'Found Memories' - Movie Review

(Original title: "Historias que so existem quando lembradas.")

Possibly the most glacially paced movie I've ever seen. The movie first introduces us to Madalena (Sonia Guedes) and Antonio (Luiz Serra), two elderly people living in a nearly abandoned town in Brazil (Wikipedia claims the town name is Jotuomba, although I'm not sure where they got that - but then, the movie is in Brazilian Portuguese so I watched it with English subs). She brings her bread to his coffee shop, they put the bread away, he makes coffee, they sit on a bench and drink the coffee, all somewhat ritualistically while occasionally casually insulting each other and demonstrating a friendship of many years. And to make sure you get it, the scene is repeated with minor variations the next day. The town population is approximately 10, and life there is set in a series of rituals: baking bread early in the morning, morning coffee, Mass at the church, a meal at the Church. Slowly, so slowly. Although the director had a superb cinematographer on hand to somewhat ease the pain of the molasses-in-winter pace: more than half the shots in the film are static works of art, just beautiful to look at. After 20 minutes of this, a young woman ("Rita," played by Lisa Fávero) walks into town along the abandoned rail line: she's a photographer, and takes up residence at Madalena's house. Unsurprisingly, her presence causes an upset to the rhythms and relationships of the place. But don't expect the scenes or plot to pick up speed just because someone young is in frame.

The conclusion is one of those sad/appropriate/beautiful things, a surprisingly satisfying (and unexpected, at least by me) ending to a slow journey. Although it was significantly marred by the lack of English subtitles on the final sentence of the film. Given that it was the only sentence in the scene AND the final line of the movie, it was intensely frustrating and left me wondering what I'd missed. Was it nothing but "thank you," or was it some deeply moving statement, or was it something that completely changed the meaning of the movie? I have no damn idea.

I can't whole-heartedly recommend the movie because it was so damn slow. But if you don't have a problem with that it's a really beautiful movie to look at and has a plot that will leave you thinking.