Combustible Celluloid
With: Bárbara Colen, Thomas Aquino, Sonia Braga, Udo Kier
Written by: Juliano Dornelles, Kleber Mendonça Filho
Directed by: Juliano Dornelles, Kleber Mendonça Filho
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: Portuguese and English, with English subtitles
Running Time: 131
Date: 03/27/2020

Bacurau (2020)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Brazil Nuts

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles's strange Bacurau, from Brazil, is available to rent (for $12) through Kino Now's Kino Marquee program, which benefits local theaters. My local theaters, the Roxie Cinema and the Alamo Drafthouse, both offer the film.

Bacurau is supposedly set sometime in the future, as Teresa (Bárbara Colen) returns to her small village of Bacurau for her mother's funeral, driving past an overturned truck and several coffins spilled all over the road.

The woman's mother was the village matriarch, and her death causes sadness among all. The town doctor (Sonia Braga, Kiss of the Spider Woman) gets hysterical and makes a scene during the procession.

Following that, the town seems to have disappeared from the map. Cell phone service has ceased. A corrupt politician, responsible for damming the community's water supply, shows up. A truck full of water arrives riddled with bullet holes. A drone flies overhead.

Then, a group of Americans, led by Michael (Udo Kier), show up, armed, and ready to storm the village.

Kier's presence in anything indicates that we're leaning more toward a cult classic than an Oscar nominee for Best International Film, and Bacurau is definitely weird, a quasi-Western mashed up with psychedelic sci-fi and political satire.

Director Filho (Aquarius, Neighboring Sounds) teams up with his former production designer Dornelles behind the camera, and the result is a long, unwieldy film, and one that likely lose many Western viewers at various points.

At the same time, its lunatic courage and maniac spirit, its striking widescreen colors and composition, and its parade of incredible images makes it very much worth a look.

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