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Thursday, December 14, 2006

To the Left of the Father

Posted on Thu, Dec 14, 2006 at 4:00 AM

To the Left of the Father
Studio: Kino Video
Rated: NONE
WorkNameSort: To the Left of the Father
A young man escapes a strict pious upbringing by fornicating with his sister and fleeing his residence, only to return to his farm home years later for a turbulent reunion in this first feature from Brazilian television director Luiz Fernando Carvalho. To the Left of the Father runs almost three hours, but its style is more of a meditative, Alexander Sokurov'like character study than an expansive epic. It's based on an acclaimed novel by Raduan Nassar, and much of the film's poetic narration is presumably lifted from it, using the passage of time and its excruciating repercussions as a recurring motif. With his tactile, exquisitely detailed imagery and mastery of montage, Carvalho juxtaposes quiet languor with unexpected emotional breakdowns, at times reaching the startling immediacy of horror. Selton Mello's soul-searing performance as the incestuously disturbed leading character is an uncomfortably authentic revelation. A 12-minute interview with Carvalho reveals him to harbor a Robert Bressonian capacity for cinematic philosophy as much as talent.

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