TIFF 2017: Our Review of ‘Under Pressure’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Theatrical, TIFF 2017, TV by - September 09, 2017
TIFF 2017: Our Review of ‘Under Pressure’

Brazil’s Andrucha Waddington switches gears from rural Brazil to the favelas in Under Pressure. This is a TV version of a movie that he released last year. Waddington and his co-director Mini Kerti show the favela as a stressful place, all the more so in that area’s hospital. That’s where the weary head surgical doctor Evandro (Julio Andrade) works. The first scene shows him trying to save his wife’s Madalena’s life to no avail. The rest of the series shows us the events a year after Madalena’s death. It rides on the idea of how he deals with that loss. What helps or hurts is his right hand, Carolina (Marjorie Estiano). Since this is television, there’s sexual tension between them. Another factor that hurts him is his substance habits.

Despite the switch from rural to urban, the show still tackles issues that are innately Brazilian. There’s the poverty plaguing its citizens and making their familial structures more complex than it already is. A patient in the series premiere is a pregnant woman. She’s unconscious in a hospital that doesn’t have a maternity ward and has no supplies. Out in the hallway are her mother and ex-boyfriend, both of whom dislike each other. Again, since this is a hospital show, there are scenes that show blood. It also shows the patient’s breasts. This is a frank yet desexualized way of showing a dying woman’s body. These choices make this show an interesting, international twist to a show full of archetypes.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.