Connect with us
Taking place at the turn of the 20th century, Competition entry 'All The Dead Ones' can't find a way to effectively take off.


Berlinale 2020: ‘All The Dead Ones’ Wastes its Important Message

Taking place at the turn of the 20th century, Competition entry ‘All The Dead Ones’ can’t find a way to effectively take off.

A Review of Marco Dutra and Caetano Gotardo’s drama, All the Dead Ones

Exploring the changing tides of a nation, All The Dead Ones is an uneven, slowly plotted tale of two very different families at the turn of the century. While its message is a strong one, the plodding style of the film prevents it from ever really taking off. 

The year is 1899. The slave trade is no more. The city of São Paulo is rapidly transforming thanks to the coffee boom, built on the back of free labour. This freedom is much to the chagrin of the Soares family, who have taken a severe economic knock, moving out of the plantation and back to a regular, old house. This is symbolized in the opening scenes by the death of Josefina (Alaíde Costa), who was once their slave but continued as their servant. 

The matriarch, Isabel (Thaia Perez), is distraught; now no one is available to wash her feet! The father is away working on a coffee farm to keep the family afloat, leaving the two daughters, Ana (Carolina Bianchi) and Maria (Clarissa Kiste), to fend for themselves. The latter has joined a convent, while the former believes she can see the dead slaves from her former plantation, apparently existing just out of the frame. These women are adrift in this new world, which is rapidly under construction both literally and metaphorically to become the country we know today.

Their struggle is contrasted with that of Iná Nascimento (Mawusi Tulani), a former slave looking for her husband. These two narratives collide when Maria becomes fascinated with African cultural rituals, including their apparent ability to help people communicate with the dead. She invites Iná to come over with the belief that she will be able to help Maria and Ana. The rest of the film deals with the result of this conflict, as directors Caetano Gotardo & Marco Dutra deliver a turgid examination of a changing nation that knows what it wants to say but cannot find the right emotional heart to go along with it. 

There are clear parallels to the current situation of the country, which is becoming more nativist under Bolsonaro. All The Dead Ones’ fascinating swerves into the current day suggest that the problems of the past still persist in contemporary Brazil. Slow immersions into magical realism, subtle at first before becoming its central metaphor, help it from being just another dull period drama. Yet, this theme — which could have energized the story — is introduced rather too late to save the film. It also presents a logistical problem, as we barely see São Paulo at all; the majority of the film takes place in stuffy houses. If All the Dead Ones had committed fuller to this theme, it would have quickly come to life. As it stands, this is a dead one. 

All The Dead Ones plays in Competition at the 70th Berlin Film Festival, which runs February 20th, 2020 – March 1, 2019. Visit the festival’s official website for more info.

Written By

As far back as he can remember, Redmond Bacon always wanted to be a film critic. To him, being a film critic was better than being President of the United States

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Exploring the Life and Career of Steve Perry: From Music to Personal Relationships


Jessica Ralston Husband Death: Tracing the Events Surrounding Her Husband’s Demise!


Memphis Anchor Cause of Death Revealed! How Did She Die?


Kim Gravel’s Journey Through Bell’s Palsy and Embracing Self-Acceptance


Who is Vanessa Bryant’s New Husband? The Truth About Her Current Marriage!


Marlena Shaw Husband: What Caused Her Death?


Is Annie Osgood Gay? Unveiling the Reality Behind Her Alleged Sexual Orientation!


Misty Raney’s We­ll-being and Strength.


Martell Holt Net Worth Martell Holt Net Worth

Martell Holt Net Worth


Rachel Maddow’s Health Update and Illness Explained


Is Sandra Smith Pregnant? The Latest Updates on Sandra’s Alleged Pregnancy!


Joni Mitchell Announces First Los Angeles Concert In 24 Years


Is Elisabeth Moss Pregnant? Moss Addresses Speculation About Her Pregnancy!


Chris and Zoe’s Relationship Update from Love Island Australia


90 Day Fiancé’s Liz Woods Is “Very Blessed” While Finally Confirming New Boyfriend


Benzino Drops Another Eminem Diss