Brazilian film meets critics expectation
CAIRO: Few days before the festival kicked off, critics told The Daily Star Egypt that the star of the international competition is Sergio Rezende s Zuzu Angel. And they were right. The verdict is officially out: Zuzu Angel is, indeed, great.
The film tells the true story of the famous Brazilian fashion designer Angel Zuzu Jones, who lost her revolutionary young son after he was tortured to death at the hands of the military dictatorship that ruled Brazil for 21 years. She too was murdered in her quest to regain her son s corpse.
The film is reminiscent of Costa-Gavras s Missing , starring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek, about an American father who goes to an unidentified South American country in search of his missing son, a journalist.
But while Missing was mainly an intriguing political thriller, Zuzu is an emotional journey of a woman trying to overcome her grief through exposing the atrocities of her government to the world without losing her dignity and pride.
The greatness of the film rested on the magnificent Patrician Pillar s shoulders, a shoe-in for the best actress award. Zuzu was no ordinary woman. Her designs in the 50s and 60s were colorful and delightful, a reflection, perhaps, of a trouble-free life in Rio D Janeiro. In the 70s though, because of her son s tragic death and that of thousands of young men and women the government assassinated, her designs became dark, crammed with bleak crosses, caged children, and tanks with splashes of bloody red.
This transformation from a caring yet self-centered mother to a woman fighting for a cause till she died makes Pillar fascinating to watch. Most of Pillar s emotions are directed inward and in parts of the film, we wonder how Zuzu was ever able to conquer her grief. The truth is, she didn t and being the eccentric person she was, Zuzu never disclosed the magnitude of her sadness to anyone.
The couple of scenes where Zuzu gives the audience a look into her soul, showing them how her loss kept her fighting for years, are among the best cinematic moments of the festival so far.
So far, there are three strong contenders for the Golden Pyramid: Zuzu , Call Me Salome and The Last Gaze. But the race is heating up and so far, Zuzu remains the strongest contender.