Film Fest Friday: Cinema, Aspirins, and Vultures


This is maybe the only Brazilian movie I’ve ever seen, and it’s one of the coolest movies I’ve seen in a long time. I watch so many movies, and I get so fed up with the lack of interest in film as art. That sounds pretty snobby, and I’m not saying I want to see all art films, all the time. It’s just that as a medium, there’s so much that can be done with film that most filmmakers don’t do. This movie has little dialogue — it’s more about the quietness, the light (and the dark), the landscape, the angles, the people in the background. I just loved it. (I’m not the only one — it’s won 28 awards in the last three years since it came out.)

Loved how the country has a starring role, alongside the main characters. I know it’s special to me having spent time in Brazil, but it’s just a really beautiful movie. This was the most Brazilian Portuguese (different from European Portuguese like British vs. American English) that I’d heard spoken in one sitting in years, and it reminded me how much I like the sound of it. What a unique, pleasing language. I’m inspired to get out the Rosetta Stone again.

Here is a synopsis from IMDB, although you just have to watch it to really appreciate it:

“In 1942, the lonely German Johann travels through the arid roads in the country of the Northeast of Brazil in his truck selling aspirins in small villages, using advertisement movies to promote the medicine. He meets the drifter Ranulpho, who intends to go to Rio de Janeiro seeking a better life, and gives a ride to the man. While traveling together, they develop a close friendship, but on 31 August 1942, Brazil declares war to Germany and Johann has to decide if he should return to his home country and fight in the war, or stay in Brazil in a concentration camp; but the option of moving to Amazonas with the migrants of the drought seems to be feasible.”

And here is a really good NY Times article on the film.


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