Carmo, Hit the Road
International films get the short end of the stick at Sundance. Everyone wants to see the Joseph Gorden Levitt/Zooey Deschanel movie, or whatever Greg Mottola put out (I’m guilty of this too), while theaters for the world dramatic films sit half empty. This is a real shame, because there are some pretty bitchin’ independent foreign films as well. Coming from Brazil, Carmo, Hit the Road is one of them.
No shrinking violet, Carmo (a jaw-dropping performance by Mariana Loureiro), the freewheeling lead of this energetic film, packs a wallop of sass. Feeling suffocated by her small town, she hits the road on her mile-long legs, traipsing through untamed Brazilian border country. Barely dodging the minefield of sleazy thugs at her heels, she is rescued by an unlikely knight in shining armor, who comes out of nowhere. Unfortunately, the uncouth Marco (Spanish superstar Fele Martínez), bound only by his wheelchair, is reluctant to include her in his own getaway plans. Carmo is determined to prove they can be partners in crime, and they set out together in Marco’s dilapidated truck, over treacherous terrain, to find the desperados who have hijacked Marco’s loot.
Let’s be honest, the plot was sometimes put on a back burner, as director Jurilo Pasta (who also wrote the script with a little help from the two leads) focused on so many effects, it’ll make your head spin. The style was slightly reminiscent of Tony Scott–but the controlled Scott we saw in Man on Fire, not the Scott on acid we saw in Domino. Amazingly enough, all but one effect was done in-camera. Pasta claims that many of the effects were actually due to an unruly camera that didn’t function quite right. If this is the truth, that was incredibly lucky. The credits, and sometimes the captions, were parts of scenery, bouncing around a truck going down a dirty road, or being seen in the reflection of one of the actors in a mirror. It’s fantastically entertaining to watch. Some characters wandered in and out of the story without much explanation, and sometimes, the film itself didn’t know where it was going, much less the audience, but I the visual onslaught made up for it. Yo’ll be touched by this story.