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Alice's House

(2008) ** 1/2 Unrated
92 min. FiGa Films. Director: Chico Teixeira. Cast: Carla Ribas, Zecarlos Machado, Luciano Quirino, Renata Zhaneta, Vinicius Zinn.
This Brazilian drama from writer-director Chico Teixeira moves to its own rhythm. The story of a wife (Carla Riba's Alice) and husband, their three troubled sons, and the undervalued (grand)mother who cares for them. Alice's House is a small film but an oddly affecting one. Alice's life is disrupted by the discovery of her husband's infidelity with a teen girl, a secret her mother (Berta Zemel) has harbored since finding incriminating evidence in the laundry. Grandma knows everyone's secrets, but as she literally goes blind, she also turns a blind eye in a misguided attempt to keep the peace. Ribas and Zemel evoke considerably sympathy in this subtly feminist film. Though the film's quietness is a virtue, the film ultimately feels a bit undercooked as it builds to its resolution: a simple fulfillment for one character and a simple disappointment for another.
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