Good Manners – Brazil, 2017

Good Manners – original title: As Boas Maneiras – is a 2017 Brazilian supernatural horror feature film written and directed by Marco Dutra and Juliana Rojas.

The movie stars Isabél Zuaa, Marjorie Estiano, Miguel Lobo, Cida Moreira, Andréa Marquee and Felipe Kenji.

Clara, a lonely nurse from the outskirts of São Paulo, is hired by mysterious and wealthy Ana as the nanny for her  unborn child. The two women develop a strong bond, but a fateful night changes their plans…

Reviews:

“Rui Pocas’ cinematography is rich with particularly lush use of matte paintings for the cityscapes and the contrast between Ana’s antiseptic wealth and the colourful jumble of Clara’s home is effectively marked. In the latter stages of the film, the increasing burden placed on special effects and some sub-par CGI strains credulity […] However, these are perhaps minor qualms for a film so bold and enjoyable.” John Bleasdale, Cinevue

“As the film transitions into more standard genre film territory, the trappings of this solidly crafted, arthouse love story begin to fade, and the narrative begins to falter a bit. Rough CGI blemishes an otherwise gorgeous-looking film […] Still, Good Manners is an expertly directed film that, while inconsistent, exhibits a uniquely relevant narrative that’s definitely worth…” Adam Patterson, Film Pulse

The filmmakers expertly blend jagged humour with wrenching horror, keeping the audience laughing and gasping from start to finish […]This is a story about rising to the challenge of whatever life throws at us, being true to ourselves and, even more importantly, to those we love. It may be utterly bonkers, but it’s also the kind of movie that leaves us exhilarated.” Rich Cline, Gay Essential

” …though Dutra and Rojas continue to gleefully subvert convention, the story takes on an inevitability that is fitting of the fairy tale genre. The fact that a character arc mirrors that embrace of tradition feels entirely coincidental. There is always imperfection in good experimentation, and ultimately Good Manners showcases exuberant filmmaking from thoughtful people.” Emmet Duff, Goomba Stomp

“Dutra and Rojas draw extensively and sensitively from previous werewolf capers of both literary and cinematic origin. They incorporate nods to classics such as John Landis’ An American Werewolf in London in a manner that will delight horror geeks […] More troublingly, it seems a little odd that such respectful students of this perennially economical subgenre should have allowed their running time to sprawl so far beyond the two-hour mark.” Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter

“This is definitely socially conscious, character-driven art-house horror, but it never looks down on the genre. In fact, it deliberately riffs on the archetypal climax of nearly every classic Universal monster movie. The upshot is this take on werewolves is smart, subversive, and entertaining. Highly recommended…” Joe Bendel, J.B. Spins

“the second half of this film just cannot support what went before. It feels like the directors Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra smooshed two films together instead of creating one cohesive story. There’s some good stuff here – especially the performances by Estiano and Zuaa – but it’s brought down by the glacial pace of the second half.” Adelaide Blair, The MacGuffin

Ambitiously allegorical, Good Manners dramatizes class and racial tensions in contemporary Brazil by creating contrasting worlds: rich and poor, black and white, high-rise chic and shantytown. Suffused with harp music and gorgeously lighted […] the film blends raw horror, deftly composed songs, beautifully drawn storyboards and strong lead performances into a single, elegant package.” Jeanette Catsoulis, The New York Times

“Class, desire, motherhood, responsibility to society — all these themes are worked in, to varying degrees. Yet balancing the film’s two halves is less successful, and certain shifts between humor and dead-seriousness don’t quite work. Good Manners is an ambitious work not only in scope but design, influenced by Jacques Tourneur’s psychological horror noirs.” Jay Weissberg, Variety

 

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