The 48th annual Festival du Nouveau Cinéma runs through Oct. 20. Here are our reviews of films screening today:
Set in the not so distant future of Brazil, Divino Amor is about Joana a civil servant who handles divorce cases and believes it is her divine mission to help couples stay together. For years, she’s wanted a child and believes if she prevents as many divorces as possible, God will reward her. In this future Brazil, society remains secular on the surface but the influence of the church has infiltrated nearly all aspects of their lives. People are surveilled and publically evaluated by super-computers that brandish every government building and corporate location. While everything is clean and bright on the outside, behind closed doors things are a lot less cheery.
While the film is a bit thinly drawn as far as narrative, Divino Amor is a fascinating and horrific dystopian vision. There are no grand apocalyptic visions or revolutions, just the consistent and dull thud of bureaucracy. While critical of her methods and the society that bore them, the film wisely offers a huge amount of empathy towards its lead Joana. Her efforts to be normal and to have a child within a restrictive situation that simultaneously limits her opportunities and stigmatizes her inability to reproduce is a fascinating and unconventional tension that helps maintain interest throughout.
Divino Amor screens at Quartier Latin (350 Émery) on Thursday, Oct. 17, 9:20 p.m.
Ever since Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite won the Palme d’Or, almost everyone has tried to remain as vague as possible about it. “You have to see it for yourself” is not an uncommon thought these days, but it’s rare that this is actually upheld by the click-hungry online machine. Parasite was not spoiled for me and thus I would be remiss to tell you almost anything about it, considering how much of its pleasures lie in precisely how unpredictable its twists and turns are.
Suffice to say that it’s a caustic black comedy, a sort of perversion of the Upstairs/Downstairs model that uses the employment of a young man from a poor family as a tutor for the teenage daughter of a bourgeois family as a springboard for a film that’s extremely skilled at never settling into a groove. Violent, funny, brutal, sad and strange, Parasite somehow manages to eviscerate its targets with scalpel-like precision without ever explicitly telling us how to feel (well, except for the character who keeps describing objects and events as “so metaphorical”) and without drawing characters as caricatures. It’s the rare example of a movie that fully earns its excesses without telegraphing them ahead of time — a practically flawless effort from one of the most interesting directors currently working.
Parasite screens at Cinéma Impérial on (1430 Bleury) on Thursday, Oct. 17, 8:20 p.m.
See the complete Festival du Nouveau Cinéma program here.