You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘Time Was Endless’

Sergio Andrade and Fabio Baldo deliver an awkward assembly of metafiction, drama and magical realism.

Anderson Tikuna, Severiano Kedassere, Fidelis Baniwa, Kay Sara, Ana Sabrina, Rita Carelli, Bege Muniz, Emanuel Aragao, Arnaldo Barreto, Thiago Almeida. (Portuguese, Ticuna, Satere-Mawe, Nhengatu, Tariana dialogue)

Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5457252/reference

A terrific idea is unevenly realized in Sergio Andrade and Fabio Baldo’s disappointing “Time Was Endless,” an attempt to explore the limbo of a young Amazonian native caught between tribal life and the modernity of Manaus. Striving for, but unable to approach, the lyricism of Andrade’s 2012 feature debut, “Jonathas’ Forest” (which was edited by Baldo), the pic needs a tighter script to tie together the awkwardly assembled elements of metafiction, drama and magical realism. Notwithstanding strong scenes, especially at the start, “Time” won’t be stopping long on the fest merry-go-round, though a gay component assures some rotation on the LGBT circuit.

There’s much promise in the opening sequences, in which tribesmen sedate fire ants and then insert the insects into a specially woven mitt used in an initiation ritual on 11-year-old Anderson (Thiago Almeida). Shot like a documentary, yet without the usual exoticizing elements that so often mar visual representations of such ceremonies, these scenes promise a straightforward, respectful p.o.v. without an anthropological overlay, and while Andrade and Baldo maintain that position throughout, they lose track of narrative cohesion.

Now a young man, Anderson (Anderson Tikuna) lives in a shantytown area of Manaus with his sister (Kay Sara) and her daughter (Ana Sabrina), who has Down syndrome. Tribal custom says the child should be sacrificed, but the siblings refuse to yield to the practice despite intense pressure from back home. In the city, Anderson works on an air-conditioner assembly line and then at a hair salon, but he feels no connection to these places, or to anything in his surroundings.

A very poorly integrated scene finds a spirit, in the guise of a nondescript white guy (Emanuel Aragao), telling Anderson not to forget where he comes from, yet as realized, the confusing incident is superfluous, inducing head scratching rather than offering insight into the young man’s ambivalent relationship to his heritage. Furthering his sense of not fitting in, Anderson is attracted to men. For tribal elders such as the old shaman (Severiano Kedassere), this is additional proof of the corrupting influence of urban life, and Anderson must be brought back to the village to literally straighten him out.

A sympathetic white co-op leader (Rita Carelli) is introduced, but her function is never made clear, and she becomes just one more half-considered piece in this poorly plotted puzzle. Were there a more clearly defined shift in narrative style between the city scenes and the village ones, or between Anderson’s two halves, so to speak, the film might have come together more effectively, but as it stands, “Time Was Endless” strives vainly to make something meaningful of the pressurized duality between so-called modernity and tribal life.

A hint of this comes through in a song Anderson sings, with a line about how there will always be someone to go fishing with. That’s true in the village, but such a traditional sense of community (fraught as it is with intolerance) doesn’t exist in the city, and the song yields one of the film’s sharper moments, in which the young man’s isolation makes an emotional impact. Lensing by Yure Cesar, also d.p. on “Jonathas’ Forest,” is generally attractive, keyed to a documentary sensibility. Not all the eclectic choices of music are well used: The lyrics to It’s Immaterial’s 1986 tune “Space” may have a generic contextual significance, yet it’s a bizarre choice for the closing credits.

Film Review: 'Time Was Endless'

Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Panorama Special), Feb. 18, 2016. Running time: 83 MIN. (Original title: “Antes o tempo nao acabava”)

Production: (Brazil-Germany) A Livres Filmes (in Brazil) release of a Rio Taruma Films, 3 Moinhos Producoes, Autentika Films production, in association with Filmes da Gruta, Meia Zero 2 Filmes. (International sales: UDI, Paris.) Produced by Ana Alice de Morais, Sergio Andrade. Co-producers, Paulo Carvalho, Gudula Meinzolt.

