Sunday, September 12, 2010

Chico Xavier

This biopic addresses the life of the most famous Brazilian medium ever. Francisco Cândido Xavier could talk to spirits since he was a child and despite the difficulties this brought to him, he dedicated his life to being the ultimate "ghost writer," passing down messages from the dead to the living. In the process, Chico Xavier became a center figure in the Spiritist movement in Brazil.
Released this year in Brazil (8 years after Chico's death), the movie is exceptionally directed and acted. The cast is loaded with soap opera superstars and Christiane Torloni gives a particularly riveting performance as a mother waiting for news from her dead son.
Director Daniel Filho does a great job of recreating the backwoods of rural Brazil and Chico's height of popularity in the 60s and 70s. The characterization of the actors who interpret Chico in different ages is also spot-on.
Nélson Xavier, Daniel Filho e Ângelo Antônio

The movie is ingenious in framing its narrative around Chico's famous 1971 appearance on live television when he was grilled by reporters and the public on all kinds of different topics regarding the spiritual world and the human condition.
The movie never loses sight of its protagonist, a special man who wasn't without faults. It feels real. Meanwhile, this year's Nosso Lar ("Our Home," based on a seminal Spiritist book that describes life after death) looks more science fiction than esoteric philosophy.

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