Concerns the 65-year-old Clara (Sonia Braga), a retired music writer and critic, widowed and alone in the apartment building Aquarius after her three grown children have moved away. Oh, and she’s mastered the gift of time travel.
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[Not Even Ants] Aquarius: a Metronomy song; an astrological sign; a place for fishy fish and now an amazing film that plays homage to women, motherhood, memories, growing old, confronting greedy corporations, loving old bodies (from architecture's to the human body's), cars, beaches, buildings and music. velho vs vintage. Suruba vs Fine wine. Kleber um cineasta de futuro e do futuro.
Filho's film is a marvelous tale of a woman steadfast in her refusal to give up her apartment to urban renewal focusing on the importance of history and memory in our own living spaces. Sonia Braga is simply sublime in the film especially in a scene talking about a physical LP versus digital media which is lost on the person interviewing her. Film became a political hot potato at home.
Digital. "Around" was part of the title of this filmmaker's previous film and this notion is added in this film in the terms of which cinema distinguishes itself: formally. There are constant moments when the camera seeks, perceives, perspective spaces, objects, people, details "around", unrelated to the main plot but a permanent immanence, concomitance of it. They are imponderable glimpses of an omnipresent threat.
I was not at all completely sold on NEIGHBORING SOUNDS and I am not entirely sold on this either. Filho engages, in both films, pretty obvious subjects relating to the urban experience (particularly germane to Brazil, but certainly, and necessarily, universal). As a guy who suffers no love loss for urban gentrification, AQUARIUS doesn't exactly rouse or rile me. Nevertheless, Sonia Braga is utterly magisterial.
Mendonça Filho fights power with power in Aquarius. Memory, space, home, family, gender, class - it's all scrumbled together in this political statement. And how Sonia Braga shines! Her strenght and beauty overflow in her character the whole time. With a very good hand on actor directing, this is an instant brazilian classic. I love how Aquarius gets you from scene one: it's brazilian and global, intense and deep.
Recently I watched films about woman who confronts her aged body. But I'm surprised that this movie is same kind of film and so wonderful. Protagonist cares her body, reflecting history called "life," and that affection is connected with the apartment full of warm memory. Barefeet with red pedicure, lost breast due to cancer, beautiful long brunette...Sonia Braga's physicality reinforces this delicate masterpiece.
Through no fault of its own, Aquarius plays differently in the US. Old-timer conservationist vs. unsentimental developer is such an overused cliche over here that it's fascinating to read about the political subtext that became a flashpoint in Brazil. The film is a love letter to Braga, who's given a rich character, and the film is most successful not in the central drama, but in its look at memory and aging.
Only someone who doesn't know the word Resistance could deslike this movie. Maybe this is a song to brazilian people right now, juts for us. Let's sing it, let's show that we won't fall down, we won't give up, we're going to resist.