Lower City

2005 [PORTUGUESE]

Drama

0
IMDb Rating 6.5 10 4088

police drugs neo-noir romance prostitute

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Plot summary


Uploaded by: FREEMAN
January 06, 2023 at 02:51 PM

Top cast

Wagner Moura as Naldinho
Alice Braga as Karinna
720p.WEB
902.07 MB
1280*720
Portuguese 2.0
R
23.976 fps
1 hr 38 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by debblyst 6 / 10

Claustrophobic threesome movie has tired plot, inconsistent characters, but high sexual tension

Reading the IMDb comments from non-Brazilian reviewers, I get the impression "Cidade Baixa" has been mismarketed internationally -- it's far from the ambition, impact, range or scope of "City of God" or "Central Station". It's rather a modest chamber movie about a love triangle setting apart lifelong friends Deco (the incredibly overrated Lázaro Ramos, here in a one-note-so-minimalist-it's-really-lifeless performance) and Naldinho (intense, charismatic Wagner Moura) over the sexual attention and ultimately the "true" love of stripper Karinna (newcomer Alice Braga, sexy, lovely, inexperienced and unconvincing).

Director Sérgio Machado's only previous solo feature effort was "Onde a Terra Acaba", a well-researched documentary on Brazilian legendary filmmaker Mário Peixoto and his single finished film, the 1931 classic "Limite". Like many directors who cross the bridge from documentaries to fiction, Machado here is completely taken over by "the magic of acting". While Machado's undisguised fascination with his three lead stars is overwhelming, the characters in "Cidade Baixa" lack real essence -- the emotional outbursts are there, but the motivations are never clear. The great performance and best designed character comes from veteran José Dumont: he creates a multi-layered, throbbing character in five minutes and has more truth and energy than the three stars combined.

The plot is painfully predictable, it has been told before (and better) countless times. The film's ultimate point -- that a threesome is as good an arrangement as any -- is only shyly hinted at, and probably won't come across for many viewers, but the sexual tension is tangible the whole time. The film is professionally accomplished, but I'm not sure the director's choice for claustrophobic settings and overuse of close-up shots is helpful to the story-- indeed it's a shame that we hardly get to see the open spaces and the entrancing population of Cidade Baixa (the lower part of the city of Salvador, capital of Bahia), which, after all, is the title of the movie! If you blink, you'll miss the falling-to-pieces but still impressive colonial architecture, and you may not see the low-life poverty and fight-for-life vibrancy typical of that neighborhood, because the camera only has eyes for the three stars. Even the Lacerda elevator (the architectural landmark that divides the Lower from Upper City) is seen but for a few seconds. And, for those of us who know and love Salvador for its magical spiritual and carnal energy, the life-affirming music, the irrepressible live-and-let-live savoir-vivre, it's really hard to believe how grim, bleak and sullen all these characters are.

Anyway, the film is never boring, has some good scenes and it's thankfully unpretentious, but the loose ending can be a letdown for many viewers. Maybe next time the talented but still unimposing Sérgio Machado will find a finer balance to his elements, adding a thicker, less tired plot and widening his framings to fully explore his locations, all of which deserves his attention as much as his cast.

Reviewed by claudio_carvalho 8 / 10

Real and Cruel Triangle of Love

In the Northeastern of Brazil, the twenty years old hooker Karinna (Alice Braga) negotiates a travel to Salvador, Bahia, in the boat of the friends Deco (Lázaro Ramos) and Naldinho (Wagner Moura), having sex with them and getting some money in return. Deco first, and Naldinho later, fall in love for Karinna, who likes both of them, forming a triangle of love and jeopardizing the friendship of Deco and Naldinho.

"Cidade Baixa" is a real and cruel triangle of love, having the landscape of the red light district in the lower zone of Salvador and the environment of hopeless people that lives in the limit of the marginality of the society, prostituting, robbing, and fighting for surviving. The plot is actually unpredictable, with many possibilities and an open end, having the excellent actor Lázaro Ramos in the lead role, with the also good actor Wagner Moura. But the great surprise is the unknown actress Alice Braga, niece of Sonia Braga, performing a very erotic and hot character and dignifying the name of her aunt. This low budget movie exhales sexual tension and eroticism, and is very pleasant and recommended, showing a deglamorized side of Brazil unknown even for many Brazilians. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Cidade Baixa" ("Lower City")

Reviewed by Geofbob 8 / 10

Top Class

This is a mesmeric movie about the corrosive effect of an attractive and sensual woman's intrusion on the close, almost intimate, relationship between two men. Set in the seamy underworld of the Brazilian port of Salvador de Bahia, the film takes its name from the lower (baixa) quarter of that city. One of the few "touristy" shots in the movie is of the lift connecting the Cidade Baixa with the Cidade Alta, a treasure house of colonial architecture, of which we catch but one brief glimpse in the film.

To my mind the film is as notable for what it doesn't state explicitly, as for what it does. Neither of the two male protagonists refers to the fact that they are of different colours; but it is hard to avoid the thought that this plays a part in the rift which develops between them, and is foreshadowed by the savage cockfight between a black and a white bird in an early scene.

The film is uncompromising - and entirely non-judgemental - in its depiction both of the criminal activities of its men, and of the prostitution of the women. We may not approve of what we are seeing, but "this is how it is" the film tells us. The acting is of the highest standard, with Alice Braga (niece of Sonia) outstandingly sexy; and the fast-paced and close-up camera work glues the viewer to the screen.

See it!

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