Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Lives of Quiet Desperation ...May 25 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
Mango Yellow provides a look into the lower class life in Brazil in the city of Recife. There is a surreal atmosphere to the film because the characters are eccentric and exaggerated to emphasize certain aspects of their behavior and personalities. It is a film which allows raw expressions of feeling by those who are on the economic edge of life. The viewer is first introduced to a waitress who may also be the bar owner.. She is tired of her job and the lifestyle she leads but continues on ... providing philosophical treatistes while she serves her customers their favorite beverage. Her bar is the local hang out for many people. She fights off the sexual advances of her customers while also testing her sexuality and appeal ... They come to her rescue when she is challenged by a new customer, not one of her regulars.
The viewer is introduced to several residents and employees at the Texas Hotel which is a seedy run down place, the only home to several unique characters. Isaac, also called "the German" has a peculiar fetish and obsession. It is very bizarre ... There is a lonely, elderly retired asthmatic woman named Aurora, who recalls her life during more exciting times. There is a gay cook named Dunga, who has the 'hots" for a heterosexual butcher named Wellington whom he knows he can not "have"... Wellington is shown doing his work at the local slaughterhouse where a cow is killed and butchered, all of which is graphcally shown. The gay cook knows Wellington is cheating on his wife Kika. Wellington is very proud that his wife is a very religious Evangelical Christian. She reveals during a discussion at dinner that although she can forgive just about anything, the thing she absolutely can not tolerate is infidelity. Dunga wants to create trouble in Wellington's marriage when he realizes he will never have a relationship the way he would like with Wellington. The cook sends an anonymous note to Kika, telling her about a rendevous between her husband and his lover, he provides the time and the location.
It is at this point in the film when everything heats up and comes to a climax, literally and figurately. The owner of the Texas Hotel is discovered dead, likely of natural causes. Dunga is the only one who cares enough to find the priest and try to provide him a decent funeral and burial. Wellington is caught by his wife ... cheating with his lover. Kika engages in a most shocking un-Christian action. After this event, she walks home but is offered a ride by Isaac who happens to be driving by. The two of them engage in some very needy sexual behavior. The film concludes with the camera recording different people who live in the neighborhood going about their lives in their usual manner ... with some unsual musical accompaniment. This film records the desperate lives of people who live on the edge of survival and who have very little hope. It provides a glimpse into the bleak existence of many well fleshed out characters whose lives are very twisted and troubled ...This film will not appeal to everyone but viewers who like a strong film which makes a bold statement about life within a narrow part of the globe will appreciate this creative impression on celluloid left by the Brazilian director Claudio Assis. Erika Borsos [pepper flower]
23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
The prison of Northeastern poverty seen through the panopticon of Southeastern cinemaDec 7 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
This movie is part of an ongoing trend in Brazilian cinema (and arts) - the artistic representation of the low brow poor (in this case northeastern) other for the consumption of the high brow modern Brazilian art consumer. It is a motif of Brazilian art that goes at least as far back as Aluizio Azevedo's depictions of 19th century poor people in Casa de Pensao and o Cortico (and includes paintings by Portinari and books by authors like Graciliano Ramos). When done right, I suppose such art serves to bridge the gap between the represented other - the Sertanejo, the urban poor, the nordestino - and the art consumer - the urban Paulistano or Carioca moviegoer or book reader. When done right, the sophisticated, urban Brazilian consumer might feel more empathy with and sympathy for the social classes whose very selection as the object of artistic representation is testament to great distance that separates such modern, urban Brazilians from the people whose lives are represented in such films and books.
