Sunday, August 22, 2010

Walter Salles & Daniela Thomas - O Primeiro Dia AKA Midnight (1998)

The turn of the millennium has a profound effect on residents of Brazil's Rio de Janeiro in MIDNIGHT, a stunningly photographed feature from award-winning directors Daniela Thomas and Walter Salles (CENTRAL STATION, THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES). Fernanda Torres stars as Maria, a teacher for the deaf who becomes utterly dejected when her husband (Carlos Vereza) uses the end of the century as an excuse to leave her. Meanwhile idealistic convict Joao (Luis Carlos Vasconcellos) is sprung by corrupt guards during a "millenium fever"-induced prison riot so he can stalk and kill a fellow convict (Matheus Nachtergaele). Little does Joao know, he is the next one to be hunted. As the colorful, swirling frenzy of Brazilian celebration explodes around them on New Years Eve 1999, suicidal Maria and desperate Joao find themselves flung together by fate atop her sky rise apartment building. Looking out over a beautiful Rio beach lit up with fireworks, they come together in a glorious moment of hope and rebirth. This unique, atmospheric film uses brilliant cinematography by Walter Carvalho to eloquently capture the contrasts of abject poverty and stunning beauty that is the city of Rio. Superb performances and inspired direction make this film one to keep an eye out for.

no pass