TIFF 2022: Our Review of ‘Fogo-Fátuo’

Posted in TIFF 2022 by - September 17, 2022
TIFF 2022: Our Review of ‘Fogo-Fátuo’

One by one, the Portuguese firemen climb up a wooden wall. There’s a whimsy to these scenes, with its bright colours and the fact that the firemen look stronger than me but they look like they’re barely working out. Eventually joining their ranks is Alfredo (Mauro Costa) the Crown Prince of a fictional version of Portugal that still has a monarchy. The reason why he’s joining the fire department instead of doing crown prince things is because of his love for forests, a love becoming stronger because of climate change. The department partners him up with Afonso (Andre Cabral), a Black sociology major turned fireman. A romance blossoms between them, which they express through reenactments of Baroque paintings, dance, song, mutual masturbation, and race play.

It’s difficult to figure out the royal angle in all of this. There’s a possible defense for the race play part, and Fogo-Fátuo, or Will-o’-the-wisp, is aware that these jokes that Alfredo and Afonso throw at each other make them more nuanced than plain sympathetic. The fact that Alfredo goes too far, or farther than Afonso, also adds to that ‘nuance’. All of those scenes just feel unnecessary. I also understand the erudition on display here as well as its obscure references but it feels just like that – display. This is the second Wavelengths movie depicting public forest sex in three years or so. I don’t mind seeing a third next year as long as they do it right during that next time.

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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.
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