O Barão [The Baron] (2011)

O Barão
Director: Edgar Pêra
Writer: Luísa Costa Gomes
Based on: Branquinho da Fonseca‘s novel [Portuguese]
Cast: Marcos Barbosa, Nuno Melo, Leonor Keil, Marina Albuquerque
Part of: /slash Filmfestival

An inspector (Marcos Barbosa) travels to a small town to check out some complaints about the teacher of the school there. The town is ruled by a mysterious baron (Nuno Melo) who invites the inspector to dinner. Soon the inspector is drawn into a series of weird events – and who knows what’s really happening?

The Baron is kinda like a Kafka-esque Dracula story and I have to admit that it’s way too artsy for my taste. There were some pretty cool things about it, but it just got a little exhausting.

The film starts off pretty great. Pêra decided to shoot the entire film as if it was made in the 40s and he sticks to that – from the casting of actors who adhere to the beauty/filmstar standards of the time to the special effects. And I very much liked the start of the film where the inspector travels.

Pêra superimposes 2 to 4 video layers at almost all the time and especially for that travel sequence that works really well. And he is great with the subtitles, too. They are not only translations of the words, but also reflect volume and are placed on the screen where they’d fit and not necessarily at the bottom. That’s pretty damn awesome.

But after the first 15 minutes or so, when the novelty’s worn off and the coolness of the thing established, it gets really exhausting. Though the increasing WTFery of the plot could have been the reason for that exhaustion, too.

The movie did gain favor with me again with the after credits scene, a pretty brilliant acapella version of Final Countdown sung by Vozes da Radio in full 12th century monk get-up, which was pretty damn awesome.

Summarising: It just wasn’t my thing.


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