Southwest | Chicago Reader

Southwest

Pristine black-and-white cinematography offsets the griminess of a Brazilian fishing village in this magical-realist fable. After attending the deathbed of a pregnant woman, an elderly midwife rows a baby girl to her shack in the middle of a vast lake. When the child matures, she escapes to the mainland and, through her encounters with a bereaved family, passes from girlhood to old age in a single day. Director Eduardo Nunes raises many questions but answers none of them: whether the girl is the daughter, ghost, reincarnation, or final thought of the dead mother is left open to interpretation. The pleasures of the film reside in its dreamlike quality and languid pacing; the overall sensation is that of drifting, course unknown, like a boat on that possibly enchanted lake. In Portuguese with subtitles.

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