A film that could be viewed as a comic version of Precious or Winter’s Bone, Carmo, Hit The Road is yet another addition to that troubling emerging tabloid genre known as poverty porn. In other words, do more privileged audiences really need to extract derisive laughs consumed as entertainment, at the expense of disadvantaged Third World populations deciphered as caricatures?
Writer/director Murilo Pasta, a white Italian-Brazilian casting an amused, contemptuous eye on the multi-cultural oppressed people surrounding him, characterizes those fellow Brazilians as ranging from duplicitous and depraved to mentally challenged at best. The narrative is crafted as a road movie through criminally corrupt border towns as Euro-victim Marco Bermejo (Fele Martinez), a smuggling paraplegic Spaniard, is repeatedly threatened with theft of his contraband, and in one case male rape by an Afro-Brazilian unable to contain his libido.
Ambivalently joining him along the way in odd couple budding romance is Maria do Carmo (Mariana Loureiro), a scantily clad local hottie warding off the lecherous proles swarming around her, as if swatting flies. And she’s desperate to hitchhike away from this sinister when not surreal Brazilian underclass reality, seemingly as repulsed as the filmmaker.
Carmo, Hit The Road depicts its lowlife inhabitants as if a blight on the contrasting visually captivating South American landscape, imparted through Pasta’s lovingly conveyed lens. Perhaps next time around this novice director and his talent for capturing imagery with a lyrical flair, will glean a similar creative euphoria in the discovered humanity of the people around him as well.
First Run Features