TIFF 2016 Movie Review: AQUARIUS (Brazil/France 2016) ****

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2016. Go to TIFF 2016 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

aquarius_posterAQUARIUS (Brazil/France 2016) ****
Directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho

Starring: Sonia Braga, Maeve Jinkings, Julia Bernat

Review by Gilbert Seah

Filho’s AQUARIUS is again set in Recife, the seaside neighbourhood that he made famous in his last film NEIGHBOURING SOUNDS.

Though that one was mainly set at night, AQUARIUS is mainly shot in bright sunlight for most of the scenes. AQUARIUS focuses on an individual: Clara (ex-Brazilian sex symbol, who still maintains her looks, Sônia Braga), a retired music critic and the sole tenant of an older apartment block being bought up by ruthless condo developers.

After surviving a bout of cancer and the loss of her beloved husband, Clara is hardly about to let herself be bullied by the “generous” offers or insidious charms of Diego (Humberto Carrão), the American-educated scion of a powerful local real-estate firm. Diego tries everything in his power to force Clara out of her home, including (hilariously, but not for Clara) hosting a noisy orgy in the suite above Clara’s — one that leaves a putrid mess in its wake. The second half of the film is how Clara fights back. Filho builds up the suspense right up to the climatic confrontation.

The film also reveals the class system, prejudices and culture of the Brazilian society.

Clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bBcLImYBgQ

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