Dave White
Antonia Review

Dave's Rating:

4.5

… a little too much melodrama …

Who's in It: Negra Li, Cindy Mendes, Leilah Moreno, Jacqueline Simão

The Basics: Four young Brazilian women see their hip-hop dreams slip away as they face poverty, violence, interpersonal struggle and male interference. It's kind of like Dreamgirls but without all the sparkly outfits, histrionic songs, crying, wigs and fun. That's because it's Brazil, and if you've seen the everyone-is-miserable-in-São Paolo documentary Manda Bala, then you know what a mess that place is.

What's the Deal? Now when I say no fun, I don't mean that the movie sucks. I mean that the characters are having no fun and that this post-City of God account of what a drag it is to be poor in Brazil is a really intimately focused account of that life. In fact, speaking of City of God, this movie is produced by the same people who made that one; but Antonia makes City look like the messy piece of glamour-violence and exploitation it actually is.

Who's Responsible: Writer/director Tata Amaral and co-screenwriter Roberto Moreira. Amaral is one of her country's most critically acclaimed young filmmakers. She also made the 1997 movie Um Céu de Estrelas.

What Could Be Better: It does a little too much melodramatizing for its own good as you see the all-female band (called Antônia) go through pretty intense stuff that would break up just about any group, frankly. Even Metallica. Even Metallica with its tour therapist in tow. And in reality, most groups, probably even Brazilian ones, just break up because someone got lazy or a swelled head or a lame drug habit — not because the world conspires against them.

Music Verdict: Not bad, which helps. It'd be harder to root for them if they were the Brazilian answer to the Pussycat Dolls. And they do a nice cover of "Killing Me Softly."

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