An interesting and unusual film arrives from Brazil, in which the boundaries between reality and fiction are almost completely erased. She had five nominations for Eliane Caffe’s five nominations for Best Brazilian Film of the Year, and brings us the “Era of Hotel Cambridge” a fictional version of the occupation of a 15-storey building in Sao Paulo among residents somewhat ironically called Hotel Cambridge. In addition to professional actors, Caffe hired real squatters who settled there, and the entire film was shot in a building that is mostly inhabited by the lowest strata of Brazilian society. Along with the homeless and the poor, asylum seekers from Africa and Asia, Haiti and Colombia also settled there, and we follow in this feature film that irresistibly reminds the documentary of the fate of several tenants of this building after learning that they are threatened with eviction in 15 days.
Although, as far as I understand, this story is fictional, there are a lot of similarities with real events in big Brazilian cities where identical situations happen. And not just in Brazil, because in other big cities it happens that the homeless, the lowest paid manual workers just move into some of the abandoned or ruined buildings like this one and find their home there. But obviously not for long. It is one of those activist and humanistic films in which we get an insight into the lives of disenfranchised marginals who will try to stop evictions and evictions from the building where they found their home. While this society cannot be more diverse and diverse, they will all unite under the leadership of a charismatic grandmother and try to defend their home.
Structurally, “The Era of Hotel Cambridge” reminded me of Hector Babenco’s masterpiece “Carandiru”, also a story filmed according to real events in a famous Brazilian prison. So here, along with the main narrative line, ie the organization of resistance against eviction, we learn the stories of several colorful characters from all over the world and their destiny. We find out how they ended up there, there are also witty segments (especially the story of an old Palestinian who developed an interesting theory about women and alcohol and how women with the same percentage of alcohol go with drinks with a certain percentage of alcohol), and everything will culminate in the finale when the key moment comes when the police “knock” on the door of the building and try to evict them.
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