One-upping central narrative conceit of “Sunset Boulevard,” “Posthumous Memories” presents the life of 19th century Rio de Janeiro nobleman Bras Cubas as hosted by his still-warm corpse. For his first theatrical feature since 1993’s “Savage Capitalism,” Brazilian helmer Andre Klotzel revisits distinctive brand of local telenovela melodrama he knows best, with spoofy results that will put pic in demand at fests. Theatrical may be a bit iffier, although vid and tube life will be spry.
Adapted from apparently beloved 19th century novel by Machado de Assis, story takes auds on picaresque journey through the century. With self-deprecating smoothness, newly dead but still chipper Cubas (Reginaldo Faria) follows his younger self (Petronio Gontijo) through historical highlights, various trysts and love affairs (including one with money-hungry courtesan played by Sonia Braga) and late life business success as inventor of cure-all Bras Cubas Poultice. Visual gags and philosophizing one-liners abound (“We kill time but time buries us,” sighs our hero), with Klotzel’s obvious fondness for the material helping to preserve a unified tone of benevolent satire. Tech credits are evocative on an obvious budget, with nods to Adrian Cooper’s art direction and Marjorie Gueller’s costumes.