Four short stories by renowned Brazilian scribe Joao Guimaraes Rosa spring to life in “Other Stories,” a pleasantly modernist directing bow by Pedro Bial. Eerie, unexpected and affecting by turns, the imaginative storytelling succumbs a bit too often to literary dialogue and voiceover, but characters come across strongly in sunburnt tropical images imbued with a sense of place (the Minas Gerais countryside). This is a good festival pick for Brazilian flavor.
In a curious opener, a goodhearted fellow kills a fearsome outlaw (Caca Carvalho) in self-defense, with about the same dire consequences as when Dorothy killed the wicked witch. Next seg shows what happens when a bereaved landowner decides to give his land to peasants. A young farmer’s love for his Cinderella servant (Giulia Gam), dusted head to foot in white tapioca, proves romantic but alarming. In a surreal close, the living and the dead turn up at the train station to watch a sad butcher pack his mad daughter and mother off to an asylum. Joining thread of these understated tales might be human solidarity in misfortune. Carvalho and Gam are specifically credited with co-directing the quietly strong cast.