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Love For Sale (DVD Review)

27 Jul, 2008 By: Laura Tiffany

Love For Sale

Prebook 7/31/08; Street 8/26/08
$27.99 DVD
In Portuguese with English subtitles.

A homecoming for a prodigal son or daughter can be bittersweet — or just plain bitter when they come back less than triumphant.

Hermila (Hermila Guedes) returns to her small town from a stint in Sao Paulo, where she got married and had a baby, but she doesn't land softly back at her grandmother's house. She returns with only baby, not husband.

Unable to find work and inspired by her prostitute friend, Hermila alights on the idea of raffling herself off for “one night in paradise” to earn money for a house. After learning what it's like for half the town to think she's a whore, her plans change.

Love for Sale is a movie made of the small, often silent moments that can lead to a life-changing event. While beautifully shot in a dusty, ramshackle town in Brazil, director and writer Karim Ainouz (Madame Sata) seems even more inspired by the unconventional beauty of Guedes. With a winning smile, badly bleached hair and tiny outfits that both ward off the Brazilian heat and attract the local men, she veers precariously from being a young woman who rightfully should be dancing and drinking with friends, to one who believes her body is the only way out of her situation.

It's a slow, melancholy piece that touches on the tragedies of being a young, poor mother who cannot find her place in the world. Wife, mother, worker, friend, whore — none seem to fit right, perhaps because she cannot allow them to fit.

The Love for Sale moniker is a most unfortunate change. The original title, Suely in the Sky, is a much more apt name for this dreamy slice-of-life film. While only 90 minutes long, the molasses pacing may put some impatient viewers off, but for those who want to soak in the scenery and a moving story, this will be a good choice.

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