The style of Antonia, like the melodramas that simmer at its center, is neither smutty nor glorifying, sensitively keyed to the struggles of its working-class characters. The story is schematic but cooly intimate, tracing the disintegration of a girl group over a period of a year and its subsequent, phoenix-like restoration. The girls want to rap alongside men, and their rhymes are fierce declarations of their ethnic and feminine pride, though their disbandment is too simplistically outlined. After a slamming performance, Preta (Negra Li) catches Mayah (Quelynah) innocently chatting with her estranged husband Hermano (Fernando Macario) and takes her rage out on her friend. And then there were three. Lena (Cindy) gets preggers and refuses an abortion, barely putting up a fight against the boyfriend who doesn’t want to be a father only to turn on a dime and demand that she quit singing if she wants him and her baby. And then there were two. On her way home from a performance, Barbarah (Leilah Moreno) accidentally kills the young boy who claims to have gay-bashed her brother Duda (Chico Andrade) and murdered his boyfriend. Reduced to a solo act, Preta grapples with loneliness, raising her daughter by herself, and the bleakness of an uncertain future. Director Tata Amaral shuns the favela chic and be-all-end-all histrionics of City of God; she is no hypester, allowing Preta’s crisis to casually pan out against the natural beauty and laws of Preta’s impoverished hood, where love exists side-by-side with hate and purple skies welcome each morning. Life in this place has made the characters weary but not cynical, and Preta persists because she understands the importance of camaraderie, and after an affectionate outpouring of love, she and her friends return to the stage, singing about their identity with a passion predicated on the understanding that home is where the soul is.
- Anywhere Road
- 90 min
- Tata Amaral
- Tata Amaral, Roberto Moreira
- Negra Li, Leilah Moreno, Quelynah, Cindy, Thaide, Fernando Macario, Chico Andrade, Nathalye Cris, Thobias da Vai-Vai, Sandra de Sa
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