Monday, June 5, 2006

Eight is Enough

Me You Them / Eu Tu Eles
(Andrucha Waddington, 2000, Brazil, 104 mins.)


Revised version of a review written when this film was first released on DVD.

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Me You Them may sound hokey, but feels authentic thanks to a non-judgmental screenplay, naturalistic acting, and Emerging Master Andrucha Waddington's patient direction. Little surprise then that this tale of a woman who ends up with three husbands and four sons (each by a different father) is based on a true story. Darlene (Regina Casé) has already had a child out of wedlock when she meets middle-aged homeowner Osias (Lima Duarte), who offers to marry her. Her mother has just passed away and she has nowhere to go, so she agrees. Unfortunately, he turns out to be Brazil's laziest human. Darlene does all the work and has none of the fun...until she meets his sweet cousin, Zezinho (Stênio Garcia), who moves in with them. Then she meets the handsome Ciro (Luís Carlos Vasconcelos).

Waddington doesn't play any of this for laughs. There are moments of gentle humor, but Me You Them, which won the Un Certain Regard Award at Cannes and several Brazilian Academy Awards (including best picture), is a serious-minded film that always treats its characters with respect. If it had been made in America, it's hard to imagine the concept would work as well--if at all--but here the polyandrous relationship is neither idealized nor demonized. Waddington simply shows how this unconventional family came to be. Brazilian legend Gilberto Gil, of Getz/Gilberto fame (the recording that introduced the bossa nova to the US), provides the lovely score.
Pacific Place: 6/17 at 11am.
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Mais Brasilia:
Black Orpheus (Marcel Camus, 1959) at the Neptune on 6/6 at 7:15pm, Lower City (Sergio Machado) at the Harvard Exit on 6/8 at 9pm and 6/13 at 4pm, and House of Sand (Waddington's latest) on 6/16 at Pacific Place at 7pm and 6/17 at 1:15pm.
Also, Seu Jorge (City of God, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, House of Sand) plays Neumo's on 6/22. That's the favela king above, with cat. See you there!

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