O Amor Natural
First Run Features // Unrated // $24.95 // October 23, 2007
Review by Chris Neilson | posted February 8, 2008
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R E V I E W S
Graphical Version
Carlos Drummond de Andrade (1902-1987) was the most popular Brazilian poet of the twentieth century. There's no comparable American equivalent in recent memory, but perhaps think of the fame of both Robert Frost and Maya Angelou bestowed on one poet. Drummond was so widely loved in Brazil that, in the late '80s, the 50 cruzados note was imprinted with one of his poems.

Drummond published poems in numerous styles over his career, but his erotic poetry he kept to himself. His posthumously printed erotic collection O Amor Natural is the subject of Dutch filmmaker Heddy Honigmann's eponymous 1996 documentary. Honigmann roams the streets of Rio de Janeiro enticing elderly people to read a poem from the collection. The poetry serves as a transition to the underlying purpose of Honigmann's film: to document the erotic recollections of older Brazilians.

Honigmann records a few people who are unwilling to humor her, but most are eager to please. There are several notable interviews: the 85 (he insists upon this ) year-old widower who fondly reminisces about numerous infidelities during his 50-year marriage; a shockingly beautiful 81-year-old swimmer who competed in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin whose choice of poem evidences the entwinement of water and sex in her mind; and, two older women who while riding a public bus discuss the finer points of a poem about anal intercourse.

The DVD
The Video:
O Amor Natural is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The standard video image looks rather flat. The English subtitles are forced, but are adequate in translation, size, pace, and placement.

The Audio:
This disc provides a 2.0 audio track in the original Portugese. Dialouge is understandable and distortions are kept to a minimum, but there is no noticeable separation between the channels.

The Extras:
There are no extras.

Final Thoughts:
While this title will be most appealing to poetry fans, anyone interested in personal histories may find enough here to warrant the 76-minute runtime. Rent it.



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