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A brooding ranch hand from southern Brazil infiltrates Rio's upperclass party scene and winds up in a steamy affair with a flighty painter that threatens to undermine his agenda of slow-boiling street justice in Paulo Pons's Revenge, a queasy mix of erotic thriller and social criticism that plays Thursday 10/15 in the Chicago International Film Festival.
A southerner transplanted to Rio himself, Pons shot on raw-looking digital video on a $50,000 budget, riding the tension between Revenge's lurid exploitation streak and his high-minded aim to illuminate cultural contrasts between Brazil's north and south, urban and rural, rich and poor. No one winds up looking too good as the hesitant hero is torn between the brutal, archaic impulses of his roots and his hedonistic new home.
Revenge screens Thursday 10/15 at 3 PM at AMC River East, 322 E. Illinois. $5.