Program 23: Good Manners (As boas maneiras)
Directed by Marco Dutra and Juliana Rojas
There’s often at least a hint of horror to the most enduring fairy tales. They captivate and entertain us, luring us with fantastical and outlandish stories before digging into questions of real-world morality. It’s much the same with the atmospheric fable Good Manners, a haunting tale of love and motherhood that delicately weaves in themes of race, class, and social inequality.
Lonely, out-of-work nurse Clara (Isabél Zuaa) accepts a job as a live-in nanny for Ana (Marjorie Estiano), a wealthy, single mother-to-be living in São Paulo. Cut off by her family when she became pregnant, Ana is entirely on her own, and quickly comes to rely on Clara to handle the cooking and cleaning, as well as making household preparations for the arrival of her infant.
But the beautiful Ana has secrets. She exhibits some unusual behaviors: developing intense cravings for red meat – the rarer the better – and when night falls, she sleepwalks and leaves the apartment. Ignoring the red flags, Clara can’t help but be drawn to her alluring employer.
Even as Ana’s actions grow increasingly strange, she and Clara grow closer, and eventually the women give in to their animalistic passions. They form a bond stronger than either could have anticipated, and by the time Ana’s baby is born, Clara has vowed to do everything in her power to protect him from a world that can’t help but fear what it doesn’t understand.
A wonderfully strange, genre-mashing fantasy, Good Manners defies description. Directors Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra expertly shift their story’s tone from domestic drama to romance, horror, and even musical to create a sweet and oddly touching tribute to misunderstood creatures of every stripe.
— Adam Lubitow
AWARDS & ACCOLADES
- SPECIAL JURY PRIZE – Locarno Int’l Film Festival
- FELIX AWARD, BEST LGBT FILM – Rio Int’l Film Festival
- JURY AWARD, FIPRESCI PRIZE – Rio Int’l Film Festival
- CRITICS’ JURY AWARD, FANTASTIC COMPETITION SECTION – Sitges Int’l Film Festival
- JURY AWARD, SPECIAL MENTION – Biarritz Int’l Film Festival
- JURY AWARD, BEST ACTRESS SPECIAL MENTION (Isabél Zuaa) – Sitges Int’l Film Festival
- OFFICIAL SELECTION – Seattle Int’l Film Festival
- OFFICIAL SELECTION – New Directors / New Films (New York)
- OFFICIAL SELECTION – Palm Springs Int’l Film Festival
- OFFICIAL SELECTION – Melbourne Int’l Film Festival