A mulher do desejo / House of Shadows (1975) complete; Brazilian gothic horror

http://starlutz.com/blog/ — My favourite films, with pics and clips.
A mulher do desejo / Woman of Desire AKA A Casa das Sombras / House of Shadows (1975) is a Brazilian horror film written, produced and directed by Carlos Hugo Christensen. Besides the unique Coffin Joe series Brazilian horror is surprisingly thin on the ground. The sub-genre here is modern gothic which might tempt you to make comparisons with contemporary Mexican cinema, but the styles of the two countries are very different.

The plot: a young bank clerk (José Mayer) inherits a fortune from his dying Uncle Osman, on condition that he and his wife (Vera Fajardo) inhabit the uncle’s rambling old mansion in a small town on the edge of the mountains. That’s about as much as I’ll say – or indeed know to be honest because there are no subtitles. As well as more modern possession and exorcism themes, the story seems to have a jumble of 19th Century literary influences, with “a note by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and a phrase of Samuel Taylor Coleridge” actually mentioned. And the short cast list credits two doctors and a priest, which gives you an idea.

Atmosphere is the strong point of this film, the claustrophobic interior lighting managing to be both sensual and funereal at once, something unique to Brazilian cinema of the time. But I wish the two leads had been more versatile and sympathetic; they seem to be doing the ugly “startled frown” expression all the time.

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