Waddington's deliciously surprising second feature starts out incredibly bleakly, with its none-too-lovely pregnant heroine (Casé) leaving her cursing mother's home in the arid wastelands of north eastern Brazil, only to return with her son to find the old battle-axe dead, her elderly landlord proposing marriage and turning out to be an idle tyrant. Then gradually the film mutates into an unsentimental but uplifting comedy celebrating Casé's rise to power over not one but three husbands, all living under the same roof. Inspired by a true story, the film subtly observes how the woman plays on her suitors' jealousy, insecurity and pride, using her patience, good humour and earthy sexuality to place them in unlikely, unspoken but very real competition with each other. Heading a superb cast, Casé is simply extraordinary; Gilberto Gil's music is both lovely and entirely in keeping with the film's shifting moods; and Breno Silveira's 'Scope camerawork is both admirably to the point and visually stunning. A treat.
Cast and crew
Luiz Carlos Vasconcelos