Using failures as stepping stones: “Nome Próprio” [2007 Brazil]

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Murilo Salles co-opted author Clara Averbuck’s alter ego Camila from her groundbreaking novel (Máquina de Pinball) for his drama “Nome Próprio” [Eng. Title: Camila Jam].

Leandra Leal in "Camila Jam" (2007 Brazil)Set in São Paulo, the film begins with Camila (Leandra Leal) being kicked out of the apartment by boyfriend Felipe (Juliano Cazarré) following a flaming row between them – apparently she’d ‘cheated’ on him and he wants her out of his life. Camila’s shame, outrage, and vulnerability is underscored by the added detail of her also being completely naked when the eviction happens.

Leandra Leal in "Camila Jam" (Brazil, 2007)Camila wants to be a writer, and whilst waiting for her inspiration, keeps herself engaged socially by maintaining a blog where she’d also built up a following. After a friend in whose apartment she found shelter vacates and leaves unexpectedly, one of her blog fans comes to her rescue and offers her a place a stay.

Leandra Leal in "Camila Jam" (2007, Brazil)But Camila also doesn’t want to be just any writer – she craves for poetry and intensity in everything she does, and she seeks them wherever she can, regardless of the people she might hurt, or despite unfailingly getting hurt herself. Her resourcefulness and chutzpah allows her to dust herself off after every little calamity and and keep chasing that elusive something she’s looking for. As she herself admits, “Sometimes they break my legs, they kick me in the face, and they stomp on my fingers. I survive. I’m scarred too, but I make the most of each and every one of my scars.”

Leandra Leal in "Nome Próprio" (2007, Brazil)Leandra Leal makes the film special by her unforgettable no-holds-barred portrayal of Camila as an intense and worryingly unsatisfied woman. And of course, the credit for that can justifiably be shared with the director too for helping Ms. Leal bring this character out of her. Watching the film after nearly a decade and with a bit more ‘mature’ eyes certainly helped me discover nuances I had missed earlier. I’m aware of some films from elsewhere that touches on similar topics, but the intensity seen in this film is certainly unique. Needless to say, this little gem is Highly Recommended Viewing..!

DVD Purchase Link [NTSC]

 

The Nudity: Leandra Leal, Rosanne Mulholland, Ricardo Garcia, and Gustavo Machado
Leandra Leal appears nude in a number of scenes, most of which are also long and intense. Rosanne Mulholland plays Camila’s best friend Paula and appears nude in a post-coital scene with Leandra Leal. Ricardo Garcia and Gustavo Machado appear briefly nude during their scenes with Camila. The film also features one of the more ‘intriguing’ sex scenes not often seen in mainstream cinema. A drunk Camila taunts, teases, rejects, and challenges an equally drunk Rodrigo (Ricardo Garcia) in a scene that oscillates between rape and seduction for over 8½ minutes – a scene that I’d also love to discuss with readers in the comments section.

Leandra Leal, Rosanne Mulholland, Ricardo Garcia, and Gustavo Machado in "Nome Próprio" aka "Camila Jam" (2007, Brazil)

Leandra Leal in scenes from “Nome Próprio” aka “Camila Jam” (2007, Brazil).

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