Writer-director Sergio Bianchi is an incendiary sociopolitical figure in his native Brazil, which has produced more than its share of highly outspoken filmmakers. In his latest work a pessimistic outlook pervades virtually every human transaction, creating a discomfiting and at times claustrophobic sense of reality. Bianchi's restless camera traverses disparate regions of the country as it follows the exploits of six principal characters, including Luis, the owner of a trendy restaurant in Sao Paulo; Alfredo, a well-known writer who's on a quixotic journey around the country, trying to understand why Brazil has deteriorated into a cruel, exploitative social experiment; and Adam, a Polish emigre with a jaundiced outlook on labor-management relations. To Bianchi's credit, everyone's fair game as he meticulously itemizes the failings of his country—liberals and members of the labor movement are no less foolish in their cultural myopia than their right-wing counterparts. But he never takes the easy way out by resorting to hopelessness; rather he somehow hangs on to the possibility of rebirth, as witnessed in the breathtaking final scene. This tough, thought-provoking film should not be missed. In Portuguese with subtitles. 101 min.