Review: ‘Paulista’

A watchable ensembler about some youngish adults seeking love and/or thrills in Sao Paolo.

The first Brazilian feature to be shot with the Red One camera, Roberto Moreira’s sophomore feature, “Paulista” (following his well-received 2003 debut “Up Against Them All”), is a watchable ensembler about some youngish adults seeking love and/or thrills in Sao Paolo. Not quite distinctive enough on any level — directorial style, character depth, narrative engagement — to make a lingering impression, it’s nonetheless sufficiently polished and diverting to attract some offshore interest. Gay angles will translate into specialized fest and DVD pickups.

Leaving a devoted b.f. behind, provincial actress Marina (Silvia Lourenco) moves to the big city with no connections, determined to join a production of “Uncle Vanya.” Providing distraction from audition failures is an infatuation with Justine (musician Danni Carlos), who strums Radiohead songs at a club owned by Nuno (Paulo Vilhena). Meanwhile, flatmate Suzana (Maria Clara Spinelli) is romanced by law-office co-worker Gil (Gustavo Machado), and nebbishy neighbor Jay (Fabio Herford) seeks love from prostitute Michelle (Leilah Moreno). Pic eventually suffers from the fact that both participants in the lesbian relationship seem petulant and shallow; late revelation of another character’s sex change feels forced. Packaging is pro.




A Coracao da Selva production. (International sales: FiGa Films, Sao Paulo.) Produced by Georgia Costa Araujo. Executive producers, Araujo, Rachel Braga, Andrezza de Faria. Directed by Roberto Moreira. Screenplay, Moreira, Anna Muylaert.


Camera (color, HD), Marcelo Trotta; editor, Mirella Martinelli; music, Livio Tragtenberg; production designer, Marcos Pedroso. Reviewed on DVD, San Francisco, March 13, 2010. (In Cinequest Film Festival -- Global Landscapes; Palm Springs Film Festival.) Running time: 83 MIN.


Silvia Lourenco, Danni Carlos, Paulo Vilhena, Maria Clara Spinelli, Gustavo Machado, Leilah Moreno, Fabio Herford.
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