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ME YOU THEM

SYNOPSIS:
Loosely inspired by a tv news report, Me You Them is the story of Darlene (Regina Casé), who lives in the Brazilian outback and manages to collect three husbands, all living together under the one roof. Of course, it doesn’t happen in any sort of traditional manner, and ‘husband’ may be too formal a word for it. But she does also have children by the men, and her joy of living and matter of fact nature make the house a convivial home. More or less. . .

This little gem of a film takes as its starting point a story that was unearthed on Brazilian television; not as one of those un-reality shows, but a news feature, profiling a woman who managed to live with three men in one house, in a remote village. Andrucha Waddington fashions a sensitive and engaging film from this premise, helped by an economical script and excellent performances. Regina Casé creates a multi-dimensional Darlene; the three men are each unqiue and bring a diverse set of personalities to the film, expertly juggling the emotional balls that they find multiplying as the story progresses. The film maintains a calm tone of wry interest and neither judges nor condescends to its subjects. Nor to the audience. Waddington’s fascination is with the central character, Darlene, and how her nature and personality manage to maintain a balance in this relationship labyrinth. As a character study it’s a fine effort, with lots of emotion and humour, but none of it ever forced or melodramatic. Waddington captures the silken threads of how our lives evolve with unerring subtlety and accuracy. Real life needs no-one to sensationlise it, least of all filmmakers inspired by real events. Like a good journalist (not that he is one), Waddington finds the story for his film – not in the superficially sensational notion of a woman with three husbands, but in the myriad issues of how it came about, why it happened, what are these people like and how can it inform us about the human condition. In fact, the film’s success lies in its respect for all its characters, and its invitation to us to also understand. Compassion and humour are great stablemates and well utilised in Me You Them.
Andrew L. Urban

It's not hard to imagine how Hollywood would colour this tale - it might star Julia Roberts, and her three husbands could be played by Antonio Banderas, Benicio del Toro and Jude Law. It would no doubt be funny, highly contrived and
possibly rather entertaining in a frivolous sort of way. But Me You Them is as far from Hollywood as you could imagine. To begin with, its characters are far from glamorous or young. The central character is no svelte beauty; she is
solidly built, with very large teeth and a lively libido. Grounded by the sensual rhythms and earthy settings of Brazil, the story evolves so naturally, there is nothing whatsoever sensational about it. Far from it. Me You Them is
a wry, gently amusing insight into life, death, marriage and survival. The humour does not make you laugh aloud, but prompts inward chuckles and recognition of impossible situations that only real life can deliver. An economical script and a light touch by director Andrucha Waddington take us on an extraordinary journey by a strong woman, whose determination to live and love allows new rules to be forged. I really liked the symbolic bridal veil that a very pregnant Darline (with no man in tow) tosses in the wind, before mounting an expressionless donkey when her story begins. The symbolism reminded me of some years ago when my (then) eight year old daughter placed a 'Barbie' bridal veil on our Burmese cat that had just been mated. But I digress. Back in Brazil, Darline's journey takes us into a world where economics, common sense
and lust are the teachers. There's nothing romantic about the first awkward proposal that comes by the washing line; it is a commitment made from pragmatism and a wish to survive. The interesting thing about the subsequent two relationships and how they evolve, is that the role each man assumes is unique. One is the financial provider, but he has little interest in friendship or sex. And when all three are vital to Darline, it's easy to understand the way the story unfolds. It's as natural as the dusty landscapes, the warm Brazilian breeze and Darline's lust for life. Wonderful naturalistic performances, moody
cinematography and a splendid music soundtrack jostle this entertaining and delightful story into life. It's delightful and thoroughly entertaining. It may even inspire you.
Louise Keller

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

Andrew L. Urban phoned
ANDRUCHA WADDINGTON in Rio de Janeiro for a chat

ME YOU THEM (PG)
(Eu Tu Eles)
(Brazil)

CAST: Regina Casé, Lima Duarte, Stênio Garcia, Luiz Carlos Vanconcelos

DIRECTOR: Andrucha Waddington

PRODUCERS: Leonardo M. de Barros, Pedro B. de Hollanda, Andrucha Waddington, Fávio R. Tambelinni, Nilda Spencer

SCRIPT: Elena Soáres

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Breno Silveira

EDITOR: Vicente Kubrusly

MUSIC: Gilberto Gil

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Toni Vanzolini

RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE DATE: November 15, 2001

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Col TriStar Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE: July 3, 2002







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