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Me, You, Them
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by iF Magazine

"A long, sardonic film that's worth the effort."
4 stars

At the beginning of ME YOU THEM, a fine new Brazilian film directed by Andrucha Waddington, a dying mother tells her pregnant daughter that she hopes the baby she has will be a boy because girls only bring bad luck. Thus begins an amusingly stark tale that pits an impoverished but free-spirited young woman, Darlene (Regina Case), against a patriarchal society that, over the course of her life, she will attempt to control.

Three years after giving birth (to a boy) she comes back to her rural village home. In a short time she marries an old landowner named Osias (Lima Duarte) who ends up being a useless, irascible old guy who simply married her to put her to work on his farm.

In a short time she becomes attracted to an itinerant farmhand and she becomes pregnant with his child. Osias puts up with this betrayal since he basically still owns her. Then a year later Osiasí cousin Zezinho (Steni Garcia) comes to live with them. Zezinho is sweet on Darlene and she accepts his advances. Soon she is pregnant with his child. Then, adding turbulence to a potentially volatile situation, she meets another farmhand Ciro (Luiz Carlos Vasconcelos) and in a year she fathers his child.

You get the idea; this woman gets knocked up a lot; but she more than carries her weight. After a while the film seems to gleefully reverse the roles of traditional polygamy. And since Darlene is canny enough to play the men off against one another they survive with nary a scuffle. But what Darlene doesnít realize is that Osias and Zezinho are scheming to make sure that they will always have control of her and her sons.

The film has a very dry, sardonic wit that makes it feel a lot like something from an Eastern European country and, like films from that part of the world, many of the scenes are slowly paced, which enhances a social realist feel that seems destined for certain tragedy.

The cinematography though (by Breno Silveira) captures the beautiful spare, dry landscape that is specific to Brazil. A good number of shots have a warm, colorful glow and every so often the camera rises above the land to present us with a spectacular depth of field that shows just how secluded the characters are in their remote village.

Each of the actors is well seasoned but they bring a perfect amateurish and earthy quality to their roles. Because of this it takes a while to warm up to the characters (they arenít attractive like characters are in Hollywood movies). It also takes a long time to warm up to the story and because of this Ė even though the movie is truly unique - the movieís overall message isnít quite as effective as the director would like it to be. -- Matt Langdon

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originally posted: 03/03/01 07:02:17
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Seattle Film Festival For more in the 2006 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

4/09/01 Tim dumb,, it just showed how fucking dumb darlene was for getting pregnant 4 times 1 stars
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