Thursday, April 8, 2010
Love is All We Need *1/2
Director: Jorge Durán
Cast: Cauã Reymond, Ângelo Antônio, Fabiula Nascimento
Simone Spoladore, Victor Navega Motta
Love is All We Need (Não se pode viver sem amor) is the third film by Chilean writer/director Jorge Durán. Set in Rio de Janeiro during Christmas Eve, it follows multiple characters as they reach collective epiphanies revolving around love of course.
Young Gabriel (Motta) and Roseli (Spoladore) arrive to the city looking for the boy's father, unemployed lawyer Joao (Reymond) decides to try the criminal way in order to get enough money to elope with his girlfriend Gilda (Nascimento), while university professor Pedro (Antônio) wonders where his future will take him.
To say that the film's opening credits (a Saul Bass-y stars and jazz stunner of an opener) are much more interesting than anything that comes later, might be a disservice to anyone who worked in the film but becomes quite accurate when the movie reaches its climax.
Durán focuses on forcing the connections instead of letting them grow organically and all the characters seem to know they're predestined to know each other and learn something valuable.
It doesn't help that each of their stories isn't never that interesting to begin with and we might create assumptions of our own to make the whole thing matter more.
Therefore as Gabriel travels around the city looking for his dad we begin to assume he might be connected to Gilda-the stripper with a secret-in the end of course they are, but not in conventional ways.
The characters' motivations are never clear and the actors end up giving extreme performances that hurt the film's theme of unity (Reymond and Antônio are all about restraint, Nascimento is extreme theatrical and Motta intends well but suffers because of the ridiculous twists his character endures).
Durán chooses to end his film with a moment that should recall magical realism but comes off as a tacky deus ex machina complete with the ugliest looking visual effects ever.
If the director was trying to unite the rawness of digital film (in honestly most of the film has the texture and look of a soap opera) with the richness of Brazil's culture, the result is often more confusing, dull and shallow than magical.