Among the many marvelous things about Brazilian filmmaker Kleber Mendonça Filho’s drama—about a slow-burn battle between a woman and the construction company trying to drive her from her home—is that its two and a half hours fly by; every moment is beautifully necessary. Clara (Sonia Braga), a retired music critic and a longtime widow, is the last resident left in the elegant old building on an urban seaside boulevard. Everyone else has been bought out by the developers who want to toss up a modern residential skyscraper, and now they’re trying to make living there as difficult as possible for her. The amazing Braga makes Clara burn with a fierce intelligence and a lively sensuality, and her contest of wills becomes a backdrop for a meditation on aging, home, memory, family—the rich tapestry of experience and hope and relationships that make up a life—that sprawls across decades, yet is deeply intimate. As the extraordinarily conceived ending suggests, with startling beauty and insight, a home is an extension of our bodies, and hence not easily thrown off. This is a stunning film—haunting, wise and unforgettable.
Director: Kleber Filho
Producer: Saïd Ben Saïd, Emilie Lesclaux and Michel Merkt
Cast: Sonia Braga, Jeff Rosick, Irandhir Santos, Buda Lira, Barbara Colen, Pedro Queiroz, Germano Melo, Maeve Jinkings, Humberto Carrão, Fernando Teixeira, Carla Ribas, Julia Bernat, Paula De Renor and Daniel Porpino