Friday, March 24, 2017

Rio, Eu Te Amo

Rio, Eu Te Amo (Rio, I Love You) is an anthology film collecting a series of short films by several of the world’s finest filmmakers about stories of love in the city of Rio de Janeiro. With four segments directed by Brazilian filmmakers Carlos Saldanha, Fernando Meirelles, Jose Padilha, and Andrucha Waddington plus six segments helmed by Guillermo Arriaga, Stephan Elliott, Im Sang-soo, Nadine Labaki, Paolo Sorrentino, and John Turturro as well as transitions directed by Vicente Amorim. The film follows the idea of love through many different people in the city of Rio de Janeiro. The result is a lively and enchanting film all set in the wondrous city of Rio de Janeiro.

In Dona Fulana (directed by Andrucha Waddington and written by Waddington and Mauricio Zacharias), an old homeless woman (Fernanda Montenegro) is roaming around the streets of Rio living her life as she is followed by a young man (Eduardo Sterblitch) as he tries to help her. La Fortuna (written and directed by Paolo Sorrentino) follows a couple (Basil Hoffman and Emily Mortimer) vacationing in Rio where the husband is paralyzed with a stroke while dealing with his spoiled wife who refuses to give him the vices in life that could kill him. In A Musa (directed by Fernando Meirelles and written by Antonio Prata and Chico Mattoso), an artist (Vincent Cassel) makes a sand sculpture as he notices a woman (Debora Nascimento) where he tries to win her love by making a sculpture.

Acho que Estou Apaixonado (written and directed by Stephan Elliott), a popular movie star (Ryan Kwanten) is struck by the wonders of the Sugarloaf Mountain where he and his Brazilian assistant (Marcelo Serrado) climb the mountain as the latter tells him about the legend of the mountain where they meet a beautiful spirit (Bebel Gilberto). In Quando nao ha Mais Amor (written and directed by John Turturro), a couple (John Turturro and Vanessa Paradis) breaks up as they cope with what they had and what got lost. Texas (written and directed by Guillermo Arriaga) is about a one-armed boxer (Land Viera) who is given a chance to help his model wife (Laura Neiva) walk again following an accident where he is offered a proposal by a man (Jason Isaacs) that comes with dire consequences.

In O Vampiro do Rio (written and directed by Im Sang-soo), an old vampire (Tonico Pereira meets a prostitute (Roberta Rodrigues) as he hopes to make her part of a small group of people who live in the city as vampires. Pas de Deux (directed by Carlos Saldanha and written by Elena Soarez) revolves around a ballet couple (Rodrigo Santoro and Bruna Linzmeyer) who perform behind a silhouette curtain for a performance as they quietly bicker about some life-changing decisions. Inutil Paisagem (directed by Jose Paldiha and written by Octavio Leonido) follows a man (Wagner Moura) who flies on a glider over Rio as curses the statue of Christ the Redeemer over his own failed relationship with his ex-wife (Cleo Pires). The final segment in O Milagre (directed by Nadine Labaki and written by Labaki, Rodney El Haddad, and Khaled Mouzanar) has an actor (Harvey Keitel) and an actress (Nadine Labaki) meet a boy (Caua Antunes) at a train station who is waiting from a phone call from Jesus Christ where the actor and actress do something to make that call happen.

The film follows a series of stories about love through ten different segments plus transitional scenes involving characters from those stories as well as a cab driver (Michel Melamed) and his former flame (Claudia Abreu) which is written by Fellipe Barbosa and directed by Vicente Amorim. It all plays into the ideas of love in many ways as it’s all set in the city of Rio de Janeiro where it is a character in the film and many of its landmarks add to its beauty. Though the filmmakers in the film don’t really do anything new to explore more of the city including its slums. It’s more about the city and how it inspires love in many different ways through the eyes of its filmmakers and their own takes on love. Filmmakers such as Stephan Elliott, Andrucha Waddington, Fernando Meirelles, and Nadine Labaki tell stories that are very unconventional as it doesn’t exactly follow the formula of love. Instead, they go for something different in their own definition of love as their segments are the ones that really standout as it also uses the locations and situations to really do something wondrous.

Another segment that is very unconventional is from Im Sang-soo whose idea of vampires living around Rio as they wear sunglasses to protect themselves from the sun is actually a very crafty and fun idea. Especially as they would spend the night dancing around as if it was Carnival where it has something a bit dark but also fun. Jose Paldiha’s segment is the most simple of them all but it’s also kind of controversial considering that its protagonist would make a very obscene gesture towards Christ the Redeemer but it does have a beauty for the fact that it’s shot largely from a glider’s perspective. The rest of the film does kind of play by the rules as far as the conventional ideas of love yet all manage to create stories that are at least engaging. Paolo Sorrentino’s segment is mainly comical while the segments by Guillermo Arriaga and John Turturro are the most dramatic. The segment by Carlos Saldanha is definitely the most beautiful in terms of its presentation as it’s more focused on ballet and music with some rumblings of what is happening behind the scenes between the two dancers.

Visually, the film does follow similar visual palettes in its cinematography though they’re able to give each segment something of its own with Saldanha’s shot largely at night and Meirelles’ segment starting off at night and then into the day where he would have the most technically inventive with its editing both visually and in its sound. Much of the film’s music soundtrack features an array of music from Brazil including the samba and bossa nova with much of its contribution from Gilberto Gil providing the film’s theme music. The film’s phenomenal cast all do some fantastic work with Fernanda Montenegro being the big standout in the titular role of Dona Fulana while Harvey Keitel provides a very kind and sensitive performance as an actor who would help a kid in getting a message from Jesus Christ in the O Milagre segment where Keitel would speak Portuguese for part of the film.

Rio, Eu Te Amo is a marvelous anthology film that features some incredible segments from Fernando Meirelles, Im Sang-soo, Carlos Saldanha, and several others. Along with a great cast, amazing music, and gorgeous images, it’s a film that portrays Rio not just as a place of paradise but also something that is wild and intoxicating from the perspective of its locals to the tourists visiting the city. In the end, Rio, Eu Te Amo is a sensational film that explores all the joys and frustrations of love in Rio de Janeiro.

Related: Paris, Je T'aime - New York, I Love You - (Tbilisi, I Love You)

© thevoid99 2017


Anonymous said...

Wow, some of these sound quite different from others. Cool that they all make up a mosaic of a film in the end. I haven't seen this but will keep my eye out. Great review.

Dell said...

That pic at the top of the page stopped me dead in my tracks. What a great shot that is. Haven't heard of this before, but now I desperately want to see it.

thevoid99 said... you. I don't really understand why the critics were harsh on this film as I was intrigued by the simplicity of the subject matter and enjoyed it. I think it's because I had such low expectations given how terrible New York, I Love You was.

@Wendell-It's a really fun anthology film told with some amazing sketches that are funny but also dramatic. It's definitely worth seeing.