Reaching for the Moon | Tribeca Film Festival 2013
Latest creation of Brazilian film-maker Bruno Barret, Reaching for the Moon (original title Flores Raras) is a touching and stylish movie capturing the spirit of 1950s Brazilian bohemia.
Based on a true story and the novel Rare and Commonplace Flowers on the same subject, it all starts in New York: it’s a beautiful autumn day in Central Park and poet Elizabeth Bishop (played by Miranda Otto) is suffering from writer’s block. She decides to spend some time traveling and visits her college friend Mary in Brazil. On her arrival, Elizabeth meets Lota de Macedo Soares (Gloria Perez), the witty and très chic architect and member of a prominent political family. A lesbian love triangle is instantly formed. Mary is deeply in love with Lota and the two live together, but the flamboyant Brazilian aesthete is less enamored and quickly falls for Bishop. Elizabeth and Lota are complete opposites – the first shy, frustrated, often defensive and difficult, and the other open-minded, warm and confident.
An allergic reaction lands the American poet in hospital, obliging her to stay in Brazil for three more weeks and ultimately longer as she begins a relationship with Lota. Heartbroken, but still deeply in love, Mary remains at the house, consenting to her ex-partner’s idea to adopt a baby the group will raise together. In the unorthodox scenario Lota is appointed as the grandmother, Mary as the mother and Elizabeth as the aunt. Jealous and excluded, Mary’s presence lingers throughout, while Lota and Elizabeth conduct an artsy and turbulent love story, inspiring the most important works of both their lives.
Reaching for the Moon is a charming and seductively tropical all-female love story. Both the performances and direction are distinguished and executed with great attention to detail, accompanied by a lovely soundtrack featuring Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Chopin. Barret creates sophisticated and liberated film that may not attract male audiences, but is likely to fascinate women – and even if it doesn’t, the gallons of champagne, fine whiskey and cachaça poured throughout ensure this movie will at least make you want to have a drink or two.
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Watch a clip from Reaching for the Moon here