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Critics reviews
Bacurau
The dialogue in this socialist western is worthy of Cinema Novo and spaghetti westerns: “A man is judged by the bad he does, not the good”; “Whores vote too”; “We have taken a powerful psychotropic drug and you are going to die.”
July 02, 2020
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Altering the context of their sources, Filho and Dornelles demonstrate the remarkable power that remains in well-worn genre tropes when employed with force and intelligence.
March 13, 2020
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It’s broader in scope and crazier in its ambitions [than Mendonca’s previous films]— an expansiveness signaled by the fact that Mendonça Filho shares writing and directing duties with his invaluable production designer, Juliano Dornelles.
March 12, 2020
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An ingenious mashup of American westerns and the satirical and political work that swept Brazilian cinema in the 1960s, by the likes of Glauber Rocha and Nelson Pereira dos Santos.
March 06, 2020
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“Bacurau” never wastes a chance to leave a mark on its audience. Whether the camera is taking in the beautiful steppes of the area or witnessing a battle of the wills between Braga and Kier, the viewer is always meant to be entertained and thinking. The movie is potent with rage from end-to-end.
March 06, 2020
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The stakes and traps here play out through terse cycles of violence and irrationality, jolts of displacement, rebellion and retribution. Bacurau’s a work that feels like you could excavate, or wander through, forever.
March 06, 2020
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An exhilarating fusion of high and low, the movie takes a shopworn premise — townsfolk facing a violent threat — and bats it around until it all goes ka-boom. Part of what’s exciting is how the filmmakers marshal genre in the service of their ideas, using film form to deflect, tease and surprise.
March 05, 2020
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The film is a superb example of cinema’s unique ability to familiarize an audience with a medley of captivating faces over the course of two hours, from leading stars to background extras.
March 04, 2020
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Bacurau is a fable of populist revenge, all the way down the line, and it will work for you or not depending on how you respond to that level of it.
December 24, 2019
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Motivations remain obscure, and the symbolism is by turns blunt and murky, but this dystopian vision is all the more unnerving for its relative opacity—far from a one-to-one political allegory, Bacurau is a work of powerfully inchoate despair and rage.
May 31, 2019
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If there is deliberate ugliness in Bacurau, it comes mostly from the invaders’ vicious assault. Yet there is also staggering beauty in the place.
May 21, 2019
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Bacurau’s violence is a combination of fear and absurdity. The situation it creates is patently ridiculous and makes this silliness obvious—yet its results, seen in the gruesome bloodshed, is no less affecting. It is satire and terror in one, an ungainly mix that may not fully work, but I’m not sure it has to. It just has to communicate that something is very, very wrong.
May 17, 2019
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Although many of the finer points were lost on me–the narrative is charged with a wealth of cultural allusions and historical references unlikely to be picked up on by non-Brazilian viewers–this lack of context didn’t at all diminish my enjoyment of the film. In fact, it only fed into the confusion that is essential to the narrative’s construction.
May 17, 2019
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To an outsider such as myself, only familiar with Brazil’s more recent upheavals and unrest, the film’s national portraiture is marked by both trenchant specificity and broad-stroked impressionism—its anger and urgency rising most clearly from the ashes of its otherworldly characters, genre signals (namely the western, but also sci-fi), and savage, often ferocious imagery.
May 17, 2019
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What Bacurau certainly doesn’t correspond to is expectations about the cinema of Mendonça Filho, the better known of its two directors. In my view, that’s partly where Bacurau disappoints—but also where it provides some intriguing surprises.
May 17, 2019
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Just like Lee Chang-dong’s Burning at last year’s Cannes, Bacurau bristles with anxiety and menace. And Mendonça Filho keeps the real enemy tantalisingly out of focus. This is more a treatise on exploitation and who matters and who’s disposable in contemporary Brazil.
May 17, 2019
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