Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Júlia Murat's PENDULAR explores creativity and sex in a Brazilian warehouse loft

When Júlia Murat's Brazilian movie, Found Memories, opened in New York back in 2012, TrustMovies was extremely impressed -- with its enormous beauty, its quietude, and the unobtrusive formality of its mise en scène. That film took place in a lovely and quaint old country town. Ms Murat's new film, PENDULAR, is set in the midst of a major city, in a somewhat abandoned warehouse that has been converted into a loft by and for a couple of artists -- she's a dancer, he's a sculptor -- that they now use as both work space and living quarters. One must assume the two are somewhat successful, since the furnishings and accoutrements with which they've surrounded themselves are rather impressive (they've got a particularly beautiful kitchen and bath).

Ms Murat, shown at left, lets us see some of their respective work (more of hers than his) and it looks interesting enough, if nothing all that original or special.

As to their character, the filmmaker keeps that pretty much at bay. They are both mostly fixated on their work, except when they're having sex, which is somewhat frequently throughout this 108-minute movie.

The sex is hot and heavy, and while neither actor -- Raquel Karro (shown above and below, who's both a dancer and actress) and Rodrigo Bolzan (below and further below) -- is drop-dead gorgeous, both performers are certainly attractive enough of face and figure that watching them either clothed or nude proves no problem.

We meet their friends and co-workers, briefly, off-and-on, and we're privy to snatches of this twosome's conversation -- though not all that much. Even then, most of it deals in some respect with their art. He needs more work space for his (maybe) massive sculptures; she gives in, if somewhat grudgingly. When they fight, each uses the other's art as his or her weapon.

Once again. Ms Murat's visual sense and formal composition is a consistent pleasure to view (the cinematographer is Soledad Rodríguez). Whether her heroine is trying to track the path of a odd cable wire that ends within the warehouse (but where does it begin?) or dancing or even fucking, the design is just fine.

Eventually, though, you may want more. I know I did. Late in the film, the man expresses a major personal need (I'll let you discover what this is), and conveniently (or inconveniently, depending on your viewpoint), the woman suddenly finds herself able to provide this  That leads to the movie's major drama and climax.

This might be enough, if only we knew more fully just who these characters are. Despite decent performances, using what little Murat and her co-writer Matias Mariani provide, the two actors are unable to manage this, and we have to content ourselves with some minor ruminations on work and art, watching Ms Karro in action, and the viewing of a good deal of pleasurable sex. Hey, that may be more than enough for a lot of you out there.

From Big World Pictures, Pendular -- which could as easily refer to some of our heroine's dance moves as to our hero's heavy-hung sexual equipment -- opens this Friday, November 30, in Chicago at the Facets Cinematheque. In December it will also play the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Time and Space, Ltd. in Hudson, New York. Click here (and scroll down) to keep abreast of all currently scheduled (and possibly more upcoming) playdates, cities and venues. 

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