It’s hard to say exactly what’s going on in Muito Romântico, but to hazard a guess, it seems to tell the story of a cargo ship crew who decide to quit their jobs and move to Berlin, where they spend their time wearing weird outfits, passive-aggressively quoting strange proverbs at each other and working on their own little drug-induced art projects. Why? Well, maybe it’s some kind of competition to see who can be the most “edgy”: hipster Battle Royale, if you will. At one point, a lady decides to paint a big black circle onto her bedroom wall, and it later turns out to be some kind of portal… is that significant? Difficult to tell, it’s never brought up again.
As a music video or a piece of A-level drama coursework, Muito Romântico plays fairly well. It’s got a good variety of interesting imagery that’s bound to raise some eyebrows, well-composed shots and some compelling points to make about the architecture of Berlin. But as a work of cinema, it struggles to provide anything approximating satisfying work. It’s not just that the film is densely indecipherable from a narrative standpoint, although that’s certainly true. It’s also how stagy everything feels. The majority of the action takes place on a single set, against the same two walls that are constantly being re-dressed to suggest entirely different places, and so it’s not entirely clear which characters belong in which room, or the connections between them, since many individuals go unnamed and without any clear motivation. Furthermore, the dialogue is recited by the actors as though they’re reading from a page, utterly devoid of soul or emotion. What, if anything, should the audience be feeling at any given point? Certainly the actors’ expressions will betray no clues.
These barriers to access are infuriating, because Muito Romantico is replete with strong imagery; it obviously has things it wants to express and there’s clear intent behind the direction. However, for whatever reason, whether it’s the wooden performances, its inability to convey a clear geography or simply the fact that there’s nothing to bind together these fragmented images, the film as a whole amounts to little more than a somewhat psychedelic elitist freak-out with nothing to say.
Muito Romântico does not have a UK release date yet.
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Watch the trailer for Muito Romântico here: