Sunday, June 18, 2006

A Alma do Negocio (The Soul of Business)

Directed by Jose Roberto Torero, Brazil, 1996, 8 minutes
Source: hurluberu films (pause and skip the trailer)

A soothing musical score starts as a married couple are waking up and begin to advertise about everything they use to each other, the bed sheets, the shower, the towel, the coffee, the milk, etc. But when the wife cuts her husbands finger, she advertises about the knife. Then the husband advertises about the silverware and stabs the wife in the hand. The wife then advertises about the dishes and smashes it on the husband's head. Then the husband advertises about the meatmincer and.........yep, sticks the wife's fingers in them. Then the wife advertises about the skewer and stabs the husband in the chest. Then the husband advertises about the handheld blender and stabs it into the wife's chest. Then the wife advertises about the drill and drills the husband in the chest. Then the husband advertises about the new chainsaw and makes a huge cut on the wife's neck. Then the husband collapses on the chair as they are both dead, and then avoiceoverr advertises about band-aid.

This short film is supposed to be a graphic horror film but because the couple are speaking in the same uplifting commercial voice and trying to retain that fake smile while dying, it made me laugh when they were cutting each other up. I really enjoyed this film because with everything so perfect, so white, something this horrifying was bound to happen. This film was making a mock-up of the commercials with products that seem American, like the Michigan mix blender, the White&Becker drill, and Joe's Coffee. They don't actually look at the fourth wall to advertise but they do have an eyeline match to show that they are talking to each other. Quite a satire of American life with the couple being surrounded by name-brand products.

I chose this film because I thought it would be interesting to see what a horror film is like internationally. By watching this film I saw that graphic violence is more explicit. I saw long look at cut up fingers, at a wounded chest, and the full carnage of a chainsaw. Also I am intrigued by people like Jose Roberto Torero who not only directed this short but wrote it as well. JRT has directed and written many shorts but also made feature films like Pele Forever in 2004. Truly this film is very entertaining if not scary.


Jay said...

Hilarious short; I loved the escalation here, and how the music would always try to bring the events back to a state of normalcy, even after the mortal woundings began, by bringing back the pleasant, uppity commercial jingle soundtrack (as when, most memorably, the wife picks up the knife to a brief "Psycho" musical homage, after which the soundtrack smoothes out the discrepancy, returning to harmless commercial jingle territory). It's all about covering realities and flaws, via the falsities and absurdities of idealized commercial presentation.

Christine said...

Really funny! My favorite line was, "That's not a towel; that's a work of art!" The over-the-top nature of everything...the music, the immaculate house, the over-acting, the brand obsession, even the violence is great. Beneath the absurdity, this seems to warn of the dangers of becoming greedy, soulless consumers and self-destruction.

ltpalm said...

The best part of this film for me was the close up of the blood splattered cereal and honey. In this image we see that the perfect world created has finally been deflowered, or rather murdered.

In general, this did not seem like a horror film to me. Instead, it seemed more a parody of commercialism or satire of the capitalist system. I'm not sure if the short is meant to critique America in particular or not, yet there is definitely a sense that this ideal life of consumerism isn't so ideal in the end. I love it!

Jessica said...

I thought that the beginning-- the "normal" part--went on a bit too long. It lost my interest somewhere around the Milk-o-milk. I think that it could have been an even shorter-short since the obvious joke was aalways right around the corner--might as well deliver on it before drawing out every product tvhey come in contact with between the bathroom and the kitchen. Then again, would the knife and fork be as humourous had the bathroom scene not been so drawn out? Do you need all that build up in order to time the joke just right? I'm not sure, but I was definitely losing interest fast before he stabbed her hand with the fork. Ahh, revenge via flatware.

I also enjoyed the blood dripping down the honey--it seemed like something you would actually see in a cereal commerical--except, of course, it'd be honey dripping down the honey.

I think it was a great move to have both characters draped in all white--not only for the commerical cleanliness aspect, but also because it played up the blood so well!