Lower City (Cidade Baixa) - Alice Braga, Lázaro Ramos, Wagner Moura, Sérgio Machado
Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities
Love to live. Live to love.
From a small town in Brazil, Karinna (Alice Braga) is trying to get to Salvador where she has ambitions of being an exotic dancer. Best friends Deco (Lázaro Ramos) and Naldinho (Wagner Moura) 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 cock-fight and Naldinho, 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 down-town 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.
Theatrical propaganda posters
Target demographic movie keyword propaganda
- Film Brazil Salvador crime big city love relationship triangle emotion sex trust threesome Portuguese drama romance
Persons of interest
- Alice Braga .... Karinna
- Harildo Deda .... Careca
- José Dumont .... Sergipano
- Maria Menezes .... Luzinete
- João Miguel .... Edvan
- Wagner Moura .... Naldinho
- Lázaro Ramos .... Deco
- Débora Santiago .... Sirlene
- Sérgio Machado .... Screenwriter
- Karim Ainouz .... Screenwriter
- Sérgio Machado .... Director
Cinematic intelligence sources
- Lower City (Cidade Baixa) official movie site
- Lower City (Cidade Baixa) film production notes
- Lower City (Cidade Baixa) QuickTime movie trailers
- Awards and film festivals:
- Bangkok International Film Festival 2006: Windows on the world
- Brisbane International Film Festival 2006: Screening
- Cannes Film Festival 2005: Won: Award of the Youth (Sérgio Machado)
- London Film Festival 2005: Film on the Square
- NB: Portuguese language dialogue with English language subtitles
- See also The Edukators (Die fetten jahre sind vorbei)
- Studios and distributors:
Special Agent Matti
Wow. I haven't seen as intense an examination of "How men get along" as Lower City (Cidade Baixa) in a very long time.
Deco (Lázaro Ramos) and Naldinho (Wagner Moura) fight for alpha domination all through the film using sex, violence and sexual violence to get their way. If they were any sexier this would be Brokeback Mountain. In many ways, this is also the sequel to City of God (Cidade de Deus): the ghetto kids have grown up, discovered sex, worked for a better life, failed and learned things about themselves they didn't want to. That's where Karinna (Alice Braga) comes in: poor, adventurous, cocky, sexy. If anything was about to distract Deco and Naldinho from each other it's Karinna.
The one thing they want is a three-way and the one thing they can't have is a three-way. Machismo sucks.
Media intelligence (DVD)
- Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
- Languages: Portuguese
- Picture: Widescreen (16:9)
- Special features:
- Deleted scenes
- Cast rehearsals
- Trailers: Theatrical
- Subtitles: English
Security censorship classification
MA 15+ (Strong sex scenes, strong violence)
98 minutes (1:38 hours)