Returning to a more intimate and stylish cinema after a string of large-scale historical epics, vet Brazilian helmer Sergio Rezende almost has something with “Almost Nothing,” a mysterious, involving, yet ultimately downbeat trilogy of stories that play cumulatively like a neorealist, Portuguese language “Twilight Zone.” Prepped for the challenge, fest auds could appreciate the style and endure the pacing, although markets outside pic’s lingo might be less tolerant.
Based, per Rezende, on real-life rural crime stories, filtered through inspiration of Gorky, Borges and Brazilian writer Guimaraes Rosa, each tale tells a story of poverty, despair and mistrust that ultimately leads to violence. For reluctant boss Joao, rookie dairy farmer Ademiris and jealous horticulturist Ernani, a volatile mix of bad breaks, fear and ignorance conspire to release the demons within them. Yet despite desperate lunges at dignity, each man is clearly doomed to fail. This is moody fare to be sure, yet Rezende seems perfectly comfortable with foreboding tone and slow yet assured pace, lacking only big payoffs within the segs or as a whole with which to sting auds. Tech credits are pro, with David Tygel’s evocative score a plus.