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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Brazil’s ‘Bacurau’ is not for the faint of heart

Dan Webster

One of the movies that the Magic Lantern is planning to stream on Friday (in coordination with Film Movement) is a strange little offering from Brazil titled "Bacurau."

Let's just say that the film, which co-written and directed by Juliano Dornelles and Kleber Mendonça Filho, is a throwback to the days of Roger Corman. The production values are far better, and Corman was never one to explore politics (not intentionally). But the way this film's story develops — well, I wasn't surprised at all when Udo Kier appeared on the scene.

In short, "Bacurau" takes place in a rural Brazilian village. A young woman returns home to attend the burial of her recently deceased grandmother only to confront an ongoing problem. The village is short on water, it's cut off from the outside world — likely intentionally — and a sense of dread takes hold when someone takes pot shots at the truck delivering the much-needed water.

It's easy to see the political implications in all this, especially in a Brazil controlled by those who consider power and money more important than the environment and people.

But nothing develops in a normal manner. Characters act irrationally, the town can't be accessed on Google Maps, the night holds dangers (even for, warning for the sensitive, children), the two-faced local politician shows up bearing a fake smile and even faker promises — and all of this goes on even as a team of hired killers led by Kier's demented character begins to descend.

"Bacurau" is not for the timid viewer. And more than one critic has credited John Carpenter for influencing theta of  Dornelles and Filho. But I was reminded more of the Corman who gave us such exploitation fodder as "Bucket of Blood" and "The Wld Angels."

Some of my movie-fan friends will enjoy themselves immensely. Others? Beware.