This is the third anthology in a series (with a further two in the works) that takes an affectionate look at the one of the world’s major cities with an omnibus of short movies. Like the previous two ….Paris and New York … the movie is overloaded with cinematic talent that includes some of the very best international filmmakers and actors alike. However in this instance that is actually more of a disadvantage as all their efforts combined together result in a rather muddled and convoluted and somewhat frustrating movie.
Of the 10 vignettes of life in Brazil’s second largest city, there are three that really shine. The first is called Mrs Nobody and stars the great veteran actress Fernanda Montenegro (the only Brazilian to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress). She plays an irrepressible grandmother who has deliberately chosen to live rough on the streets as a homeless person, and she does so with such joy. It is in fact the only segment that even acknowledges poverty, as all the other movies paint a glowing picture of an affluent successful city.
Texas written and directed by Guillermo Arriaga (the Oscar nominated writer for most of Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s older movies) is about a couple who have been badly damaged in a car accident and are then offered a rather immoral deal to pay for the wife’s operation. Starring Jason Isaacs, Land Vieira and Laura Nieva, it’s a rather intriguing tale even though the ending is inconclusive.
Carlos Saldanha the Brazilian filmmaker known mainly for directing animation (he did both the Ice Age & Rio series) tells a story about two ballet dancers (Rodrigo Santoro and Bruna Linzmeyer) whose lives are in a state of flux. He has a brilliant new career opportunity but it means leaving Brazil, and so she insists he goes, but he doesn’t want to leave her. They continue their argument as they perform a pas de deux on stage behind a big white screen so all the audience see are their silhouettes
All of the filmmakers take great advantage of some very dramatic views of this very picturesque city, and there is more than one occasion when you think you are actually watching a travelogue sponsored by the Tourism Bureau, prior to this t-year’s summers Olympic Games.. It does at least divert you from some of the too many worst excesses of bad writing and poor acting ……as in John Turturro WHAT were you thinking? The cloying sentimental soundtrack didn’t help things either.
The first movie in this series was Paris I Love You which was quite well received both critical and commercially, but then the second one on New York had a much more disappointing reception. This new movie will be even less of a success, so maybe it’s time that they called a halt to what was a very good idea at the time. Well, at least on paper.