My 1st JPR - approached warily, given the obvious riffing on 13 Moons... But this is solid; unquestionably the product of a complex & well-developed vision. Exactly the beauty/depth/empathy/awareness combo I'm most drawn to. Characters that aren't so much tragic as frank about the tragedy of it all; quiet fierce full messy unapologetic dignity. Queerness. Nuanced, rich, & genuinely moving. Startling use of music 4.5
Rodriques' film on second watch (after its 2009 festival showing) performs even better now with the director's wit and experimental playfulness shining through. Santos is extraordinary as an aged drag queen who's career and looks are coming to an end. He plays Tonia, a showgirl with a young drug addled boyfriend amongst other problems and health issues and though the film is tragic in nature it is rich in humanity.
Unique and truly skillful storytelling that shifts back and forth between reality, poetry, and incredible surreal drifts with such an ease... It's a mysterious and sensitive journey through relationships, love, and self-discovery. Beautifully shot, backed by strong performances and an interesting soundtrack. One of the most memorable films I watched this year.
El arte es síntesis, pero también transformación. La genialidad de JPR es nunca caer en el género y nunca traicionar el "calvario" de la bellísima Tonia. Una carta de amor al cine, una increíble oda entre el cinema de autor y algo totalmente apto para salas comerciales este film y quienes han invertido su trabajo en "crearla" han logrado crear una pieza inolvidable, humana y universal.
Having loved The Ornithologist this seems only half committed to its fantastical elements - not that it's not full fantasia, replete with experiments in colour and scope, and one blood-moon sequence that could bottle pixies. Rather the melodrama is, at worse, from more staid narratives of ageing impresario's resigning the throne.
A look at what lengths someone may go to in order to erase their past, and also what can cause a turnaround leading to that same past being reclaimed, To Die Like A Man benefits from decent performances and an interesting complexity throughout but suffers from a lack of focus that is reflected in the overlong runtime.
A primeira cena de Morrer Como Um Homem, a cena que norteia a trajetória do filme, na verdade está no fim: o grand finale do velório. É nesta apoteose que tudo se enfeixa, daí as elipses bruscas, a síntese impossível entre um plano sequencial e planos hieráticos, “acabados”, desligados de contextos dramáticos. A Morte e sua potência demiúrgica rasura e recorta o filme inteiro.
3.5 I am really tired of transsexuals being portrayed as tragic, even if it is a good film. It makes the whole film so predictable, and it kinda pisses me off and perpetuates a fucked-up paradigm. Also I watched this film because I liked this screenshot and thought that the synopsis was about this character, but she only has a minor role. This film is actually about white people.
Spoilers à parte - até porque o título diz tudo - o funeral é a cena mais bem conseguida de todo o filme e talvez das mais tenebrosamente bonitas no cinema português. A Irene e a Maria Bakker são dignas de uma caturreira pela tarde a dentro com um bolo de chocolate a acompanhar.
Thanks, MUBI. I'm glad to have gotten to view this. Early on when Jenny is singing "Total Eclipse of the Heart," the line "Once upon a time I was falling in love/But now I'm only falling apart" perfectly encapsulates Tonia's journey in the film. Sadly, the characters and unnecessarily lengthy scenes portrayed excessive bitterness and cruelty, and so I distracted myself by worrying about the fate of the animals.