Crew: Directed by Sergio Andrade, Fabio Baldo. Screenplay, Andrade. Camera (color), Yure Cesar; editor, Baldo; production designer, Oscar Ramos; costume designer, Adroaldo Pereira; sound, Nicolas Hallet, Baldo; assistant director, Marianna Macedo Martins; casting, Carla Menezes.

With: Anderson Tikuna, Severiano Kedassere, Fidelis Baniwa, Kay Sara, Ana Sabrina, Rita Carelli, Bege Muniz, Emanuel Aragao, Arnaldo Barreto, Thiago Almeida. (Portuguese, Ticuna, Satere-Mawe, Nhengatu, Tariana dialogue)

More Film

  • Laura Linney Cast in Viggo Mortensen

    Laura Linney Joins Viggo Mortensen's Family Drama 'Falling'

    Laura Linney, Hannah Gross, and Terry Chen have joined the cast of Viggo Mortensen’s family drama “Falling.” The movie will be Mortensen’s directorial debut. He’s also producing, wrote the screenplay, and is playing one of the two leading roles in a story about a son’s relationship with his aging father. Production is currently underway in Toronto. [...]

  • Maya Erskine-Jack Quaid Romcom 'Plus One'

    Maya Erskine-Jack Quaid Rom-Com 'Plus One' Sells Ahead of Tribeca Premiere

    Romantic comedy “Plus One,” starring Maya Erskine and Jack Quaid, has sold to RLJE Films in a pre-emptive deal for low seven figures ahead of its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. “Plus One” is written and directed by Jeff Chan (“Adam Ruins Everything”) and Andrew Rhymer (Pregame). The film also stars Ed Begley, [...]

  • Alan Horn Disney

    Walt Disney Studios Leaders Say Fox Deal Represents 'Exciting New Chapter'

    Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn and President Alan Bergman are asking Fox staffers to be patient while the company begins the complicate work of integrating the two motion picture teams. Both men were on Fox’s Century City lot for meetings with executives. In a memo, Bergman and Horn said they would try to be [...]


    Doha Film Institute's Qumra Wraps, Bolstering Status as Top Arab Cinema Event

    The Doha Film Institute’s unique Qumra workshop wrapped its fifth edition on Wednesday following six days of masterclasses, labs and mentoring sessions that bolstered the DFI’s status as the prime entity fostering Arab filmmaking and connecting directors from most of the region with the rest of the world.  Programmers from Cannes, Venice, Toronto, Berlin and [...]

  • Tribeca Film Festival'Venus in Fur' film

    Tribeca Film Institute Honors 14 Films with Grants in Tribeca All Access Program

    The Tribeca Film Institute has announced the 14 films to be honored with grants at the 16th annual Tribeca All Access program, which amplifies stories from underrepresented voices. Seven films and seven documentaries will earn grants from the program to aid their productions, many of them having not received previous funding. The filmmakers will attend [...]

  • Black Panther Movie

    Global Box Office Flat in 2018, Netflix and Subscription Services Rise in Popularity

    The domestic box office rebounded in 2018 in a recovery fueled by blockbusters such as “Black Panther” and “Incredibles 2.” Ticket sales in the U.S. climbed 7% to top out at a record $11.9 billion, according to a new report by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). That helped off-set declines in overseas markets [...]

  • Variety Massive Entertainment Marketing Summit

    Showbiz Marketers Look to Netflix's Data Expertise as They Build Their Own Campaigns

    Netflix’s ability to profit from its secret sauce of granular consumer data has made it the envy of Hollywood. Now, with Disney, Warner Media and others prepping their own ambitious services to challenge the streaming insurgents, entertainment marketers will face more competitive pressures than ever. But at the same time, new marketing tools are emerging [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content