Friday, September 17, 2021

Sentença de Deus (1972)

... aka: God's Sentence

Directed by:
Ivan Cardoso

As some kind of tribal-sounding music plays, a bearded hippie FREAK wearing pants so low his ass crack and pubes are showing does a crazy dance near a lake. Another guy dressed in a cape then walks up to him holding a knife and a chicken. Uh oh. The knife guy slashes the chicken's throat and dribbles blood and feathers all over the dancing guy's back in a sequence the director said in an interview "still impresses the audience." Nope. The film then reverts to black-and-white and we see a woman lying solemnly on a table. At first I thought she was sleeping but then I realized there are candles around her so I guess she's supposed to be dead. Chicken blood guy then walks into the room, looks her over, pushes up her dress, climbs on top and starts having sex with her.

We then cut to another dirty hippie with a fluffier, fuller beard carrying around a child's coffin. We shall refer to him as CBG (Coffin Bearded Guy) as not to confuse him with CBBG (Chicken Blood Bearded Guy). CBBG crawls around in the cemetery, peaks over some bushes and then gets into some kind of fight with CBG, which ends with him being strangled. Sitting in front of a Brazilian flag, CBG is then shown smelling a woman's foot and sucking on her toes as some kind of (I think) patriotic Brazilian song plays. It's kind of hard to tell since I don't speak Portuguese. Apparently not killed, CBBG rips off his shirt and walks around with a ball and chain fastened to his leg. Someone still needs to get this guy a belt.

CBG, TG (toe girl) and SRGWSNP (some random guy who serves no purpose) then go up to CBBG, pull down his pants and stick a lit cigar up his ass. CBG gets his hand on another chicken, cuts its throat with a razor and then strangles TG to death. In front of an apartment building, CBBG whips out a pair of scissors, starts trimming his pubic hair and then cuts his dick off. CBG picks his nose and then another topless woman seduces him onto a sheet lying on the ground, pulls out a pair of scissors and stabs him to death. Fin.

I'm sure this 20-minute short is a deep and profound statement about something or other. I just never gave a hoot what and have no interest in finding out either. A few scenes are pretty gross, I guess, but I was much more offended by the incompetence of the direction, blurry (Super 8) photography, lighting and editing, not to mention annoyed by the fact I could never tell if this was some kind of amateurish parody of pretentious, cheap-shock "art films" or the real deal. (The director himself seems to take it seriously, so I think I have my answer.) And I don't care what anyone says, it's entirely possible to make your artistic statement, whatever that statement may be, without torturing and killing animals in the process.

Cardoso, who'd go on to make the documentary short The Universe of Mojica Marins (1978) and a number of other features and shorts, randomly inserts a Coffin Joe poster at one point. I'm beginning to think his (very good) THE SCARLET SCORPION (1990) was some kind of fluke.


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