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Terra em Transe (Land in Anguish)

Posted by martinteller on February 2, 2010

An intriguing movie with a lot of problems.  Paulo is a poet/journalist in the fictional country of Eldorado.  He gets behind a series of political figures, but each turns out to be corrupt, phony and/or ineffective.  Like the other Rocha films I’ve seen, it’s good strong black & white cinematography with a playful and idiosyncratic soundtrack.  And like the other Rochas, I found it incredibly difficult to get into.  Most of the time, people speak in grandiose abstractions, without discussing details.  I felt like I lacked a reference point that would help me understand what the hell was going on.  I got the basics of it (eventually) but I could rarely latch on to the specifics.  It’s all so overwrought, especially Paulo, who looked perpetually pissed off.  His motivations are unclear and he makes for a poor protagonist.  The frequent shifts in time didn’t make things any easier, although they were far less problematic than the overall confusion of the narrative.  I kept floundering to find an entry point, waiting for things to coalesce into something meaningful and not quite so vague.  But it never happened.  I was kind of reminded of Resnais and Jodorowsky (an odd pairing, I know) but without much of what makes either of them fascinating.  A technically impressive and very dynamic movie, but one I really struggled with and would not care to visit again.  Rating: 5

IMDb
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