Keswick Film Club - Reviews - Aquarius

Reviews - Aquarius

Aquarius

Reviewed By Ian Payne

Aquarius
Aquarius
Clara is a 65 year old widow living in a low-rise, 1930's style apartment block, The Aquarius, opposite the beach in Recife, Brazil. It is a lovely spacious, airy apartment, filled with LPs and books from her time as a music journalist and writer. She lives alone, not just in her apartment but in the whole block, a construction company having bought up the other apartments as they became available.

Enter Diego, the son of the construction company boss, fresh out of business school in the USA, who is given the job of turning the site of The Aquarius into a modern high-rise. He needs Clara out and her negative response is both simple and dignified.

As Diego goes about his business by fair means and foul, we follow Clara as she gets on with her life and we see just why The Aquarius is so important to her. It is the centre of her world, it is where she brought up her children. It seems like the perfect retirement – she is wealthy and can afford to employ Ladjane as a cook and companion; her extended family is close; she has an extensive network of friends and then there is the Brazilian climate and the beach opposite for her daily dip and calisthenics.

Yet Diego's actions start to chip away at that quality of life and Clara needs to stand firm, not only against the Company but also her family who see Diego's financial inducement as a windfall that should not be ignored. In the end it is Clara's social network that comes to her aid rather than her close family.

Sonia Braga, who plays Clara is on screen for the majority of the film's two hours and, twenty minutes. She is mesmerising with a quiet beauty and dignity yet when Diego's friends try to drive her out with a loud and frankly obscene party in the vacant flat above her, her response is to pour a large glass of red wine and put a Queen LP on the turntable at full volume and sing along.

It was a film that divided the audience – one comment on the feedback slip was "One of the best if not the best film I have seen in ages. Very powerful" yet another was "Boring – walked out".
Certain Women that was shown at the Club a couple of weeks ago had the same divisive reaction. I loved Aquarius and was totally unmoved by Certain Women and in trying to analyse why, it came down to being able to relate to the lead characters. Clara is portrayed as an old lady, yet she is 'only' 65, she is fit and active and faces life head on – as Pete Townshend put it, its talking about my generation.

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19th Keswick Film Festival

22nd-25th February 2018


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