Ar Condicionado [Air Conditioner] (2020)

Ar Condicionado
Director: Fradique
Writer: Ery Claver, Fradique
Cast: José Kiteculo, Filomena Manuel, David Caracol, Tito Spyck, Sacerdote, Filipe Kamela Paly, Wilson Medradas
Part of: We Are One Film Festival
Seen on: 11.06.2020

Air conditioners are falling everywhere in Luanda, Angola. Housemaid Zézinha (Filomena Manuel) has asked the building security slash manager Matacedo (José Kiteculo) to repair the a/c of her employer, but it was never returned from the shop. Now, the employer is getting impatient and the retrieval of the a/c becomes increasingly more complicated. And why are the units falling anyway?

Ar Condicionado is a strange film, somewhere between SciFi and magical realism, creating an absolutely unique atmosphere that gives one an impression of Luanda itself – or at least I think it does, having never been there myself. It’s strange and evocative.

The film poster showing Zézinha (Filomena Manuel) and Matacedo (José Kiteculo) lying next to an air conditioner.

Ar Condicionado is a film like a heat wave: everything becomes slow, a little heavy and kinda sticky. Watching it immediately puts the audience in that experience of a day too hot for anything at all. Matacedo’s measured movements, the mystery where the solution always seems to be just around the corner – but it’s just too much effort to make that last turn, and do we really want to know anyway?

I mean, there are explanations, and some explanations are more explanatory than others. Other things – like the telepathy – never really are explained in the first place. But there is a certain lethargy to the film that it’s easy to just take things as they are and not aks too many questions. It’s at once relaxing and unusual – I really enjoyed it.

Matacedo (José Kiteculo) in a car, pushing his head out of the window.

The radius of the film is pretty tight – more or less one apartment building and one shop – but the film never feels small, instead it feels much bigger than it is. Part of that is the great cinematogaphy, another part is the wonderful music, and yet another part is simply Kiteculo’s face that is so expressive in a stoic way that it’s easy to get lost in it.

The film definitely impressed me, especially because it was the debut feature by Fradique. It will be exciting to see what else he does in the coming years.

Matacedo (José Kiteculo) looking worried.

Summarizing: Fantastic.

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