Review: ‘Sixteen-Oh-Sixty’

Vittorio Antonio Calloni Eleanor Maite Proenca Benjamin Pedro Brandi Widow Marcelia Cartaxo Jackson Carlos Meceni Jefferson Pierre Bittencourt Washington Fabiano Fabris Wilson Luan Ferreira

Vittorio Antonio Calloni Eleanor Maite Proenca Benjamin Pedro Brandi Widow Marcelia Cartaxo Jackson Carlos Meceni Jefferson Pierre Bittencourt Washington Fabiano Fabris Wilson Luan Ferreira

Agrotesque comedy pitting Brazil’s rich against its poor, “Sixteen-Oh-Sixty” overcomes the poverty of its own $ 180,000 shoestring budget and a rather undisciplined script to paint a sarcastic portrait of a country destroyed by money. More sardonic than funny, “Sixteen-Oh-Sixty” ends up drawing the viewer into its macabre, upside-down world where human life has a value approaching zero. Grungy, revolting characters, spare sets and B&W lensing target this first feature by Vinicius Mainardi and family at the fringe arthouse market, where it could find cult supporters.

Title refers to the 16,060 days that 44-year-old Vittorio (Antonio Calloni) calculates he has lived. A wealthy businessman who runs his company like a prison, the imposing Vittorio lives in a palatial San Paolo villa with spacy wife Eleanor (Rede Globo TV star Maite Proenca) and pudgy, bratty son Benjamin (Pedro Brandi.) When an ill-starred burglar, Jackson (Carlos Meceni), attempts to rob the house one night, he sets off a ferocious chain of events that leads to Vittorio’s ordering him murdered in jail. But the bestial killer strangles the wrong man, Vittorio decides to clear his conscience by offering hospitality to the wretch’s widow (Marcelia Cartaxo) and her three small sons, who live in a [7mfavela.[22;27m

Irony, heavy-handed though it is, energizes almost every scene. The widow is grateful to Vittorio, not knowing he ordered the murder of her husband. Meanwhile, her kids take over the house and wreak havoc. For good measure, she seduces Benjamin.

Helmer Mainardi has more ideas than control over his story, but in the end the pic’s black humor carries the day. The central conceit about how Brazil’s tragically divided social classes switch roles gives the film a sophisticated ambivalence.

Acting against cardboard sets, cast is a little wooden and cartoonish, but that soon blends into pic’s overall style. Calloni plays the selfjustifying businessman with a straight face, while Proenca has a pathetic appeal as his bored, emotionally starved wife. As the unscrupulous mom, Cartaxo descends from a noble line of outrageously obnoxious have-nots, whose high point remains Renoir’s Boudu.

Tyro Mainardi’s long experience shooting commercials has left him with a good grasp of images and effects, like the futuristically empty office building and villa. Brothers in Pictures, which produced, is literally a family endeavor: The director’s brother Diogo came up with the original story idea, wife Betty edited, and mother Julia coproduced. The whole family worked on constructing Andrea Velloso’s imaginatively minimal sets, attractively lit in defiantly “poor” black-and-white by cinematographer Lito Mendes Da Rocha.

Sixteen-Oh-Sixty

(BRAZILIAN)

Production

A Film Master Film release (in Italy) of a Brothers in Pictures Produeoes Artisticas e Eventos production. Produced by Julia Mainardi, Vinicius Mainardi. Co-produced by Paulo Eduardo Ribeiro, Enio Mainardi. Directed by Vinicius Mainardi, Screenplay, Diogo Mainardi.

Crew

Camera (B&W), Lito Mendes da Rocha; editor, Betty Mainardi; music, Hilton Raw; art direction, Andrea Velloso; costumes, Andrea Velloso, Patricia de Simone; sound, Miguel Angelo Costa; associate producers, Sergio Castellani, Carlos Pasini Hansen; line producers, Sara Silveira, Renato Ciasca. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (Window on Images), Sept. 6, 1995. (Also in New York Film Festival.) Running time: 86MIN.
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