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Lower City (2005)

Alice Braga , Wagner Moura , Sérgio Machado  |  R |  DVD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Alice Braga, Wagner Moura, Lázaro Ramos, Maria Menezes, Joao Miguel Leonelli
  • Directors: Sérgio Machado
  • Writers: Sérgio Machado, Adriana Rattes, Gil Vicente Tavares, Karim Ainouz
  • Producers: Donald Ranvaud, Mauricio Andrade Ramos, Robert Bevan
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Portuguese (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Palm Pictures / Umvd
  • DVD Release Date: September 12, 2006
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000GNOGW4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #161,993 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Lower City" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Behind-the-scenes featurette
  • Deleted scenes
  • Cast rehearsal
  • U.S. theatrical trailer

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The rhythm of this film is a thing of beauty, quickening from wistful indolence to sudden shudders of action." -- Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

Product Description

Plot Outline: From the filmmakers who brought you CITY OF GOD and THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES, comes this sexy Brazilian drama chronicling a love triangle between two best friends, Deco and Naldinho (CARANDIRU’s Lázaro Ramos and Wagner Moura), and a sultry, beautiful young girl, Karinna (Alice Braga, CITY OF GOD). Burdened with unbridled passion, the threesome navigates the "lower city" of tropical Salvador Bahia, stumbling through a treacherous landscape of sex and jealousy. Suffocated and unable to go on, the three must accept one another as lovers, adversaries and ultimately friends; learning to overlook the defiance of their actions and joining one another down an unthinkable path. A startlingly intimate debut from director Sérgio Machado, LOWER CITY bursts with a sensuality and energy emanating from the unflinching performances of the vibrant young cast.

Editorial Reviews:

Sara Brady, Premiere Two lifelong friends, Deco and Naldinho, fall for the same lady of ill repute (City of God's Alice Braga) when she hitches a ride on their cargo boat in this steamy drama from Sergio Machado (the 2001 doc At the Edge of the Earth).

The Bottom Line: An even sexier take on Y Tu Mama Tambien, this time in Portuguese.

A.O Scott, NY Times . . the woman in question is Karinna, a dancer and prostitute played by Alice Braga (''City of God''), one of the most forthrightly and powerfully sexual screen actresses in the world. Ms. Braga, niece of the Brazilian actress Sonia Braga, brushes aside any hint of glamour and gives a tough, candid performance.

The look of ''Lower City'' is impressively naturalistic. Toca Seabra's cinematography makes the sweat and grit of Salvador almost palpable, and the music, by Carlinhos Brown and Beto Villares, provides a sweet, lusty throb.

DVD Features: · Making of featurette · Deleted scenes · US theatrical trailer · Palm Previews · Weblinks


Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
(10)
3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 'Lower City' will wear on you pretty quickly March 6, 2007
Format:DVD
The first six plot keywords in IMDB sum up - in an unintentionally humorous way - the essence of 'Lower City':

* Cockfighting
* Nudity
* Blood
* Sex
* Boat
* Prostitute

Yup, that's basically your entire movie right there. It's not the type of film you want to watch while your mother-in-law visits, because it's a real seat squirmer. In fact, another reviewer on these pages made mention of being at "Lower City's" premiere and passed along the observation that there was a lot of seat-squirming in the audience. No doubt.

While I think the film does a fantastic job showing depicting the squalid underbelly of a teeming Bahia, the 'plot' is sort of a loop of those key words - the characters have a boat; they meet a prostitute; they have sex on the boat; they go to a cockfight; they fight there and there's a lot of blood; they go back to the boat; they have sex; there's a fight; they have sex. At the end of the movie, they fight, there's a lot of blood, and the prostitute cleans them up. You get the idea.

