This stunning amalgam of playful film noir and Chris Marker–like cine-essay from João Pedro Rodrigues (To Die Like a Man, NYFF 2009) and João Rui Guerra da Mata explores the psychic pull of the titular former Portuguese colony. After a spectacular opening scene, in which actress Cindy Scrash lip-synchs, as tigers pace behind her, to Jane Russell’s “You Kill Me”—from Josef von Sternberg’s Macao (1952), a key reference here—the film shifts to da Mata’s off-screen recollections of growing up in this gambling haven in the South China Sea. He’s come back to Macao to help a friend who later vanishes—a mystery that begets not only poetic ruminations on time, place, and memory but also magnificent compositions of flora, fauna and cityscapes.
Each day's 4:00pm screening will be followed by Rodrigues and Guerra da Mata's new short, Mahjong (25m), another ingenious noir, shot in Portugal's biggest Chinatown.
Locarno Film Festival, 2012
New York Film Festival, 2012
“A meditation on movies, myths and memory that greatly rewards your patience.” —Manohla Dargis, New York Times
“A meticulous, poetic paean to a vanished time and place that is never less than spellbinding.” —Elizabeth Kerr, Hollywood Reporter
“Endlessly inventive… has the power to make you laugh and the power to break your heart in half.” —Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York