Serra Pelada / Bald Mountain
directed by Heitor Dhalia (Brazil)
395 Wellington, National Archives
18th Latin American Film Festival
1980s Brazil was a time of ridiculous short shorts and a crazy gold rush. Desperate times plus desperate measures equals riveting plot fodder, which in this case, makes for grand cinema. Bald Mountain follows two lifelong friends who flee harsh city life in hopes of striking it rich. The good quickly turns bad, which in turn evolves into truly ugly. In their own microcosm world, the miners scurry about the mountain like dispensable ants in search of that elusive nugget, turning the area into an upside down pyramid. Factions are drawn, borders are created, neighbours turn bullies, bullies turn dictators, and war is declared. Life exists solely on the mountain and the adjoining shantytown of carnal carnage.
Filmed in full blown epic glory, Bald Mountain is a monumental film that cleverly showcases the vulgur excesses of the eighties with a gold mad Brazil, by focussing on a brotherly relationship that is tested by survival, greed, betrayal and loyalty. This is a huge, colourful, tense, sexy, sweaty, bold movie, that rivals the many Hollywood gangster flicks it bows to, and a great splash to open the festival.
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