Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Lázaro Ramos, Marcelia Cartaxo, Flavio Bauraqui, Fellipe Marques, Renata Sorrah
Director: Karim Ainouz
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Music Video & Concerts, Mystery & Suspense
Legendary criminal. Proud homosexual. Cabaret star. Passionate lover. Killer. Devoted father of seven adopted children. Saint?or devil?
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Member Movie Reviews
Robert B. from NEW ORLEANS, LA
Reviewed on 9/7/2010...
Amazing movie about an amazing character!
Eric Anderson | London, United Kingdom | 09/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Karim Ainouz has created a film which shows a section of the late Brazilian Joao Francisco dos Santos's life. Joao was an incredibly fascinating man and his life in many ways paralleled Jean Genet's life. To both these men being a homosexual and criminal were inextricably intertwined. Growing up in the their respective repressive societies they had good reason to feel this way. Joao was born to slaves, never received any formal education and lived much of his life amongst the degenerate and outcast. Periods of his life were spent incarcerated for thievery and violence. He was fully capable of defending himself being an expert kickboxer. However, he also had a strong maternal side having adopted seven children throughout his life. He also had a tremendous flare for performance fashioning himself as a successful drag artist who won multiple competitions and became a kind of cult hero later in his life. This film chose to focus only on his time in the 1930s where he was trying to make the transition from being a thief to a performer. It has been severely criticized for not encompassing many of the other interesting aspects of his life. However, I found this film to be incredibly moving in the way it portrays the intense frustration Joao feels from being outcast from the majority due to his race, class and sexual identity. Even more isolating is that even amongst people to whom he is equal he is abused and vilified. The period of his life that the director focused on beautifully illuminated this conflict. Through Lazaro Ramos's tremendous performance, Joao's emotions erupt in his reactions to how people react to him. Often the camera zooms close onto people's faces and body parts making the experience very personal. We see Joao's emotions change as quickly as his physical appearance. In a short scene he switches from jubilation to anger to despair. Joao was not a kind of martyr or saint. Ainouz portrays a Joao that is given to fits of unexpected violence, insulting and physically beating those closest to him at times. Yet, over the course of his trials I developed a strong sympathy for him because of his drive to survive and fight for what he believed in.The narrative doesn't have a tight focus, but I suspect this is because Joao's life didn?t either. At the beginning of the film he is working part time in a night club for a performer he admires. This job comes to a terrible end. It also shows him turning tricks through a nightclub and stealing from his customers with the help of his close friends and housemates. He meets a beautiful and dangerous man named Renatinho who he labels The Indian Prince. This follows nicely with Joao's obsession with fairy tales and mythology. He hilariously twists the much told tale of the woman he works for to suit him personally. Joao and Renatinho?s relationship is portrayed beautifully, capturing the violence and steamy eroticism of their coupling. The narrative unexpectedly leaps forward after Joao is required to spend a year in jail. After making some devastating discoveries he launches his career as a drag artist to great acclaim. But the angry words of a drunken bigot bring Joao to defend his honor and we realize that he will have to spend many more years in prison before returning to the stage. This film is an amazing work which captures a portion of Joao's most colorful and brave life."
Allison | TN, USA | 03/18/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Madame Satã reminds me a bit of the Marquis de Sade in his daring and open sexuality and steadfastness to what he believes in. And like Sade, he triumphs in the wake of adversity and does what he wants in spite of what others may think.This film is visually and emotionally gripping. A very dark and furious picture of the 1930s bohemian/lower class sector of Rio de Janero. Even though the movie never focuses on the main character's life as Madame Satã (which occurs later in his life) it chooses instead to tell the story of his rise to that point and the hardships he faced (and those around him) as he tried to reach his goal under opressive odds. Some may be turned off by the homosexual element but I believe it's simply an accurate portrayal of the lives of some men during that time and what they had to do to get by.The passion with which Lázaro Ramos performances belies his young 22 years (in the making of featurette he even admits to going through things in the movie he had never dealt with before, simply because he is so young). Even the supporting cast of little known actors and actresses do a wonderful job of making the time and the place all the more believable.If you love challenging films, indie films or films about underground legends, then I would definately recommend this to you."
private__ | Earth | 10/30/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"this movie is visually quite original, with a dark atmosphere that is sometimes glittery, sometimes decadent... the story is interesting, about the downward spiral of an incredibly contradictory main character: a gay man/drag queen from the wrong side of the tracks, who is married and rather violent, but who has a great desire to become a performer and loves the glamorous world of rio's nightclubs... he falls for a very handsome but rough character from the underworld of what appears to be 1930's rio... all of these contradictions within his own personality drive him to self-destruction... the actors are absolutely amazing, especially the one playing the title character, but the movie seems a bit slow and doesn't penetrate as deeply into the main character's mind as much as i had expected... definitely worth seeing, however"