Set in a small town in Pará in the heart of the Amazon, Cauby makes a living as a photographer. Soon he'll befriend pastor Ernani's attractive wife Lavínia and embark on an affair - a good portion of the film is dedicated to their passionate relationship. We will also learn of Lavínia's baggage from her past - how she met her husband, her continuing love for him, and his supportive role. But when rumours of her affair with Cauby circulate, the conservative community do not look at it kindly, leading to tragedy, and their lives will never be the same afterwards...
Firstly, this film is peculiar in that it made me feel like a foreigner looking at it from the outside. Despite the fact that they're indeed foreign to me in reality, I couldn't help feeling a disconnect with the locals even at a human level. I suspect this might just as well be what the directors want us to feel - that we alongside the protagonists are nothing but foreigners in an ancient, altogether different Brazil. Where anyone from outside their town is considered a foreigner. Even the cinematography seems to offer this clue - its use of saturated colours and filters in some scenes make the landscape look almost alien. But having said that, visible beneath the protective layer is also the unmistakeable magic and sensuality of the land. As is the relationship between Cauby and Lavínia, respectively played by Gustavo Machado and the breathtakingly beautiful Camila Pitanga - her convincing performance is a revelation. Her filmography points to a predominantly TV actress - a talented TV actress she must be. The screenplay is decent enough, even though I couldn't help wondering if portions of it may have ended up on the cutting room floor - a common problem when films tell a story like this one. The star of the film, of course along with the enchanting Ms. Pitanga however has to be the exquisite soundtrack - thoroughly invigorating and one that I instantly fell in love with. Needless to say, this film is Recommended Viewing..!
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A milestone for this blogger:
With this post, I'd finally taken the plunge, possibly unaware of its depth, into Portuguese cinema. I'd been hoping to ease-in with films that I'm already well aware of, but this one was simply irresistible. I hope it wasn't a hasty move as there are several masters I haven't even touched so far in the blog - Luis Buñuel and Federico Fellini only being the more obvious ones..!
Livea Amazonas, Gustavo Machado, Zecarlos Machado, and Camila Pitanga
- Not for the first time has a Brazilian film started with a nude scene - we're led to assume this is a beautiful indigenous model posing for Cauby, and the model is played by Livea Amazonas.
- No nudity, but a fascinating first-time photo-shoot with Lavínia. Lavínia is played by the gorgeous Camila Pitanga.
- It leads to a love-making scene between Lavínia and Cauby, played by a handsome Gustavo Machado.
- Lavínia and Cauby have an 'Indian' body-painting party in this beautiful scene.
- Cauby admiring some of the images he'd taken of Lavínia.
- Long scene, cut short - Lavínia gives Cauby a present on condition that he breaks it open only when he is utterly desperate. He later enquires about her husband, and wonders how he's like 'in bed'. She replies with a cryptic, "it's different"...
- A flashback scene of Lavínia with future husband Ernani - she narrates a terrible episode from her childhood, the time she lost her virginity to her mother's boyfriend.
- Ernani and Lavínia become lovers. Ernani is played by Zecarlos Machado.
- A scene, possibly a flashback, of Lavínia and Cauby by the river.