Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Pirates of Whimsy

A Espada e a Rosa (2010) - Nicolau
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Manuel (Manuel Mesquita) says goodbye to his ordinary life in the city to join pirates, a knick-knack of characters who are his long time friends. He brought on-board a mysterious substance called Plutex that some mad German scientists invented as a gift. The highly volatile substance helps when they are pirating, making their victims to freeze in motion or even disappear. It's a good, free life filled with nightly dances, music and wine. But a treason among them breaks the group's happy-go-lucky mode and they have to resort to kidnapping various types of people- pretty fair skinned French girl, skinny, short German man, a Lebanese girl and so on for the enjoyment of a all too powerful Prospero-like old man whom the group owes favor to. João Nicolau's whimsical comedy includes a singing tax collector, no-budget animation sequences, philosophical musings, lots of dance and a lot of non-sensical humor. It doesn't quite justify its 2 hour 20 minute runtime and the charm kinda wears off mid-way. In tradition of no-budget Portuguese comedies of Miguel Gomes, João Nicolau doesn't lack ideas, but his sensibilities are more suited for episodic TV or shorts.

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