Boca-2Bdo-2BLixo-2B-25282010-2529-2Bposter


MUSCLING IN

Boca is a period gangster film, a look at the life of Sao Paulo’s godfather Hiroito during his heyday of the 1950s and 1960s, that’s just hit Blu-ray and DVD. The movie is based on the real-life Hiroito’s biography. Daniel de Oliveira plays the title role and we watch his rise from a young boy obsessed with prostitutes in the city’s red light district to a major player on its streets, dealing drugs, running hookers and building up quite a fearsome reputation in his own right. His is a life of violence, as he is accused of murdering his father, and he quickly becomes alienated from his family, as he is drawn to the demi-monde of the city. Director Flavio Frederico recreates the world of 1950s and 1960s Sao Paulo with some skill and panache and the setting definitely has a very different feel to it, marking it out from American films dealing with a similar subject. Also, the South American cast exude a kind of cool on screen that a US cast would be hard-pressed to match here. De Oliveira is suitably charismatic as the main protagonist, making a credible kingpin. He is also able to carry off the scenes where he has to come across as a ruthless psychopath. Hermila Guedes, who plays his prostitute wife Alaide, performs well on screen and acquits herself admirably. My own quibble, and this is a minor one, is that the 90 minute running time is far too short, as it’s such a rich subject that it seems that it could have supported more. Brazil is already a major player in foreign language movies with films like City of God and Central Station: Boca is a stylish and exciting gangster biopic, a worthy addition to the country’s modern cinematic heritage…

360-movie-image-anthony-hopkins-01


LONDON CALLING 2011 PART ONE

The London Film Festival is in full swing and, as with every year, I have been cherry picking the odd film that appeals to me. The first film I caught was 360, directed by Brazilian Fernando Meireilles (City of God, The Constant Gardener). It’s a drama in a similar vein to something like Babel: we see a number of stories and protagonists in cities around the world (Vienna, London, Bratislava, Paris, Rio and Denver) and, as the film progresses, we see the connections made between the seemingly-disconnected cast of characters. Screenwriter Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/ Nixon) has also admitted that it owes something to Arthur Schnitzler’s La Ronde. 360 does have a lot of central characters (from English businessman played by Jude Law to prostitute Mirkha (Lucia Siposova), Anthony Hopkins as the man searching for his lost daughter and Valentina (Dinara Drukarova), the wife of Russian thug Sergei) but unlike Contagion, this film is finely balanced so Meireilles and the excellent ensemble cast have the opportunity to give 360‘s creations enough life so that the viewer can get caught up in their world. Even Jude Law isn’t half-bad here. Come back for another LFF review, this time of The Descendants directed by Alexander Payne with George Clooney…