Celeste & Estrela | Chicago Reader

Celeste & Estrela

Managing both to send up and suffer from cultural imperialism, Betse de Paula's fluffy Brazilian romantic comedy (2003) shamelessly borrows from Woody Allen (most blatantly the lobster scene from Annie Hall) and various American movies as it follows the screwball love affair between Celeste, an obsessed indie filmmaker (Dira Paes), and a chubby bureaucrat (Fabio Nassar) who vets scripts for state funding. Celeste's drive to encapsulate 500 years of Brazilian national history in one politically correct epic leads her to touchy-feely drama workshops and Hollywood screenplay gurus while her movie-within-a-movie's characters break the fourth wall to add asides. Meanwhile, her long-suffering lover's support raises the question of machismo's status in the new Brazil. In Portuguese with subtitles. 96 min.

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