Sunday, August 03, 2008

Olga - Brazilian film

I saw this 2004 release yesterday. This film is based on the real-life story of Olga Benário, a German whose destiny is linked to Brazil.

Olga, born in a bourgeois German Jewish family becomes a revolutionary and goes to Soviet Union, where she is given army training. In 1935, she is assigned to protect the Brazilian communist leader Luis Carlos Prestes, who is returning to Brazil to raise a revolutionary movement against the dictator Getúlio Vargas. They travel to Brazil, pretending to be a married couple but during the long journey fall in love with each other. The Communist upraising fails and both are arrested and put in jail. As an act of personal vengeance against Prestes, Vargas deports Olga, seven months pregnant, to Nazi Germany, as a gift to Hitler. The Nazis put her in a Gestapo women's prison, where she gives birth to Anita, who is given back to the mother of Prestes. Later, Benario is taken to a Nazi concentration camp where she is killed in a gas chamber in 1942.

The movie is about politics, war, persecution and revolutionary spirit. It gives a glimpse of the communist movement and its repression by the military dictatorship in Brazil. The Nazi atrocities are portrayed graphically.

The movie is also about love which blossoms between the ideologically strong and disciplined Olga and the idealistic but sensitive and fragile Prestes, who knits a dress for Olga.

Camila Morgado has excelled in her role as Olga while Caco Ciocler has tried to be like Prestes.

Although one does not see much of Brazil in the film, it is one of the best to come out of the Brazilian cinema, which produces occasional hits. Jayme Monjardim, the director has done a good job although the critics have not been very generous to him on this film.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that the Brazilians have been "unkind" to this film. For me, an American... the performances, by the leads, and of course, by the great and incomparable Fernanda Montenegra, are more than Oscar-worthy. This film is both a pleasure to watch as well as to see. Cinamatographically speaking it is enthralling and the story is more than compelling. From the infamous Tropicalia Movement to Today's Tribalistas... Brazil has always given the world so much food for thought. Here we find no exception. I say... Viva O Brazil... and Viva a Revolucao!!!!!