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Cidade Baixa (Lower City)

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Original title
Cidade Baixa
Running time
100 min.
Brazil Brazil
Sergio Machado, Karim Aïnouz
Carlinhos Brown, Beto Villares
Toca Seabra
VideoFilmes, Buena Onda
Synopsis / Plot
From a small town in Brazil, Karinna is trying to get to Salvador where she has ambitions of being an exotic dancer. Best friends, Deco and Naldinho, offer to take her on their boat as long as she has sex with them both. She agrees; everyone gets a free ride, and everyone is happy.
Just before Salvador, Deco gets into a brawl during a cockfight and Naldino, trying to protect him, gets stabbed in the stomach. Karinna, on the verge of leaving, changes her mind and stays to help, nursing Naldinho in her lap, doing what she can to try and stop the heavy bleeding. They manage to get the dying Naldinho as far as Cidade Baixa in Salvador where they beg for help from an old friend. Naldinho hovers between life and death for days, and the two of them never leave his side.
At last, the doctor confirms that Naldinho will live. Awash with relief and exhaustion, Karinna and Deco cling to each other, until the heat between them changes and they begin to make love urgently and obliviously, emotions overwhelming them both.
As Naldinho recovers, and Karinna helps care for him, he begins to fall for her too, despite knowing about Deco's feelings for her. She is impulsive and wilful and bursts with a sexuality and vulnerability which is intoxicating to both men. Karinna too finds herself drawn strongly to both men. And before long she is involved with both, falling heavily in love with each, all three tied together by the shared bond of horror of Naldinho's near death.
But slowly, like a cancer, obsession and jealousy begin to permeate the threesome. Unable to decide between them, Karinna tries to leave them both, knowing that it's because of her that a life friendship is being ripped apart. But it's too late, Deco and Naldinho can no longer trust each other, and neither can keep away from her.
Cidade Baixa, meaning Lower City, is the downtown port area of Salvador, known for its connections to trade and shipping, a fluid population and, literally, a lower social class in colonial Portuguese Salvador. Cidade Baixa is the symbol for a depiction of a Brazil with an inherent and wondrous capacity for healing and reinvention. Deco, Naldinho and Karinna mirror a country which, despite all adversities, determines to struggle on at all costs and against all odds.

2005 Cannes Film Festival: Winner Award of the Youth.
2005: Cannes: Award of la Juventud
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