Aquarius

Aquarius

Its gentrification game of ethical tug-of-war is knottier and more nuanced than Little Men, to be certain, but this played to me like a sister to those Huppert-starring dramas last year. Mendonça Filho's formal prowess and empathetic script paint little sketches of a woman's life until we're left with an enveloping mosaic that Sônia Braga sells with aplomb. I like that Braga's Dona is clearly nostalgic but not overbearingly so, an attribute reflected in the sparingly used, though extremely effective 70s-indebted zooms. 2016 has given me another film that sounds generic on paper only to be rejuvenated by an arrhythmic, gently abstract approach. The political hoopla surrounding Aquarius in its native Brazil only augments the powerful, jarring closing moments. Cannes 2016 was off the chain.

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