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Description du produit
Enfant de l'élite bourgeoise de Rio de Janeiro, Jean a 17 ans. Tandis que ses parents luttent pour cacher leur banqueroute, il prend peu à peu conscience des contradictions qui rongent sa ville et sa famille.
Enfant de l'élite bourgeoise de Rio de Janeiro, Jean a 17 ans. Tandis que ses parents luttent pour cacher leur banqueroute, il prend peu à peu conscience des contradictions qui rongent sa ville et sa famille.Voir l'ensemble des Description du produit
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I'm guessing if you're reading this far, you are all in. Good. Open Netflix, and watch this in your home theatre on a Friday night with friends.
Most people in America don't understand the significance of a large home with full mod-coms, in a secluded area of a pricey neighbourhood, not because they can't imagine it, but because it's easy to. But what is imaginable in America, is a dream in most of Brazil. So, to make Casa Grande comprehensible, imagine this story is taking place in Easthampton, in a Grey Gardens-type manse, except it's not the 70s, but the 40s. The paint is not chipped yet, and there are no cats on the bed, but you can see its long slog to decay already. It's bad. And it's going to get worse.
The house itself is an extra character in the film, and that's because Casa Grande, or Big House, has several layers of meaning -- such as the big house itself. But another relates to a famous sociological study called "Casa Grande e Senzala", a seminal study in boss-employee/ex-slave relationships in Brazil. Our Casa Grande has plenty of interplay between the owner of the house, his possible affairs with staff (the droit de seigneur which many landed and rich men avail themselves of, then and now), and how he pays them for their labour, as well as his family's treatment of their servants. But the story is deeper since not all the servants are free from their own foibles, and sins. In a world where the rich are hated, it reminds one that the working-classes aren't innocent lambs either. Reality is like that. It's not politically correct. It's honest.
If you read half my review, you'd never know this story is putatively about a Carioca kid who discovers his first serious love on a bus. That's because the coming-of-age angle is just the hook. Once again, it's more layered. He's on a bus because his dad's hedge fund business is collapsing. The family's Nordestino chauffeur who drove the lad daily to Brazil's Eton College (São Bento, in downtown Rio, one hour away) has gone missing. The boy accepts his changed circumstances with a kind of angelic grace, not just because he's a polite, well-brought up kid, but because he's a genuinely decent sort, the kind any parent would be happy to call their own. Even his crush on the maid is sweet, more than pervy.
Soon, he finds another crush, this one more his age, but not of his racial or social background.
Now you may have heard that Brazil is a "racial paradise" (Brazilians love using this phrase) and compared to other countries in the Americas, it is. But again, there are layers of truths to it. In a country where 40% have some black inside them, you won't find any black Brazilian Presidents, admirals, few jurists, just one black Senator; not even a black Brazilian soccer manager of the National Team. The world of the Zona Sul is lilly-white socially.
The only time you would have a chance to meet others not of your race or background is if they worked for you -- or street encounters. That's where our teen protagonist meets this combative, well-spoken public school girl who raises his pique, as well as other things. The young girl, who self-describes as Parda (mocha-coloured, mixed race), has a bright future ahead of her, due to the Brazilian Supreme Court making racial quotas the law in all universities. This has caused enormous comment within Brazil, with the usual tug-of-war between supporters of "fairness", and those opposed on the basis of lowering "standards". Despite her inferior education, but not inferior mind, she will be assured of going to the same university as her boyfriend, and that's probably what allows her to lower her resistance to this playboy (Brazilians use this to mean rich boy, not just for a playa). She's proud, and when she meets the kid's parents at their BBQ, she will let them have it with both barrels, something which is both incredibly rude for a guest to do, and incredibly rare to see in Brazil. She may be educated, but she's not "educada".
Casa Grande is a film of subtlety, and tensions. If you're not alive to noticing details, half the film will be lost to you. You'll probably walk away by minute 40, like others apparently do. But if you stick with it, the full force of this movie will come crashing down on your own bourgeois existence. That's another kind of coming-of-age in the era of the Great Recession, after all.