Through the Window

Executive producer, Van Fresnot.

Executive producer, Van Fresnot.

Directed by Tata Amaral. Screenplay, Jean-Claude Bernardet, Fernando Bonassi, Amaral. Camera (color), Hugo Kovensky; editor, Ide Lacreta; music, Livio Tagtenberg, Wilson Sukorski; production designers, Ana Mara Abreu, Cio Azevedo; sound (Dolby Digital), Joao Godoy. Reviewed at Rotterdam Film Festival (Hubert Bals Fund), Feb. 1, 2000. Original title: Atraves de janela.) Running time: 83 MIN.With: Laura Cardoso, Fransergio Araujo, Ana Lucia Torre, Leona Cavalli, Joao Acaiabe, Antonio Petrin, Debora Duboc, Jose Rubens Chacha.

The tragedy of an ordinary woman who keeps her handsome son enslaved with her cooking and attention, “Through the Window” is a far more ambitious film than it first appears. Young Brazilian director Tata Amaral (“A Starry Sky”) couches a horrifying tale with Freudian and moral undertones in simple let’s-do-the-shopping terms. Despite good perfs, however, the result is more experimental than convincing. Pic’s narrative cleverness doesn’t pay off with emotional dynamite at the end, limiting offshore pickup chances.

In its theatrical setup, emphasized by art director Ana Mara Abreu’s sitcom-style living room and Hugo Kovensky’s matching camerawork, retired middle-class nurse Selma (Laura Cardoso) lives happily with the young Raimundo (Fransergio Araujo), for whom “spoiled rotten” is an understatement. The joy of their morbidly obsessive relationship suddenly begins to crumble when he gets involved in some shady goings-on at the abandoned property across the street. Between her visits to the supermarket, pie baking and jealousy over Raimundo’s new girlfriend, the situation escalates into an inner nightmare for Selma. It is a pity pic is too arty to exploit all the drama’s B-film thrills, which Amaral builds up so promisingly.

Through the Window

(BRAZIL)

Production: An A.F. Cinema e Video/Bial Culture & Arts production. (International sales: A.F. Cinema e Video, Sao Paulo.) Produced by Caio Gullane, Fabiano Gullane.

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