A bleak drama about street children abandoned by the Portuguese juvenile system, Os Mutantes / The Mutants was immediately controversial in Portugal, where it inspired nationwide debate over reform of the nation’s youth authorities. Os Mutantes examines the lives of Pedro, Ricardo and Andreia, three kids in their early teens who have rejected life in juvenile homes or with foster families to take their chances on their own. They drift into petty crime and are exploited by sexual predators; the two boys end up working in a pornographic film, while Andreia becomes pregnant. When Andreia turns to her mother for help, the mother turns her away, telling her she can barely support herself, let alone a new baby. Os Mutantes was filmed with a largely non-professional cast; director Teresa Villaverde had originally planned to make a documentary about homeless children, but when government authorities refused to cooperate, she used her research as the basis for this screenplay, giving many of the children she met in her travels roles in the film.
Born in Lisbon in 1966, Teresa Villaverde is one of the leading directors of the young generation of Portuguese cinema of the 90s. Her first film, Idade Maior, received its world premiere at the International Forum of Young Cinema at the 1989 Berlin Film Festival and won prizes in other major festivals. Three years later, Maria de Medeiros won the Best Actress Prize at the Venice Film Festival for her performance in Tres Irmaos. The screening of Os Mutantes in Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival brought her work greater international recognition. The film was a critical and commercial success in Portugal. Agua e sal, her next film, was shown at the Venice Film Festival. Since her last film, Villaverde has made a documentary, A Favor da claridade, and a short, Cold Wa(te)r, for the Visions of Europe project coordinated by Zentropa. Transe is her fifth film. —quinzaine-realisateurs.com
A natureza do abandono nua, violenta, crua. O retrato das dificuldades. O retrado do não se ser nada. O retrato do não se ter nada. O argumento com a força que tem é suportado por uma força ainda maior vinda das prestações dos actores. Os sentimentos de incerteza e revolta versus agradecimento presentes em nós no final são correctos? Pronto.