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Motherly Nostalgia & Fatal Sacrifice at Inffinito Film Festival ’23


By Roger Costa


Movies about mothers, their courage, sacrifices and struggle tend to be kept at a special place in the viewer’s memories. Some mothers portrayed in the big screen will live forever as memorable characters who reflect our most precious and most beloved person in the world. Actor turned director Murilo Benicio’s sophomore project is one of those cases. Deeply affecting and personal, Benicio demonstrates progress as a filmmaker, crafting a lovely and relatable dysfunctional family dramedy. Based on a play by Mauro Rasi and conceived as a homage to his late mother, Benicio’s film highest attribute is its leading actress.

His muse is the incredible actress Drica Moraes, who is well-known for her comedic skills, but also carries impressive dramatic tatics. Anchored by her remarkably moving and funny performance, the film paints a nostalgic canvas of Brazil and its pursue for economic stability and personal achievement.

Narrated by the aspiring writer son, kicking off with his memories after learning of his mother’s passing, the film follows a middle-class family from Bauru arriving at their new residence full of hopes and expectations. It looks at how they manage to upgrade the place and maintain their social status and activities in synch with the city’s advances and the country’s political transformations. Despite being narrated by her son, everything is seen through Pearl’s optimistic, lively, emphatic perspectives. Her kindness and vigor serve as a motivational force for everyone in her family, even at her weakest or uncertain moments. While she hosts family gatherings at her backyard, longing for the pool’s construction to be ready, she is a mentor, a source of strength and guidance for her husband and their two very different children. She is also reliable when it comes to assist her sisters, her ailing mother, and an improbable religious son-in-law. The film addresses themes such as acceptance, family bond and prejudice, sexuality and cultural identity in richly accesible manners, without ever offending or making a statement. It simply is touching and entertaining.

Sensitive, accurate and funny, Benicio’s film creates a fascinating, irresistible sense of familiarity and charisma proving maturity and efficiency as a storyteller who is committed to the essentials of the art.

(“Perola”. Screens Friday, September 1st at 9:30pm)


Rustic, mysterious and unpredictable, Carolina Markowicz’s feature debut instantly announces her as a visionary, a natural auteur. The rigid texture of the images, the dark tones and the provocative sociopolitical commentary displayed here are characteristics she elaborates so personally and ambiguously, creating a new narrative aesthetic, all of her own.

Claustrophobic and shocking, the film questions moral issues related to pain, poverty, human suffering, sacrifice, greed and death seen through the experience of a poor family living in the countryside and caring for a very ill elderly. They are offered a sum of money to put their elder member to rest and shelter a foreign druglord, which leads them to confront their natural ambitions and desires.

A neo-western and marvelous execise in suspense fueled by morbid, sinister aesthetic and language, the director plays with the viewer’s imagination, inviting for an unconventional and immersive dark experience into the uncontrollable forces of human ambition. The narrative unfolds like a puzzle, connecting unknown places and dangerous situations (such as the gangsters’ simulating deaths scene) while allowing us to investigate, judge and analyze each character’s secrets, misbehavior and reasons.

One of the best performers in contemporary Brazilian cinema, a real noble star known for her bold choices, Maeve Jinkings leads the fantastic, convincing and scary ensemble cast as the matriarch who just can’t refuse a relief check but who is also not ready for the life-changing consequences. She is terrific and consistent, perfectly absorbing the depths of anxiety, desperation, fear and uneasiness lived by her character.

As complex as it is dark, grim and compelling, Markowicz leaves an impressive mark, establishing herself as an auteur.

(“Carvao”. Screens Saturday, September 2nd at 9:30pm)

(The New York Brazilian Inffinito Film Festival 2023 runs August 25 thru September with In-person screenings at Village East Cinema and other events throughout the city including outdoor free events and music concerts. Go to for details)

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