Have you heard of “Bacurau?” This movie wandered into my reality through the Alamo Drafthouse streaming page. I was looking to support a Bay Area theater and figured I’d give it shot. What else am I going to do? Leave the house? What a great surprise. This strange, unsettling, trippy, film about a Brazilian town under siege quietly lured me in, shook me around and released me at the other end, feeling satisfied and disoriented. It’s tense and taut, smart and nuts, fast and slow. The story took several unexpected turns, demanding my attention. It was a great discovery and an unexpected surprise. And it made me wonder, and worry, how many OTHER unexpected pleasures are out there? How many great movies exist that I’ve never heard of? The answer: A lot!! So, why am I watching “How to Be Single” with Dakota Johnson on HBO again? (Just kidding, I know why I’m watching…Dakota Johnson rules!)
But where are the other “Bacuraus?” How can I find strange, offbeat cinema just waiting to creep into my consciousness? And more importantly once I do find these movies, how can I talk to my friends and family about them?
There are so many movies that fall outside of a comfortable, normal-movie-discussion with regular people (aka Not Film Geeks). When people casually ask me what movies I’ve seen, I freeze. I almost always draw a blank, which makes for scintillating conversation. Why is that? I’m old and can’t remember stuff. AND I feel uncomfortable being honest about some of the weird shit I watch. Whether it’s gory horror movies, super low budget indie chat fests or a movie like “Bacurau,” it’s almost easier to NOT bring it up in conversation. No one has ever heard of these movies. And what does it say about me? That I’m a movie snob who can’t talk with regular people about movies. I’ve known too many people who embrace that persona, attempting to one-up friends and family with their obscure movie knowledge. I really hate those people. It’s a complicated problem.
Anyway, I loved “Bacurau” and apparently, I wasn’t alone. After extensive research on Wikipedia I learned that “Bacurau” was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, and won the Jury Prize! This suggests that I’m not the only person who has seen this movie and I probably should find new friends. Cool film nerd friends who want to talk about excellent foreign films. Maybe we can smoke cigarettes and drink cappuccinos.
The film is just a run-of-the-mill story of a very small, very intimate Brazilian town that comes under siege by… aliens? blood-thirsty foreigners? the Government? No spoilers here, I’ll let you experience this flick with a beginner’s mind. The unpredictable action generates a puzzle that’s thrilling and profound at once. People who are more educated about Brazilian culture and politics than me, (aka most people) will surely find layers of meaning that went over, under and through my head.
So, the moral of this story is that it’s important to expand one’s horizons. To embrace the unknown. To watch foreign cinema.
Man cannot live on Dakota Johnson movies alone.
I give it 16 out of 22!