Two Deaths of Quincas Wateryell, The (UK - DVD R2/3)
Marcus watches a Brazilian Weekend at Bernies on DVD and it's way more fun...
Quincas Wateryell (Paulo José) is two things: first, he is a father who walked away from a respectable job, and second, a vagabond king among the people of Bahia. Dying on his seventy-second birthday we see his friends and family mourn over his body in their own ways and find out more about Quincas through memories of his past and his very own insights.
Based on a book The Two Deaths of Quincas Wateryell (or A Morte e a Morte de Quincas Berro D'água) this is a movie that you know would work well as a play. A very simple set up of a group of people from Quincas’s life celebrating the man’s life and talking about what made him so popular. Of course the more interesting factor to this is his daughter who he has not seen in fifteen years and how she struggles with her estranged father’s death as well as the band of misfits he spent so much of his life with.
The different angles of all involved and how Quincas’s death has affected their lives paints a nice picture of the man’s life and that feeling that our parents have entirely different lives when we’re not close to them is an angle that brings quite a lot to the tale especially when seeing the warmth his colourful friends have towards him and their familiarity with him even in death.
There is a lot of sadness here but there’s a strong sense of celebration and even a bit of dark humour (especially in the scenes where the group of misfits take advantage of having a dead body in their care and their refusal to believe he’s actually dead get the best of them). All in all The Two Deaths of Quincas Wateryell is a nice change of pace and makes for quite a feel good watch. Considering the focus is on a death this never gets overly bleak and even when it does it soon pulls itself back from the edge and offers up a heartfelt look at the celebration of a life
This is a nice looking standard definition transfer. The wider shots can look a little soft but close ups can be full of wonderful detail, well lit faces and a nice vibrant colour palette that doesn’t call attention to itself but still brings the image to life. Any lively colour such as red, pink or yellow really hops off the usually dark look of the film and the warm lighting makes everything feel alive and fun as opposed to bleak and depressing as the subject matter sometimes gets close to. The darker scenes suffer a little, especially the moonlit ocean scenes but even so the transfer never gets murky and most of the detail is still there to be seen.
There’s a 3.1 as well as a 5.1 Dolby Digital track and both are pretty good. The 5.1 track offers a lot more depth with some subtle atmospheric sounds to bring clubs or busy streets to life with music, drums or singing. The creaky floorboards in many of the locations are very impressive as well.
The score itself is also nicely layered with elements of instruments dancing in the rear speakers throughout the movie. Bassy elements are strong, especially with the stormy sea scenes and the dialogue always remains clear and crisp and all in all this is an above average track that works well for the movie.
The making of (26:55) features interview snippets with Jorge Amado the writer of the book as well as everyone involved. There’s a nice bit of history with the book and how it became a film and of course the cast as well as the rehearsal process and their takes on the characters. It’s a good little extra for anyone who likes the film. The only other extra is the trailer (01:55).
The Two Deaths of Quincas Wateryell is a delightful little movie about death, if that is indeed possible. The personal approach to saying goodbye to Quincas is strong (albeit slightly disrespectful) from his friends and his daughter's journey through her grief is even more compelling. The disc has a fine presentation for a simple DVD and while low on extras offers up the goods with what it has. This movie is a little off beat and I’d imagine quite a way off of the casual movie watcher's radar but it’s certainly worth the trip if you fancy something a little different and it's surprisingly feel good.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 1st August 2011
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 3.1 Portuguese, Dolby Digital 5.1 Poruguese
Extras: Making of, Trailer
Easter Egg: No
Director: Sérgio Machado
Cast: Milton Gonçalves, Mariana Ximenes, Marieta Severo, Paulo José
Length: 97 minutes
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