Sunday, October 4, 2020

A Mulher Que Põe a Pomba no Ar (1978)

... aka: Woman Who Makes Doves Fly, The
... aka: Woman Who Put Doves In the Air, The

Directed by:
"J. Avelar" (José Mojica Marins)
Rosângela Maldonado

Here's one from the Coffin Joe universe you may have missed. Unlike some of his better-known / distributed cult titles, this has never been released here in America nor is it available in English. I actually couldn't find evidence of a VHS release in any country, including Brazil, and ended up viewing this on Youtube using their auto-translate function for the Portuguese subs. As per usual, these translations are a mess and often incomprehensible but they were just enough to get me through this. Furthermore, the only available copy of this title isn't in very good condition (soft picture with a green and sometimes yellow tint) and has a time clock near the bottom of the screen at all times so I had to both enhance the image and crop the bottom third off of all these screen caps. I did this for the same reason I erase film company logos and such whenever they're present: aesthetics. I simply don't like looking at them!

Marins is listed as "technical director" under the name "J. Avelar" but he has a co-director on this outing: Rosângela Maldonado. Maldonado had been a collaborator with Marins starting with his Finis Hominis ("End of Man") back in 1971 and also appeared in his 1972 adventure Sexo E Sangue na Trilha do Tesouro ("Sex and Blood on the Treasure Trail") prior to this. Though she shares directorial credit, this and her follow-up, A Deusa de Mármore / "The Marble Goddess" (1978), which involves a 2000-year-old woman preserving her youth through a Satanic pact, are technically the very first genre features made by a female director in Brazil. In addition, she also has the lead role, wrote the script, produced, did the art direction AND composed some of the music!

Things center around a platinum blonde lesbian scientist named Adelaide (Maldonado) who runs a secret organization of women who work out of her mansion. She has three faithful assistants - Rosângela (Luandy Maldonado), Diana (Dallas Kayan) and another whose name I didn't catch (Marta Lupiani), plus a chauffeur named Nelson (Arlindo Xavier) and a flamboyant male servant (Ivan Lima) in lieu of your traditional female maid. The gay servant is used for extremely embarrassing comic relief as he prances around dusting, singing and acting like a sex-crazed queen. He's secretly in love with Nelson (who slaps him in the face and pushes him down at one point cause he keeps coming on to him) and even has a homemade Nelson sex doll in his bedroom.

Adelaide is working on some kind of secret formula that will help cure men of their wandering eye. To gather data, she also runs a feminist support group full of angry women whose husbands have all been caught cheating on them. Their stories are all written down by the assistants. While working in her lab one day, Adelaide accidentally drops a test tube and the fumes infect her and Rosângela. The result? Well, it appears the formula has somehow transformed them into flying dove monsters who then go around attacking unfaithful men and their mistresses!

The hilarious dove costumes include round papier-mâché bird heads with floppy beaks, white feathered crop tops and panties, fabric flapper wings, body paint and go-go boots. They show up at a "picnic" of one of the cheating husbands and karate chop him and his mistress. They then go to a bawdy banquet / swinger's orgy (where Coffin Joe makes a brief cameo being fed grapes) and start beating people up. A dove woman breaks into a hotel room, cock blocks a man by climbing into bed and pecking his mistress and then is seen flying above the city by pedestrians. Word soon gets around town and newspaper headlines are wondering whether the creatures are ghosts or beings from Mars and wondering whether or not the dove women's reign of terror will end adultery once and for all.

If only this would have kept its focus on the dove women it may have been pretty consistently hilarious but sadly much more time is spent elsewhere. There's a long and seemingly pointless scene at a soccer match where a fight breaks out in the audience. The gay servant has a bizarre erotic dream where Adelaide and her girls are dyking it out as he (dressed in drag) and Nelson watch, which prompts the object of his affections to finally accept his love. After waking up and finding out it was only a dream, he destroys his sex doll during a temper tantrum. Three cheating husbands rent a boat for them and their mistresses to mess around on but their party is crashed by the wives, who attack them with whips and force them to abandon ship at gunpoint. And so on.

Adelaide has a flashback to when she was seventeen and in love with a boy who (kind of?) raped her by a waterfall. When his parents found out they sent him away to live elsewhere. Presumably this traumatic event has turned her into a man-hating lesbian (cause that's how it always works in real life, right?) and so she's taken Rosângela, who is young enough to be her daughter and may actually be her daughter since the actress playing her has the same last name, as her new lover. A white pill is introduced that seems to give the dove girls special powers but it's only shown in one scene. This just completely peters out by the end when the police get involved.

More of a lightweight sex farce than anything else, this has lots of terrible juvenile comedy and topless nudity plus serious underpinnings that they're completely unable to pull off in any kind of interesting or compelling way. It doesn't help matters that this is horribly-made across the board, with especially awful photography and editing. There are tons of close-up shots, zoom shots, shots going out of focus, jerky camerawork and rapid fire cuts. The acting is terrible and the script is poorly-written. There are too many characters and the attempts at humor are almost always embarrassing. While this provides a couple of unintentional laughs and crosses into WTF?! territory a number of times (and I know it sounds pretty amazing), it's not consistent enough in either area to really make it a good SBIG film.

The cast includes Heitor Gaiotti (from The Extra-Terrestrial Cat in Boots) and Marins film regulars David Húngaro and Walter Portela. Instead of your usual boring text opening credits, this has an announcer clad in a leisure suit and bell bottoms at a disco reading off the names of the stars, who then enter from off-stage and wave as animated birds fly across the screen with their names on banners and an audience cheers. That was a cute touch at least. I also laughed out loud when test tubes in the doctor's lab are shown spinning on a record player instead of a centrifuge.

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