Azyllo Muito Louco (1970)
Pssst, want to check out Azyllo Muito Louco in our new look?
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Based on Machado de Assis' novel, this is a macabre story of a 19th century Brazilian priest and social reformer who puts most of the population of his village into a madhouse to "cure" them of insanity and sin, and make his utopia come true...The film's radical intention is clear and the decor, color, and mise en scene extravagantly beautiful, but the audacious parable ultimately becomes labored.
--- Amos Vogel, Film as Subversive Art
Dos Santos unleashes an extravagant, maddening excoriation of Brazil’s military dictatorship of the 1970s. As usual, the director exploits all cinematic constituents in his palette – a radically intrusive and discordant soundtrack, non sequitur editing, exaggerated camera angles and all manner of carnivalesque pageantry – to illustrate the tale of a doctor/priest on a mission to discover truth through the study of madness. The population of his asylum grows as his definition of sanity fluctuates until it finally threatens to incorporate the entire town. The film’s own irrational reversals and allegorical codes gleefully mock the arbitrariness of authoritarianism in all its varied guises.
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