Crazy – Um Dia Muito Louco (Victor Lima, Brazil, 1981)

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This is the kind of fluff I spend a lot of time watching but seldom seems worth the bother of reviewing. But this time why not? It’s an amiable bit of fluff if nothing else.

Our hero shoots his housemate dead (I don’t know why but the rat must have had it coming to him otherwise how are we going to identify with the protagonist?). He spends the rest of the film fending off a sequence of callers at the front door (tip for domestic murderers – always bury the body before you advertise his room in the paper).

The first knock on the door of any interest is from Belinda (Alba Valeria). She has what I call the Latin American Revolutionary look (at least until I can think of something more snappy (chic guevara maybe?)). She is soon stepping out of her “combat fatigues” and standing by the umbrella stand in her pants gabbling too fast to understand and making frantic hand gestures. I have a vain hope she is explaining herself.

Meanwhile next door there appears to have been a mix-up as two lads are photographing two naked young lovelies without any film in their cameras. Without even any cameras in fact! Oh dear, some girls are so naïve.

So that was sort of alright, who’s next at the door? We’re in luck, it’s Helena Ramos selling Bibles! And wearing glasses too – why can’t she always be so demure? Helena takes longer than the last one but eventually, after a certain amount of pantomiming with the corpse (sorry sick relative) from our hero, seems to have got the idea she can kip down in the hallway. So we have a shy striptease complete with old-fashioned girdle and suspenders. Nice but I wish she’d left her specs till last. And so it goes on.

This farce is fairly typical of the Brazilian sex comedy fare of the time, a shortlived genre called pornochanchada. Most were cheaply made using location filming and little if any support from original music, action sequences or special effects departments. Nevertheless at its best the results stand comparison with popular European cinema of a few years earlier. Jean Garret made sophisticated pastiche Euro-style psychodramas, while Ody Fraga developed an indigenous comic style of gentle absurdity. Crazy Crazy Day is cheaper and clumsier than the average, being essentially an old-fashioned farce set mostly in a domestic hallway, but has an innocent easy-going appeal.

Crazy – Um Dia Muito Louco clip with Helena Ramos

Helena Ramos in Crazy - Um Dia Muito Louco Helena Ramos in Crazy - Um Dia Muito Louco Helena Ramos in Crazy - Um Dia Muito Louco

Rating:   ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 2/5

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“Crazy – Um Dia Muito Louco” “Helena Ramos” “Victor Lima” “pornochanchada”
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Vidas Nuas (Ody Fraga, Brazil, 1967)

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Vidas-Nuas-f84048654-005There are some films so strange in style and outlook they seem to be the creation of a visitor from another planet.  The cult horror The Curious Dr. Humpp (1969) from Argentina is one, and this an early piece from Brazil’s master of the sex comedy Ody Fraga is another.

Vidas-Nuas-f84048654-008The setting, a wealthy urban household, with a love-starved daughter, amorous step-father and adulterous wife, is clichéd enough. But as we meet the family for the first time in their sitting room one evening we find the treatment is exquisitely off-key. They lounge like statues in ostensibly normal but indefinably odd places and postures. The contrast of the lighting is so stark film noir turns into gothic, Mannerisms are so stiffly odd that answering the telephone becomes an exercise in absurdity. The husband passes the receiver straight to his wife without even listening – “It’s for you”.

Vidas-Nuas-f84048654-006The sexy teenage daughter (Nelcy Martins) is coiffed oddly enough to be the prototype for Eraserhead. Alone in her room she cradles her enormous teddy bear, but like a lover or like a baby? Meanwhile, beyond the cocoon of domestic security, streets yawn as cavernously as something from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. In the naked city lives are laid bare…

Ody Fraga was always an odd sort, but I’ve never known him odder than here. Watching his later Pornochanchadas you tend to notice something about them is wrong, but you can’t tell exactly what. It’s a puzzler. And then you realise – people are taking far too long to walk to their cars or cross over the street!!. There are other things too. Occasional overdone gestures, out of focus scenes, or crazy point-of-view shots. Sex scenes are bizarrely fetishistic, and the lovers go outdoors naked in the middle for fag breaks.

Vidas-Nuas-f84048654-002It’s easy to put these Odyisms down to incompetence and go and watch something else. But Fraga knew exactly what he was doing: showing us his outlook on life, namely an inability to take anything entirely seriously. And he was very good with his actresses, especially the plain or odd-looking ones, getting the most out of them by encouraging their natural eccentricities.

Vidas Nuas depends much more on visual style than his later works. Florid strings on the soundtrack contrast with an interloping pop band, girls shaking their heads almost convulsively to the beat. Watching is like entering a dream world, and spotting the many incongruities can provoke guffaws of laughter.

Vidas-Nuas-f84048654-007 Vidas-Nuas-f84048654-001 Vidas-Nuas-f84048654-009 Vidas-Nuas-f84048654-004 Vidas-Nuas-f84048654-003 Vidas-Nuas-f84048654-010

Rating:   ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 5/5

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“Vidas Nuas” “Ody Fraga” “Nelcy Martins”
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