Lifelong friends Deco (Lazaro Ramos) and Naldinho (Wagner Moura), who run odd jobs on their small steam boat in Bahia, give hooker/pole dancer Karinna (Alice Bragga) a lift towards Salvador. After sharing her favours as part of the fare, both men fall in love with her, and slowly tear apart their friendship. Just as Karinna falls pregnant, the three split up, but are drawn together again in a fateful bond.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Gathering a handful of awards from Cannes to Rio to the Huelva Latin American Film Festival, Lower City deals with the classic and eternal love triangle, this time set in the hubbub of Salvador, adding texture to the story. Karinna (Alice Bragga) is a pretty 20 year old blonde who survives in the time honoured tradition of poverty stricken women - as a hooker and stripper. The two friends also move on the outskirts of society as petty crims and smugglers. Their underworld includes cockfights and strip clubs, downbeat bars and ruthless people. The setting is anything but romantic, a contrast to the relationship that develops between the men and Karinna, which becomes obsessive.
It's hard to see romance in this relationship, although obviously it's a form of sexual and romantic love that destroys the friendship. Newcomer Sergio Machado directs with passion and dynamics, but there is insufficient attention to characterisation, although the performances are solid and credible. There are sections of the screenplay that lead nowhere and I also find the ending makes the film rather incomplete. Yet it's a gripping work, and a powerful journey while it lasts.
Cinematography captures the drama with a rich palette and the settings are full of tangible life.
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LOWER CITY (MA)
CAST: Lazaro Ramos, Wagner Moura, Alice Braga, Jose Dumont
PRODUCER: Walter Salles
DIRECTOR: Sergio Machado
SCRIPT: Karim Ainouz, Sergio Machado
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Toca Seabra
EDITOR: Isabella Monteiro
MUSIC: Carlinhos Brown, Beto Villares
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Marcos Pedroso
RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Madman
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 30, 2006
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.