The lure of Madame Satã
The directorial debut of Karim Ainouz’s, Madame Sata, is a pictorial marvel detailing the life of Joao Francisco dos Santos, a black Brazilian living in 1930’s racially and socially oppressive Lapa (northern Brazil). Joao (Lazaro Ramos), along with Laurita, (Marcelia Cartaxo) his best friend and Tabu, (Flavio Bauraqui) his pseudo household maid, construct a colorful yet restrained, irrational yet tender, spellbinding yet dark world through prostitution, drug usage and fantasy. Having the desire to rise above his meager lifestyle, Joao aspires to be a celebrated stage entertainer and loved by the public. Madame Sata illustrates how Joao “negotiates being in the world”, reacts to its judgment and the harsh realities that hauntingly follows. Ramos and the entire cast of Madame, unforgettably breathe life into the sounds, sadness, beauty, and personal narrative of the human experience. The movie alluringly captures the multifarious textures, shades, and rhythms of Brazil in dramatic lighting and cinematography.