I read an interview with the director, Kleber Mendonca Filho, of this film where he was talking about how he felt like all the Brazilian films of note in recent years are set in the favelas. He wanted to show there was more to Brazilian life than what was shown in those films.
On that front, he definitely succeeded with his debut film. He also succeeded visually. The film looks great. And the interlocking stories set on one block are all pretty interesting. The characters are well written and the situations that arise are fascinating. At times, I felt like this was kind of like a Brazilian A Separation in its brilliant depiction of class differences.
Unfortunately it didn't completely come together for me. I understand (or think I understand) some of what Filho was going for. Perhaps I just don't know enough about Brazilian history but some of the major plot developments seemed a little underwritten to me.
Still, as a first film, this was very good. I keep thinking about different moments in this film and the characters. I'm definitely curious to see what Filho does with his next movie.
Directed by Kleber Mendonca Filho