Light in Darkness: The Return of the Red Light Bandit

A young gangster rises to the top of the underworld while his famous outlaw dad stews in jail in the energetic but ultimately wearisome crime caper.

With:
With: Ney Matogrosso, Andre Guerreiro Lopes, Djin Sganzerla, Maria Luisa Mendonca, Sandra Coverloni, Sergio Mamberti, Simone Spoladore, Arrigo Barnabe, Mario Bortolotto, Angela de Castro, Paulo Goulart, Caca Carvalho, Bruna Lombardi, Jose Mojoca Marins, Helena Ignez, Thunderbird, Domingas Person, Ariclenes Barroso. (Portuguese dialogue)

A young gangster rises to the top of the underworld while his famous outlaw dad stews in jail in the energetic but ultimately wearisome crime caper “Light in Darkness: The Return of the Red Light Bandit.” A sequel of sorts to Rogerio Sganzerla’s “The Red Light Bandit” (1968), a locally successful pic little known beyond Brazil, “Light in Darkness” offers pop existentialism for the musicvideo generation, with plenty of bright, spicy colors and bang-bang antics, but its nasty attitude toward women won’t endear it to offshore auds. Co-directed effort by Icaro C. Martins and thesp-turned-producer/helmer Helena Ignez could shine a light at home.

Mix of flashbacks (actual footage from Sganzerla’s film) and new material explains how Luz Vermelha (Ney Matogrosso) became a legend in 1960s Sao Paulo. Action then cuts among scenes of him sitting in jail, reading philosophy and enjoying privileged treatment. Meanwhile, his son, All or Nothing (Andre Guerreiro Lopes), rises up through the city’s crime syndicate through a series of daring robberies. Frenetic editing frustrates comprehension at times, while one-dimensional characters reduce the will to work out what’s going on. English subtitles at screening caught were atrocious.

Light in Darkness: The Return of the Red Light Bandit

Brazil

Production: A Mercurio Prods., Sinai Sganzerla presentation in association with This-and-That. Produced by Helena Ignez. Executive producer, Sganzerla. Directed by Icaro C. Martins, Helena Ignez. Screenplay, Rogerio Sganzerla, Ignez.

Crew: Camera (color/B&W, widescreen, HD), Jose Roberto Eliezer; editor, Rodrigo Lima; music, Sinai Sganzerla, Lima, Ignez, Lucio Branco; production designer, Fabio Delduque; costume designer, Sonia Ushiyama. Reviewed at Locarno Film Festival (competing), Aug. 11, 2010. Running time: 81 MIN.

With: With: Ney Matogrosso, Andre Guerreiro Lopes, Djin Sganzerla, Maria Luisa Mendonca, Sandra Coverloni, Sergio Mamberti, Simone Spoladore, Arrigo Barnabe, Mario Bortolotto, Angela de Castro, Paulo Goulart, Caca Carvalho, Bruna Lombardi, Jose Mojoca Marins, Helena Ignez, Thunderbird, Domingas Person, Ariclenes Barroso. (Portuguese dialogue)

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