A poor photocopy machine operator falls in love and starts copying money in Jorge Furtado's intermittently amusing but ultimately scattered feature bow. Magnetic young thesp Lazaro Ramos handles the title role with verve and humor. A much shorter version would be a prerequisite to finding offshore audiences for this offbeat Columbia co-prod.

A poor photocopy machine operator falls in love and starts copying money in Jorge Furtado’s intermittently amusing but ultimately scattered feature bow, “The Man Who Copied.” Magnetic young thesp Lazaro Ramos (“Madame Sata”) handles the title role with verve and humor, but he’s not enough to hold together two hours of story that swings from social realism to rags-to-riches comedy to accidental murder. A much shorter version would be a prerequisite to finding offshore audiences for this offbeat Columbia co-prod.

Andre (Ramos) draws imaginative cartoons, but the only job he can find is pushing buttons on a copy machine. On a salary of $300 a month, he can’t aspire to much. Marinez (Luana Piovani), the sexy blonde he works with, candidly admits she’ll only give her virginity to a man with enough money to change her life. That also excludes the frustrated salesman (Pedro Cardoso) she dates.

Andre develops a crush on Silvia (Leandra Leal), an ordinary girl in the next building. After spying on her through binoculars, he slowly gets up the courage to talk to her. At least half the film is spent making her acquaintance, which requires him to photocopy a real 50 dollar bill. When he successfully passes on the counterfeit money, tale spins into a wholly unconvincing fantasy of bank robbery, winning the lottery, and murderous revenge.

Coolly narrated by Ramos in a deadpan voiceover, the story often provokes a smile. It is enlivened by bursts of animation, presumably from Andre’s pen. Furtado does a fine job recreating the depressed social and economic scene of Porto Alegre in southern Brazil. Music, which ranges from Bach and Mozart to Creedence Clearwater Revival, also has its moments.

The Man Who Copied

Brazil

Production

A Columbia TriStar release (in Brazil) of a Casa de Cinema de Porto Alegre production in association with Sony Corp. of America/Columbia Pictures/Columbia TriStar. Produced by Luciana Tomasi, Nora Goulart. Directed, written by Jorge Furtado.

Crew

Camera (color), Alex Sernambi; editor, Giba Assis Brasil; music, Leo Henkin; production designer, Fiapo Barth; sound (Dolby Digital), Cristiano Scherer. Reviewed at San Sebastian Film Festival (Zabaltegi), Sept. 19, 2003. Running time: 124 MIN.

With

Andre - Lazaro Ramos Silvia - Leandra Leal Marinez - Luana Piovani Cardoso - Pedro Cardoso
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