Review: ‘Encontros Imperfeitos’

Also with: Nicolau Breyner, Joao Perry, Joao Grosso, Maria Joao Luis, Fernando Curado Ribeiro, Chica Xavier, Canto e Castro, Fernando Heitor, Cecilia Guimaraes, Laurent Moine, Jose Laplaine.

Also with: Nicolau Breyner, Joao Perry, Joao Grosso, Maria Joao Luis, Fernando Curado Ribeiro, Chica Xavier, Canto e Castro, Fernando Heitor, Cecilia Guimaraes, Laurent Moine, Jose Laplaine.

For his first fictional feature, documentary helmer Jorge Marecos Duarte has attempted to construct a smart thriller that combines action and psychological twists and turns, but “Light Trap” doesn’t deliver on either count. The leaden pacing and somewhat confused plot ensure that this Portuguese pic won’t garner a wide audience.

Mario (Diogo Infante) has been involved in a bloody terrorist attack somewhere in Africa — though like much in this movie, it’s never made clear exactly what these terrorists were up to — and, at the start of the film, he is hiding out in rural Portugal. Various villains are searching for Mario, but he seems more concerned with finding his old girlfriend Alice (Fatima Belo) than eluding the bad guys.

The film turns from a thriller into the tale of a jealous love triangle halfway through, when Mario meets the mysterious, sexy Matilde (Paula Guedes), whose sports car happens to break down near Mario’s hideaway. The action virtually grinds to a halt at this point, as the brooding, intense-looking Mario tries to enlist Matilde in his search for Alice.

It sounds convoluted — and it is. Drama hinges on a much-talked-about incident in which Alice and Mario failed to meet after the terrorist incident, but, again, the script doesn’t explain why this is such a big deal. The only sparks come from the sultry Guedes, who lights up the screen with her passionately jealous performance.

Wagner Tiso’s score tends to the overly dramatic. Edgar Moura’s shots of rural Portugal are more haunting and evocative than anything else in the film.

Encontros Imperfeitos

(PORTUGUESE)

Production

An S.P. Filmes production. (International sales: S.P. Filmes, Lisbon.) Executive producer, Pedro Correia Martins. Directed by Jorge Marecos Duarte. Screenplay, Doc Comparato.

Crew

Camera (color), Edgar Moura; editor, Jose Manuel Lopes; music, Wagner Tiso; sound, Vasco Pimentel. Reviewed at World Film Festival, Montreal, Aug. 28, 1993. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Mario ... Diogo Infante Matilde ... Paula Guedes Alice ... Fatima Belo
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