Review: ‘Laura’

Fellipe Barbosa's docu revolves around Laura, uninvited guest at gatherings of the rich and famous.

Fellipe Barbosa’s docu revolves around Laura, uninvited guest at gatherings of the rich and famous. The Gotham-based Brazilian expat, a nightly crasher of events, knows backways into highly exclusive venues where she is welcomed and embraced by the beautiful people; outside the gilded circles, she subsists in near-poverty. This contrast fascinates Barbosa, but Laura, zealous guardian of her image, hides the bag lady behind the diva, turning this character study of a true eccentric into a tug-of-war between filmmaker and subject. Hamptons docu prizewinner could thrive on cable.

Dressed to the nines, Laura imperiously guides Barbosa and his cameraman through glitterati territory, a function she has assumed for many visiting compatriots. But she ferociously guards her own space — crammed to the gills, one surmises, with ephemera of significance only to her. (She exploits Barbosa and his crew to clear out the overflow.) Though Barbosa’s obsession with Laura mirrors her obsession with celebs, neither has a handle on their fixations. “Laura,” described by Barbosa as a love story, ultimately reads more like a bad marriage.

Laura

U.S.-Brazil

Production

A Vermelho Filmes, Gamarosa production. Produced by Fernanda de Capua. Directed by Fellipe Barbosa. Written by Karen Sztajnberg, Barbosa, Lucas Paraizo.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Pedro Sotero; editor, Sztajnberg; music, Patrick Laplan. Reviewed at Hamptons Film Festival (competing), Oct. 16, 2011. Running time: 78 MIN.

With

Laura, Fellipe Barbosa, Ron Perlman. (English, Portuguese, Spanish dialogue)

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