Review: ‘Cat’s Cradle’

A deliberately unappetizing portrait of upper middle-class Brazilian youth, first-time helmer Alexandre Stockler's "Cat's Cradle" starts with a gang rape and goes downhill from there.

A deliberately unappetizing portrait of upper middle-class Brazilian youth, first-time helmer Alexandre Stockler’s “Cat’s Cradle” starts with a gang rape and goes downhill from there. Shot on digital video for a reported $4,000, this debut opus of TRAUMA (Trying to Realize Anything Urgently and With a Minimum of Audacity), a self-styled “ironic Latin reply to Dogma 95,” makes Von Trier’s “Idiots” look like a paradigm of compassionate humanism. Accomplished in its high concept crudeness and brutality, film could score with younger indie auds.

When a girl apparently dies in the middle of their gang bang, trio of pals panic, their subsequent attempts to get rid of the body claiming two more victims and causing absurdist complications (including the fact that they’ve unwittingly transmitted the rape over the Internet). Pic plays fast and loose, impressively deploying all kinds of video pyrotechnics — fast-forwards, disembodied dialoguing heads floating in white backgrounds — as distancing techniques. Docu addendum, where “real” kids are invited to comment on the action, may be more horrific than fiction.

Cat's Cradle

Brazil

Production

An A Excecao e a Regra Producoes Artostocas production in association with Prodigo Films. Produced, directed, written by Alexandre Stockler.

Crew

Camera (color, video), Charly Spinelli, Murilo Azevedo; editor, Doca Corbett, Stockler; sound, Alberto Bandoni Neto, Fernando Mastrocolla. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (New Trends), Aug. 31, 2002. Portuguese dialogue. Running time: 92 MIN.

With

Caio Blat, Rodrigo Bolzan, Cainnan Baladez, Rennata Airoldi, Val Pires, Claudia Schapira.
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