142 minutes

And now for something completely different: the debut feature of Portuguese director João Nicolau is a deliriously playful oddity, a lively, shapeless homage to classic cinema combining elements of fifties sci-fi and musical comedy, under the guise of a no-budget adventure movie about growing up and facing real life. For most of its rambling, sprawling length, it's a fake pirate movie following the odd adventures of average joe Manuel (Manuel Mesquita), who sets sail with a crew of pirate friends seasoned in the use of the mysterious primeval substance known as plutex, whose awesome powers can destroy the world if fallen in wrong hands. Not that it really matters anyway, because A Espada e a Rosa is mr. Nicolau's stake at harnessing the stuff that dreams are made of to say something about the moment all of us must leave our dreams behind.
Strongly close to the studied casual aloofness of his countryman Miguel Gomes' work (with whom he shares a production company and some of the crew), mr. Nicolau's film throws into the bargain a wider-eyed sense of innocence and a strong touch of cheerful whimsy to invite his audience to come play make-believe with a game cast mainly made up of friends (some of whom without any prior professional experience). The whole is alternately chaotic, disconcerting, endearing and infuriating, occasionally getting lost in its own labyrinth of ideas and trying so hard to be meaningful that it ends up being meaningless. But there's no denying there's obvious talent at work here, even if not entirely harnessed yet; and despite a sense that the loose plot loses steam towards the end, if you're in the right mood, A Espada e a Rosa can be a very enjoyable experience. Mr. Nicolau is definitely a director to keep an eye on.

Starring Manuel Mesquita; Luís Lima Barreto, Nuno Pino Custódio, Pedro Faro, Joana Cunha Ferreira; Hugo Leitão, Mariana Ricardo, Lígia Soares; Alice Contreiras, Tiago Fagulha; Crista Alfaiate, Caroline Deuras, Julie Duclos, João Lobo, Justin Taurand; Helena Carneiro, Sinem Erdogan; Márcia Breia, Pedro Leitão, Armando Nunes; Michael Biberstein, José Mário Branco, Luís Miguel Cintra.
Directed by João Nicolau; produced by Sandro Aguilar, Luís Urbano; written by mr. Nicolau, ms. Ricardo; music by München; director of photography (Tobis), Mário Castanheira; art director, Sílvia Grabowski; costume designer, Vera Midões; film editors, Francisco Moreira, mr. Nicolau.
An O Som e a Fúria/Shellac Sud presentation/production; with the support of Ministério da Cultura/Instituto do Cinema e do Audiovisual, MEDIA Programme of the European Community; with the investment of Fundo de Investimento no Cinema e Audiovisual; with the support of Conseil Général Bouches du Rhône; with the participation of Rádio e Televisão de Portugal, Multimed. (Portuguese distributor and world sales, O Som e a Fúria.)
Screened: private screening in advance of the Venice Film Festival, UCI El Corte Inglés 12 (Lisbon), August 24th 2010. In competition at the Venice Film Festival - Orizzonti sidebar. 

A Espada e a Rosa_Trailer Cinema from o som e a fúria on Vimeo.


Popular Posts