Review: ‘Delicate Crime’

Established Brazilian helmer Beto Brant takes a break from the guns and gangsters in Brazil's backstreets to focus on a middle-class felony in "Delicate Crime." High pretension quotient will make "Delicate Crime" a punishment for some auds, but adventurous arthouse distribs could make it click in upscale territories.

Established Brazilian helmer Beto Brant (“Belly Up,” “The Trespasser”) takes a break from the guns and gangsters in Brazil’s backstreets to focus on a middle-class felony in “Delicate Crime.” Intriguing but oddly structured drama starts out as a portrait of an embittered, misogynist legit critic (co-screenwriter Marco Ricca), but fractures into part courtroom psychodrama, part “La Belle Noiseuse”-style exploration of an artist and his muse. High pretension quotient will make “Delicate Crime” a punishment for some auds, but adventurous arthouse distribs could make it click in upscale territories.

Astringent critic Antonio (Ricca) watches assorted plays, scenes from which unfold onscreen, and then goes to write about them. One night he meets Ines (non-pro thesp Lilian Taublib), a one-legged artist’s model. Eventually, Antonio first stalks then rapes her, although he considers the deed merely rough sex. Last act intercuts between a courtroom and a long sequence showing Ines working with her artist lover (real painter Felipe Ehrenberg). Script mulls over the nature of creation, the relation between critics and artists, gender relations and so on, but loses focus in the dramatic muddle. Tech credits are pro.

Delicate Crime

Brazil

Production

A Drama Filmes, MG Ricca Prods. presentation. (International sales: Grupo Novo, Rio de Janeiro.) Produced by Bianca Villar, Renato Ciasca, Marco Ricca. Executive producers, Renato Ciasca, Bianca Villar. Directed by Beto Brant. Screenplay, Marcal Aquino, Marco Ricca, Brant, Mauricio Paroni de Castro, Luis F. Carvalho Filho, based on a novel by Sergio Sant'Anna.

Crew

Camera (color/B&W), Walter Carvalho; editor, Willem Dias; music, Caco Faria, Alvaro Fernando; art director, Marcos Pedroso; costume designer, Joana Porto. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Visions), Sept. 13, 2005. Portuguese dialogue. Running time: 87 MIN.

With

Marco Ricca, Lilian Taublib, Felipe Ehrenberg, Maria Manoella.
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