The screening next Wednesday, January 10, by the Eastbourne Film Society at the Curzon Cinema may be their first of the year but it can safely be said that it contains one of the finest performances that you are likely to see in 2018.
The actress at the very top of her form is Sonia Braga and the film in which she stars is the highly acclaimed Aquarius.
The title of this film by the Brazilian writer/director Kleber Mendonça Filho is the name of the apartment block in Recife which has for years been home to Braga’s character, Clara. Following a prologue set in 1980, the main narrative is set in recent times.
Consequently Clara is now a widow whose children have grown up and left home. Nevertheless, she is determined to make the most of life. She does have the advantage of being well-off and that helps her to resist when a property company with plans to raze the block and develop the site make her an offer for her apartment. The ruthless men running the company assume that theirs is an offer that she can’t refuse but, given all the memories that her home has for her, Clara is determined to resist them. What she has not realised is just how far the company will go to force her hand. Filho comes from Recife, but his story is more than a local tale since the central situation is one which resonates widely. Also by not rushing the narrative he ensures that his audience shares Clara’s experiences and identifies with her feelings in depth. As ever the screening is open to the public, but the Eastbourne Film Society does wish to stress that Aquarius contains brief but very explicit scenes of a sexual nature and those who might be offended by this should stay away.
By Alex Buchan