This is a film where going in knowing as little as possible is a real bonus - so if you think you might be interested in a gory South American neo-western (and why wouldn't you be?), stop reading now.
The very first shot is a disquieting one - like A Matter of Life and Death, the film opens with a pan across the galaxy before finding Earth, and homing on the subject of the film, the titular town of Bacurau. A small town located in the Brazilian outback, it is a close-knit community that manages to stay relatively isolated from the jurisdiction and influence of the country at large, even after the failed efforts of the local mayor, and it is the solidarity and history of the community that ends up being tested as the narrative becomes wilder.
Even in the countryside idyll of the town, strange occurrences begin to signal that things aren't quite what they seem. The peace is upset by the death of the village matriarch and some hostility towards a woman who has recently returned to Bacurau (Bárbara Colen), and these lead to some arresting images: a truckload of coffins spilling out onto the road, neon-suited bikers, an alien-looking drone.
And then when the residents discover that their village has been removed off GPS maps, the film veers onto a very different path, and a very unstable one at that. Safe to say, without ruining any surprises, that from a low-key realist opening, the touchstones reveal themselves to be genre films - there is a lot of Western in the mix, think Sergio Leone with touches of the trippy madness of Jodorowsky, and perhaps even the compulsive paranoid thrill of someone like John Carpenter. With an uproarious turn from the fabulous Udo Kier thrown into the mix, it's a terrifically fun ride - there is substance there too, with the small town standing against the big government influence, and later a larger, more sinister influence too, but it's subtext that is there if you look for it. If you want to be swept along on a journey of satisfyingly nasty genre thrills, you will be totally satisfied too.
Screenings of this film:
|2020/2021 Autumn Term – (digital)|