Screenplay, Carlos Alberto Ratton, based on the novel “Alves & Cia” by Eca de Queiroz. Camera (color, widescreen), Jose Tadeu Ribeiro; editor, Diana Vasconcelos; music, Tavinho Moura. Reviewed at Puerto Rico Film Festival, Feb. 3 , 1998. Original title: Amor & Cia. Running time: 100 MIN.
With: Marco Nanini, Patricia Pillar, Alexandre Borges, Rogerio Cardoso.
Taken from a classic Brazilian novel that affectionately satirizes the provincial bourgeoisie at the turn of the century, “Love Inc.” is only partly successful in the transition to the bigscreen. Helmer Helvecio Ratton’s third outing follows the ups and downs of a love triangle. A heavy-handed approach to acting, unsubtle dialogue and a consistently fake quality to the production design create an uncomfortable distance from the material. Occasional morbid wit , lavish color schemes and appealing snatches of classical music salvage the enterprise, which might have legs in some Latin American and Iberian venues.
Uptight Alves’ (Marco Nanini) life changes after he finds his beautiful wife, Ludovina (Patricia Pillar), in the arms of his handsome business partner, Machado (Alexandre Borges). Banishing Ludovina to her scheming father’s seaside home, he proposes, in scenes meant to be funny, several odd, morbid forms of dueling to Machado. In a charming scene, Ludovina reveals that she wants to adopt a little boy she grew to love at the beach town. One can surmise some connection between the men and the child, but Ratton wisely avoids clarification. Pic ends on a note of optimism.