Review: ‘Almost Nothing’

Returning to a more intimate and stylish cinema after a string of large-scale historical epics, vet Brazilian helmer Sergio Rezende almost has something with "Almost Nothing," a mysterious, involving, yet ultimately downbeat trilogy of stories that play cumulatively like a neorealist, Portuguese language "Twilight Zone." Prepped for the challenge, fest auds could appreciate the style and endure the pacing, although markets outside pic's lingo might be less tolerant.

Returning to a more intimate and stylish cinema after a string of large-scale historical epics, vet Brazilian helmer Sergio Rezende almost has something with “Almost Nothing,” a mysterious, involving, yet ultimately downbeat trilogy of stories that play cumulatively like a neorealist, Portuguese language “Twilight Zone.” Prepped for the challenge, fest auds could appreciate the style and endure the pacing, although markets outside pic’s lingo might be less tolerant.

Based, per Rezende, on real-life rural crime stories, filtered through inspiration of Gorky, Borges and Brazilian writer Guimaraes Rosa, each tale tells a story of poverty, despair and mistrust that ultimately leads to violence. For reluctant boss Joao, rookie dairy farmer Ademiris and jealous horticulturist Ernani, a volatile mix of bad breaks, fear and ignorance conspire to release the demons within them. Yet despite desperate lunges at dignity, each man is clearly doomed to fail. This is moody fare to be sure, yet Rezende seems perfectly comfortable with foreboding tone and slow yet assured pace, lacking only big payoffs within the segs or as a whole with which to sting auds. Tech credits are pro, with David Tygel’s evocative score a plus.

Almost Nothing

Brazil - Mexico

Production

A Morena Filmes/Filmania production (International sales: Morena Filmes, Rio de Janeiro.) Produced by Mariza Leao, Renata Gentil. Co-producer, Marion Hansel. Directed, written by Sergio Rezende.

Crew

Camera (color), Guy Goncalves; editor, Isabelle Rathery; music, David Tygel; production designer, Roseanna Sacco; costumes, Elisabeth Mehu; sound mixer, Cyril Holtz; sound editor, Carole Verner. Reviewed at Montreal Film Festival (Latin American Cinema), Aug. 27, 2000. Original title: Quase Nada. Running time: 100 MIN.

With

Pierre - Nils Ohlund Psychiatrist - Rejane Kerdaffrec
With: Genesio de Barros, Denise Weinberg, Augusto Pompeu, Caio Junqueria, Camilo Bevilacqua, Ana Luisa Rabelo.
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