Aquarius is the most perfect film I've seen in many years. By most perfect I mean how very tight the film is in terms of language, beats, story - plot, character and metaphor. Everything meshes in the way a jigsaw puzzle does when one puts in the last piece. On the surface the film is unassuming, lacking in pretension. But the more it is looked at, the more a brilliant piece of cinema it reveals itself to be.
Clara, a 70 year old woman in Recifie, the capital of Pernambuco, Brasil, is a breast cancer survivor of over 30 years. She's the single holdout owner of her apartment in a perfectly fine, lovely old building located barely across the highway from the local beach. The developer who has bought the building, cannot commence demolition and building a high rise banal, souless luxury rental - condo until gets Clara out. The means stooped to are horrible, but entirely unexpected. Other unexpected things happen. However, the violent acts the viewers are so trained to expect from USian flix do not take place.
. . . . Do we want a powerful, kick-ass, empowered, empowering, powerful, effective woman of agency in films and television? A woman who lives on her own terms, in whom we can believe? We'll have to go a long way, alas, before finding another Clara. O no, she does not resort to being man with t*ts, carrying a gun and doing martial arts -- she's not even her own age-bracket Helen Mirren kind of kick-ass Hollywood female protagonist. In fact, Clara has only one t*t . . . . So there.
Aquarius's parts work perfectly and beautifully, because this is Brasilian sensibility, and the music is Brasilian. Additionally Sonia Braga remains one of the most beautiful women on the planet and one of the best actors.
If the viewer knows something about current Brazilian politics and business and the horrors of what's happening with the rain forests, the perfection of the final metaphor just shouts out. But it's not necessary to know.
HIGHLY recommended. How good was it? El V watched the whole thing and he never watches movies. He goes with and leaves within 15 minutes almost always.
Nope, we're still not able to do anything today, still dealing with the exhaustion of Friday night catharis of weeks of work for the Symphony Space live reading with multiple voices and music from The American Slave Coast. We're totally passive. I am making pasta though and drinking wine while doing so. Music is Bob Dylan's Tempest, (2012)