Make Your Own Film Festival- Pick a Country (Part 4 of 7)

Windows doesn’t discriminate between regions any longer, and neither does Macintosh. Even if they do you should get a warning when inserting a Non-Region 1 DVD (meaning one made for distribution outside the US, Canada and Mexico) saying what region it is and asking if you want to change your computer’s region. Typically, there has been a set limit on how many times you could change regions before it became a permanent switch. Even if your computer is more finicky you still have an opportunity to watch many more DVDs, many of which you can only find online, that you never thought you could before.

Some foreign films have limited appeal and distribution internationally. With that in mind you should take that into account when traveling overseas and pick up some movies you won’t find in the US. Taking that into consideration this critic made a number of purchases when in Brazil in 2008 to set up a mini-festival.


Olga (Lumière)

The packaging of this film tells quite a tale. First, this is the only DVD of the batch which has the logos of all the corporate sponsors, production companies, studios and governmental agencies affiliated with the production of the film on the disc itself, which total 19. Another view into the Brazilian film industry is the stat on the back which hypes the film as a box-office smash having over 3 million viewers. Firstly, we obviously don’t measure films on individual ticket sales in the US but even if you translate that to an American audience you can see how modest audiences for domestic product in Brazil are. In America that would equal something just over a $30M gross, even with a modest budget that wouldn’t raise eyebrows.

Olga is a rather interesting tale of a woman Olga (Camila Morgado) who was a communist revolutionary in Germany and who travels to Brazil to ensure the safe transit of a famous Brazilian revolutionary, Prestes, and gets involved in a failed plot to overthrow the military dictatorship. It’s a long film because it tells three tales really – her love story with Prestes (Caco Ciocler) then her attempt to flee and then her deportation to Nazi Germany and incarceration in a concentration camp.

It was an epic challenge for a first time motion picture director Jayme Monjardim, who had quite a bit of experience on TV in mini-series and telenovela form. For the most part it’s quite effective. Morgado’s performance is great in arc and quality. At times the score is a bit overwrought as if asking you to feel seeming not to trust the material. There are also a lot of silent pensive scenes that could’ve been excised with more judicious editing. The film is already very visual, so we don’t need these silences inflating the run time.

Overall, it is a rather interesting tale and one which is likely unknown to most with good performances throughout including the supporting cast like Osmar Prado playing Getulio Vargas and Fernanda Montenegro, Brazil’s best actress as Prestes’ mother.