I salute Alice Braga for her bravery here in this role. She really leaves nothing to the imagination. And I really liked Wagner Moura ('Naldinho'), who struck me as a Brazilian Mark Ruffalo, both in terms of looks (a striking resemblance) and acting chops. But, there's not much of a plot here. I think 'Lower City' will wear on you pretty quickly.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
I didn't know what to expect from the Brazilian film "Lower City." Having no preconceived notions, I was rather intrigued by the synopsis--"a prostitute comes between two lifelong friends." (That probably tells you more about me than I'd like to admit, huh?) Well, who says there isn't truth in advertising? If someone asked me to explain the plot of "Lower City," I'd say it was about a prostitute who comes between two lifelong friends. Perhaps expecting an overheated melodrama, I'd say that the film exceeded my expectations by being very naturalistic in style. The actors are likable and charming, the performances are good--but as a character driven drama, something still misses the mark.

With lurid settings, graphic content, and abundant nudity--"Lower City" attempts to depict a seamier side of life. But strangely, the film is hard to view as the gritty urban tale it might want to be. Instead, I found the film almost sweet. Yes, I said sweet! Lázaro Ramos and Wagner Moura as the two young friends have such a natural chemistry, their relationship captivated me. Moura has a playful charm and Ramos has a quiet intensity, and their interactions are central to any success that "Lower City" may enjoy as a film. It's hard not to reference "Y Tu Mama Tambien"--a film that also depended on the likability of its cast and the ease of their relationships. Like the boys from "Y Tu Mama Tambien," the protagonists of "Lower City" both share and then are divided by a woman. Alice Braga does a wonderful job as the sexy centerpiece of this triangle.

So far, so good. But the thing that keeps "Lower City" from being a very good film are not the characters, but the characterizations. In truth, we know very little about the trio.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Characters Somewhat Predictable Plot March 18, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Sergio Machado's Cidade Baixa (Lower City) is the tale of two lifelong friends Deco (Lazaro Ramos) and Naldinho (Wagner Maura) who allow their friendship to be tested when they both meet and fall in love with a young stripper named Karinna (Alice Braga). As far as plot that's about it. What makes this film worth seeing is the interaction between the characters. Much of this interaction was supervised by the great acting coach Maria Fatima Toledo who coaxed the best performances possible out of her young cast.

The film's title refers to the tropical city of Salvador da Bahia where the film was shot. The location was crucial to the production. The camera work of Toca Seabra brins the city to life. We feel the heat and decay. It becomes so that we almost smell the docks and the streets. Location filming can be a nightmare but in this film the location has the distinction of becoming another character in the film.

Brazilian filmaking is starting to become recognized. While this may not be the best Brazilian film of the last few years it certainly deserves a viewing. It should be noted that the film is fairly graphic and may offend some. In an interview with Machado he states that his film is about life. Here we get a life experience warts and all.

The Palm DVD offers the film in its original Portuguese with subtitles, a making of featurette that contains footage of Fatima Toledo preparing her actors for emotionally challenging performances; some deleted scenes that really do not add a lot to the presentation; and a more detailed feature on the rehearsal process.

This small film is well worth a rental and while not great shows the great strides that have been made in South American film making.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
I have some major misgivings about this (and many other Brazilian) films. Despite that, I genuinely enjoyed this movie. My first misgiving is the setting. I am disappointed by how averse contemporary Brazilian film-makers to focusing on the basics - character development and plot - opting instead for the exotic, usually in the form of films that either are set in exotic locales (usually, but not always, the northeast), or focus on people from "exotic" life paths, or both. It is very easy for the "exotic" to be a shield behind which to hide poor character development or weak plotting - it was a flaw that Emile Zola and his imitators exhibited at their worst moments and has continued in "naturalist"-influenced art ever since. In this case, the Lower City combines both - marginalized young people in "exotic" Bahia (exotic because, despite the fact that there is a real Bahia, in the 21st century, where people of all economic classes, urban and rural, struggle to live lives like anywhere else, there is also a mythical Bahia in the Brazilian national imagination). In this case, I think the exotism of the setting goes a long way towards hiding the mundane simplicity of the plot: friendship of two young men is put in jeopardy and tried by love for the same young woman. Woman comes between them. They both fall in love with her. They fight. In the end, some resolution is achieved (although not clear what).

What keeps this movie alive, besides the exoticism of setting yet another Brazilian movie in the northeast, are the characters. To my surprise, I found them to be quite sincere, authentic and likeable. I know (or rather, knew, since I am an old man now) kids like that. I grew up around kids like that.
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