Lavoura Arcaica | Chicago Reader

Lavoura Arcaica

This 2002 Brazilian melodrama, based on Raduan Nassar's novel about a Lebanese farm family in Brazil at the turn of the 20th century and known in English as To the Left of the Father, focuses on the conflict between freedom and family traditions. Andre, a prodigal son who's fled his authoritarian father and a secret affair with a sister, is persuaded to return home by a brother. Director Luiz Fernando Carvalho's taut compositions turn rooms into prisons, underscoring the tension between the father's repressiveness and Andre's tortured sexuality, and the baroque lighting effects add an air of unreality. But this stab at Freudian epic, with its shifting times and often confusing structure, doesn't completely cohere. In Portuguese with subtitles. 170 min.

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