Review: ‘Chronically Unfeasible’

Virulently revolutionary and quite ambitious, "Chronically Unfeasible" offers an angry look at today's Brazil and the glaring inequality between its upper and lower classes. Shot over a five-year period by helmer Sergio Bianchi as a fictionalized documentary, pic suffers, however, from a lack of structure and convincing drama. It raised hackles on release in Brazil, but its likely future will be just more fest outings.

Virulently revolutionary and quite ambitious, “Chronically Unfeasible” offers an angry look at today’s Brazil and the glaring inequality between its upper and lower classes. Shot over a five-year period by helmer Sergio Bianchi as a fictionalized documentary, pic suffers, however, from a lack of structure and convincing drama. It raised hackles on release in Brazil, but its likely future will be just more fest outings.

Bianchi and crew shot in all five Brazilian regions, giving pic a wide perspective. We see disorganized union organizers, Indians beaten by police, street kids fighting over toys and a black maid mocked and exploited by the bourgeois employers she has known since childhood. Editing jumps around but returns to a few vividly sketched characters in a restaurant: a snotty middle-class couple, a young woman manager trying to rise in life and a Polish waiter who gets fired after sleeping with the boss. Pic plays with many classic “distancing” devices in its attempt to look un-American, but the result often just looks amateurish. Music from around the country is well chosen.

Chronically Unfeasible

Brazil

Production

An Agravo Producoes Cinematograficas production. (International sales: Grupo Novo de Cinema & TV, Rio de Janeiro.) Directed by Sergio Bianchi. Screenplay, Gustavo Steinberg, Bianchi.

Crew

Camera (color), Marcelo Coutinho, Antoni Penido; editor, Paulo Sacramento; music, Tom Jobim, Arrigo Barnabe, Helena Meirelles, Carlos Lyra. Reviewed at Locarno Film Festival (competing), Aug. 10, 2000. Original title: Cronicamente inviavel. Running time: 101 MIN.
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