An Intriguing Modern Day Silent Film From Brazil.
Chip Kaufmann | Asheville, N.C. United States | 01/30/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The silent film is alive and well at least outside of the U.S. In the past few years a number of films such as TUVALU from Germany and OF FREAKS AND MEN from Russia utilize many silent film techniques in telling their stories. The 2002 Brazilian film MARGARETTE'S FEAST however is a true silent movie in that not one word is spoken. There are no title cards as well. The film is shot in black and white and features variable speed projection as well as static camerawork in seeking to recreate the world of the silent film even though the setting is contemporary. On the surface it seems like a cross between Chaplin's MODERN TIMES and the social drama Biograph shorts of D.W. Griffith. The story is a simple one. Pedro, an impoverished worker with a large family living in cramped quarters, loses his job at the local car factory. He tries to find another job so he can throw an anniversary party for his wife and himself. While seeking employment he is given a suitcase full of money and proceeds to go on a wild spending spree. Within this simple framework director Renato Falcao' creates an allegorical look at modern day Brazil from the huge gulf separating rich and poor including homeless children and substandard housing to the corruption surrounding the police and organized religion. The entire film is accompanied by contemporary Brazilian music performed by the film's star Hique Gomez. The end result is a fascinating and intriguing mix of the old and the new that pays tribute to the silent films of the past while drawing attention to the many problems of contemporary society. References from the cinema of neorealism to the Soviet avant garde to even Terry Gilliam's BRAZIL are on display here making MARGARETTE'S FEAST a one-of-a-kind cinematic experience that should interest silent film enthusiasts, fans of Third World cinema, and lovers of movies that are out of the ordinary. I mean how often do you read a review of a silent movie made in 2002? Winner of a number of international awards as well."