Once upon a time there was a war… In the darkness of the night, a young soldier goes AWOL. Tonia, a veteran transsexual in Lisbon’s drag shows, watches the world around her crumble. The competition from younger artists threatens her star status. Under pressure from her young boyfriend Rosário to assume her female identity, the sex change operation that will transform her into a woman, Tonia struggles against her deeply-held religious convictions. If, on the one hand, she wants to be the woman that Rosário so desires, on the other, she knows that before God she can never be that woman. And her son, whom she abandoned when he was a child, now a deserter, comes looking for her. Tonia discovers that she’s ill. To get away from all her troubles she travels to the countryside with Rosário, on the excuse of visiting his brother. Rosário takes the road of his childhood but will never find the right way. Lost, they find themselves in an enchanted forest, a magical world where they come across the enigmatic Maria Bakker and her friend Paula. And that meeting will turn their whole world on its head… —Cannes Film Festival
João Pedro Rodrigues was born in Lisbon in 1966. After studying biology at Lisbon University he attended the Lisbon Film School, where he obtained his diploma. His public film career began at the 54th Venice Festival in 1997 with the short Parabéns!, which won the Special Jury Prize. In the same year he made Esta é a minha casa and Viagem à Expo, a two-part documentary. In 2000 he directed his first fiction feature, O Fantasma, which was screened in the 57th Venice Festival’s Official Competition. In 2005, Odete won several awards including a Cinémas de Recherche Special Mention at the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes. His feature project To Die Like a Man was selected in 2007 by Cinéfondation for L’Atelier in Cannes and was released in 2009. –Locarno Film Festival
Everybody knows how skeptical i am about new Portuguese cinema; so i must say i was pleasantly surprised with 'To Die Like A Man'. As said in a review in Berkeley, SF, there are some scenes that could have been shortened (some are unnecessarily too long, like the one in which Tonia sings with her head against the car's window). With amazing photography and carefully assembled soundtrack. would definitely recommend.
when i saw the scene of Tonia and Rosario at the cemetery (slow camera and rosario singing) and the scene of the magical florest, i just thought "it's the type of cinema i love, it's the type of cinema i want to do"
Sublime tale of a drag queen whose life is consumed with caring for her junkie boyfriend, who wants her to become a woman. Rodrigues directs with long, fluid takes & vibrant color filters that create a singular and oddly enrapturing atmosphere.At its heart it's a celebration of humanity, a probing exploration of self-identity and image, of personal desires vs. expectations, striking a note that is so very, very true.
"A movie out of time and yet distinctly of ours as well, Meek's Cutoff appears in theaters as if in rebuke to our current cinema," begins Elbert
"'In pre-made molds, I don't know how to create myself,' softly sings a character in João Pedro Rodrigues's To Die Like a Man," begins
"My favorite living French actor, André Dussollier, appears prominently in two high-profile films at this year's San Francisco International
I. FESTIVALS AND IDEOLOGY "I cannot tell a lie," writes Jonathan Rosenbaum in the catalogue introduction to the retrospective
It's a funny thing: A viewing experience as engrossing, exhilarating and frequently moving as Portuguese director Rodrigues' latest ought
"In its quest to reconcile the life of imagination and primal desire with the physical realities that close in around us, [João Pedro] Rodrigues
Like Toronto, the New York Film Festival is one for which it's not only possible, but also hopefully helpful to write up an index before