout the whole movie in ordinary situations (his trademark, an influence from John Carpenter), like in the scene where Clara and the real estate manager are simply maneuvering cars in the building's garage. This tension is what carries the whole movie, until the powerful ending.
In addition, the greater part of the movie has no actual direct connection to the its apparent central plot. Clara attending parties, talking to the lifesaver, walking with her nephew, having family meeting is what fleshes out her character, telling so much about her personality and her past indirectly, and this is the film's greatest strength. The moment she has with her 3 kids is maybe one of the greatest scenes in Brazilian cinema.
Forget all the political ideology. Watch it for what this movie really is, a powerful, fantastic piece of art.
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