À deriva (Adrift) 2008 Brasil (102 minutes) written and directed by Heitor Dhalia.
Imagine a Latin version of Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm (1997), set on a summer beach in Brasil: sex is at its core, adults misbehave, it is very intense and sad, but none of the main characters die.
Vincent Cassel plays Mathias, a novelist staying with his wife Clarice (Debora Bloch), two teenage daughters and a son at their beach house in Armação Dos Búzios, an upscale resort 100 miles north of Rio de Janiero, during their summer vacation.
The film’s tag as a ‘thriller’ is overblown, considering Bond and the Bournes; this is a tense domestic drama. The daughters are just discovering boys while the parents’ marriage, long on the rocks, is about to break up. The atmosphere is thick with adult passion. Most of the story comes from the point of view of Mathias’ eldest daughter Felipa (Laura Neiva).
Felipa feels the tension between her parents, sees her mother regularly drink too much and hears her say nasty things to the father. Mathias meanwhile carries on with a wealthy, sexy ‘American’. Felipa digs around in her father’s desk, secretly follows him, figures out ‘everything’ in a 14-year-old-girl way—of course, entirely off the mark—and acts on that basis.
Well cast, nicely observed, beautifully shot, and written by Heitor Dhalia, who also directed The Constant Gardener and co-directed City of God.