Obra

84 minutes 2014

New
In this debut feature by Brazilian writer-director Gregorio Graziosi, a stylish architect (Júlio Andrade) in São Paolo is alerted by his crew to the skeletal remains of human beings that have been unearthed on the grounds of a construction site for a building he has designed. The appearance of these skeletons causes a chain of events that lead to the architect reflecting on his own mortality and his impending fatherhood. Shot entirely in crisp black and white, the film is a visual marvel, with Graziosi and cinematographer André Brandão somehow making the claustrophobia of Sao Paolo feel open and expansive—a hospital waiting room feels as large as a warehouse, or an apartment hallway looks as if it stretches for miles. Scenes transpire slowly and with minimal dialogue, but more often than not such pacing is dry and nearly interminable. This is the kind of film whose "meditative" qualities seem to be a smoke screen for a lack of story or ideas. In Portuguese with subtitles.

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