Feature – Brazil, Germany, Spain / UK Première
Clarissa Campolina, Helvécio Marins Jr. / Brazil/Germany/Spain / 2011 / 90 min
We can often forget how much of a privilege mortality is. Tony Nicklinson’s recent news story serves as a reminder to value choices regarding both life and death, a similarly buoyant case made here in Clarissa Campolina and Helvécio Marins Jr.’s docu-drama about life in rural Brazil. After her 82-year-old husband passes, rather than wallow in remorse, widow Bastú decides to embrace the simple satisfactions of living. Through socialising with her granddaughter, extended family and friends, her upbeat attitude towards life reaches into the community.
The simplicity of this film is both its strongest and weakest attribute. The village’s minimalist (compared to Western standards) lifestyle magnifies the action of Bastú celebrating her existence – being thankful for the little she has. Unfortunately, the rusticity of the location is sometimes a little tedious to shoot, as the sluggish plot slowly plods on. If the bewitching setting was better exploited, some stylised camera work employed or a more engrossing soundtrack provided, this film wouldn’t feel slightly lacking. However, a real sense of unbridled joy at being alive is caught, largely due to Bastú’s cracked face which is frequently underscored by her deep and full-smiling cackle. While there are moments of monotony, Campolina and Marins Jr. have created a warm and impassioned call to leave behind our malice and immerse ourselves in today.
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