The Heart's Root

A maddening musical farce about sexual politics, this 2001 feature from veteran Portuguese director Paulo Rocha concerns a right-wing candidate for mayor of Lisbon (Luis Miguel Cintra) who leads a clandestine life: he's had an affair with his father's mistress, a madam-pornographer (Isabel Ruth), and he's in love with her young transsexual photographer. Out in the streets the black-clad militia cracks down on drag queens, a duel portrayed as a Felliniesque carnival. Ultimately the film is too far-fetched, disjointed, and confused about its own motives to be damning. In Portuguese with subtitles. 115 min.

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