Mango Yellow


In the opening scene of Cláudio Assis’ urban folktale, a waitress laments, “Love always goes wrong,” then wishes the world would fuck itself. As Assis sees it, the film’s titular color is overripe and starting to rot. The setting — humid, seamy, and redolent of the forgotten urban underclass — is perhaps pointedly neither Rio de Janeiro nor São Paulo, but the more provincial coastal city of Recife. The waitress is but one element of the ensemble, which also includes a hot-tempered butcher, an absorbingly queeny hotel chef, and a young wife who stands in for the city’s tarnished religiosity. We meet them in vignettes, enduring or perpetrating their lives’ traumas and petty schemes. Assis’ style is aggressive and insouciant at once, if not especially novel. A roving, Altman-esque narrative swirl and a snap of American indie shock value are among the counterpoints of traceable influence at work here. The result is coarsely melodious.

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