In the opening scene of Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra’s As boas maneiras (Good Manners), the ominous score punctuates Clara’s face (Isabél Zuaa) as she rings a bell in a São Paulo luxury apartment building. A curt male voice interrogates her on her purpose. Once she specifies her destination, the doorman proceeds to rudely ask her to take the service elevator. Clara’s face frowns in displeasure. She then enters Ana’s sumptuous apartment, and into a world of fantasy and dread.
Paula is an Associate Professor of Cinema Studies and History at SUNY Purchase. Her research interests are media and the public sphere in Brazil and Argentina during the second half of the 20th century, the relationship between film, television, history, and politics in Latin America, and intellectuals’ and artists’ political interventions in Brazil and Argentina during the 20th century.
In one of the countless revealing scenes of Lucrecia Martel’s fourth film, Don Diego de Zama (a brilliant Daniel Giménez Cacho), the Spanish corregidor stuck in a northeast province in the Rio de la Plata Viceroyalty around the end of the 18th century, finds a group of female Guaraní Indians and their children. A two or three-year-old boy screams ferociously and crawls in circles, like a little lost animal. Don Diego approaches the young woman, who seems to be the boy’s mother, and asks, is he my son? She barely looks at him and nods.