Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Noite Vazia [1964]


In Noite Vazia Brazilian filmmaker Walter Hugo Khouri provided a marvelous exploration of existential crisis, alienation and hedonism among the urban affluent. The distancing tone, spare style, searing portrayal of detachment and ennui, and the observations on class and gender roles, made this criminally underrated film highly reminiscent of Antonioni’s renowned ‘Alienation Trilogy’ in general and La Notte in particular. The sparkling B/W photography with the city’s sinful nightlife providing a terrific juxtaposition to loneliness, identity crisis and collapse of relationships, with a fine jazz score accentuating the existential dissonance, further added to its mood and atmosphere. Set over the course of a night, two Sao Paolo men – Luis (Mario Benvenuti), a wealthy, cynical and bored married man forever looking for sexual trophies, and Nelson (Gabrielle Tinti), his soft-spoken, depressed and handsome younger buddy, hop from one pub to another in the hope for conquests. They finally take the services of two prostitutes – the older Regina (Odete Lara), a ravishing, weary and distrustful blonde, and the young and sensitive brunette Mara (Norma Bengell), with the remaining two-thirds of the film focusing on the complex and shifting interactions between them at Luis’ sprawling apartment. They swap partners, watch adult videos, drink, argue, reminisce and even coax the 2 ladies to have a go at each other. While the brash Luis meets his match in the strong-willed Regina, the anguished Nelson finds a kindred soul in the fragile Mara. The film ends in discomfiting daylight which further highlighted their hollow existences and directionless lives, with the rambling dialogues, wry humour, bleak outlook, fine characterizations and deglamorized depiction of sex adding enervating layers to its delicate balance between hope and emptiness.








Director: Walter Hugo Khouri
Genre: Drama/Existential Drama/Urban Drama
Language: Portuguese
Country: Brazil

4 comments:

Tor Hershman said...

Looks wonderful, thanks.

Shubhajit said...

The pleasure's mine :) Do let me know how you like it once you've watched it.

Sam Juliano said...

Quite a discovery here Shubhajit! Haven't heard of this one, but am more than intrigued with this fascinating analysis! Definitely will be checking it out.

Shubhajit said...

Thanks Sam. Yeah, I quite literally stumbled on this one, and really loved it. It was like Brazil's fabulous answer to the string of masterful existential dramas that was so common in 60's European cinema.