Psychedelia and coincidence explored in “Paraísos Artificiais” [2012 Brazil]

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Director Marcos Prado makes his feature film debut through “Paraísos Artificiais” [Eng. Title: Artificial Paradises], a story set amidst the rave scene and a group of young people embracing eclectic new age ideals. We follow their fortunes over a period of six years.

Most of the film’s events are told through flashback as Nando, released after serving time for drug trafficking, reminisces his past, including one Érika, a DJ he’d incidentally met in Amsterdam four years ago. Or so he thinks, for Érika seems to remember him from earlier. Who knows what a string of coincidences could lead to…

One of the noteworthy features of the film is the way it tries to connect events and circumstances by boldly jumping through time-lines. The treatment is typically European, and the cyclical style of linking events, including the tone used reminds us of Julio Medem’s classics such as Los Amantes del Circulo Polar and Lucía y el Sexo. As does the stunning cinematography by Lula Carvalho, which nevertheless is made all the more easier with the use of ‘star’ locations – the spectacular Brazilian scenes are a particular delight that doesn’t require any psychedelic drugs to appreciate. There are, as hinted, several instances of casual drug-use and abuse strewn throughout the film – I don’t know if this is considered ‘normal’ behaviour among those circles, having never had the opportunity nor inclination to participate in raves – I’ll just have to take Prado’s word for it. The film doesn’t rely too much on individual performances to carry the narrative – the camera work, edits and the impressive sound track gets the necessary message across. There are nevertheless a number of beautiful people making an appearance, both male and female, not least the lovely Nathalia Dill who plays Érika, and pretty Lívia de Bueno who plays her friend and lover Lara. Altogether, this is a pleasant film, very well made, and more importantly, it is an impressive feature debut by Marcos Prado Recommended Viewing..!

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