But this film does it all wrong. Every character in the film produces a certain repulsion in the viewer. We are shown the grotesque private perversions of each character, their crude habits, lack of manners, lack of morals, and secret fantasies - there is the necrophiliac, the drunken leftists, the girl who never wears panties, the girl whose sexual fantasies include raping a man with a hair brush handle, the uncontrollably faithless and disloyal husband, the corrupt city bureacrat, the ridiculously stereotyped gay cook, the hotel owner who uses his underwear as a wallet, the old lady who masturbates with an oxygen machine, the girl who can only form sexual and emotional attachments to married men... the list goes on. The style of the plotting was very Altman-esque, but that where Robert Altman sought to give a cross-section of society in "Short Cuts", here we are left with Azevedo's "O Cortico" recreated as the "Texas Hotel" and "Avenida Bar" in the 21st century. This movie is just a widening of the psychological gap between rich and poor, nordestino and Paulistano/carioca, a gap that continues to warp Brazilian social life. It is disappointing to see artists reinforce so many stereotypes in their art.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Rotten "Mango"July 30 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
I chose not to finish this film after viewing about half of it. The endless parade of people speaking and acting badly was too depressing to continue. If the objective of the makers of this film was to portray how poverty corrupts people they had more than amply demonstrated their point. They seemed to deliberately exclude any characters with any positive qualities which would have lifted it beyond the merely cynical. These characters seem trapped in a particularly seedy part of Recife and reduced to swearing, putting people down, grabbing at each others' body parts, and indulging in perverse pleasures. Most offensive was the portrayal of a bitchy, sex obsessed gay man by Matteus Nachtergal, an sensitive actor I have enjoyed in other roles. The caricature rang false, as if under the guide of sympathy was really a brutal homophobic putdown. Gorky's The Lower Depths, at least as filmed by Kurosawa, showed characters with more depth and character for all their poverty. This is all surface with characters chosen for what they represent, e.g. "the jaded waitress, the gay cook, etc..".. I doubt whether the Global Film Institute accomplished its goal of promoting "cross-cultural understanding" with this film. I've lived in Brazil. I am embarrassed for my friends there if this were promoted as a sensitive portrayal of them. I generally try to finish a film and avoid judging the whole by the half. If these characters started to do things that redeemed them in the second half of the film it would be a violation of what happened in the first half. I regret having wasted my money buying this film and have more constructive things to do with my time than try to finish it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Day In The Life: A Lot Happens, But What Does It All Really Mean?Aug. 17 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
2002's "Mango Yellow" represents one day in the lives of a diverse group of interconnected characters. It's fair to say that no one is particularly likable, and that might limit your emotional connection to the movie--but the actors are good and the various plot threads are well integrated. At the end of the day, there isn't a big message of import. The film is content to just showcase one day much like any other. There is drama, comedy, death, adultery, seduction, and a alluring wildness to the proceedings. The film kept me fitfully entertained even if it doesn't amount to a whole lot. Ultimately, though, that's kind of the point. KGHarris, 8/11.
A hotel, a bar, and the people who inhabit themSept. 23 2014
- Published on Amazon.com
With its good acting, writing, and production the movie itself warranted four stars, but Amazon's presentation of this movie on Instant Video is incredibly poor resolution. Not even 480p quality. If you're watching it using your Prime account this might be acceptable, but someone actually paying for the movie individually would want to take that into account.
Amazon's blurb says this movie will shock you. I guess that depends on the viewer and their sensitivity to various topics. But I wouldn't say the movie was particularly shocking in this era of hyper-violent cinema (I'm looking at you, Tarantino). For me the most surprising scene was the apparently-genuine and less-than-humane slaughtering of a cow. Otherwise, the presumably shocking elements involve some relatively brief and non-explicit violence, and characters with socially deviant but mostly-harmless proclivities.
More to the point, the story, which follows a large ensemble of characters through a full day and night, offers a compelling look at "the other side". Other reviewers have interpreted the film as a portrait of life in a poor Brazilian neighborhood, perhaps as part of a longer trend of the entitled using the poverty-stricken for entertainment. I wouldn't know anything about that specifically, not being Brazilian and knowing nothing of their cultural art history.
What I do know is that the characters are archetypes to be sure, and yet are written with some depth. With the broad spectrum of the story, we don't learn everything we want to know by the end of the film. But we do get to know these people with at least some intimacy, beyond the simple stereotypes that might be provided in a less-artfully crafted film. And there's a finely-presented philosophy commenting on the tension between the day-to-day sameness of one's life, the pros and cons of events that would disturb that sameness, and even the individual's perception of that sameness.
"Mango Yellow" gives us something to think about after it's all over, and that's to its great credit.