Chico Xavier is the latest flick following the Brazilian trend ofbiographical movies. Directed by the artistically inept soap-operadirector Daniel Filho, Chico Xavier appears to be a film madeexclusively to make big bucks out of an audience of religious viewers.And at this, it has been extremely successful. Instead of adopting abalanced approach to present the life of controversial spiritual figureChico Xavier, the script and direction faithfully follow a biographicalbook that portrays the main character as a sort of martyr saint ofspiritism. From the opening scene in a talk show in the 1970's it isquite clear that the spiritual powers and infinite benigness of ChicoXavier will overcome any difficulties and conquer even the most skepticminds. The director resorts to a number of cheap devices to make theaudience emotional and oblivious to the story's many flaws andinconsistencies. All the possible objections to the spiritual phenomenaattributed to the so-called medium are quickly dismissed with someextraordinary event or an incredible display of generosity by Chico orhis friends from the other side. That is exactly why the movie fails toelicit real drama and tension in anyone who appreciates a well-toldhuman story. We can't really connect to someone who stoically enduresgreat suffering and incomprehension without ever having a single burstof anger or revolt. Some scenes are almost comical in its zealousnessto promote the sainthood of Chico, like the one in which his fathertakes him, as a young man, to a brothel. The cast includes manywell-known Brazilian soap-opera actors who do not really make much of adifference to the overall sleepy mood of the entire work. Regardless ofreligious beliefs, it is impossible not to recognize the immenseinfluence Chico Xavier has had on the Brazilian people. That is exactlywhy his story deserved better than this half-cooked piece of commercialcinema.User: Claudio Carvalho
First of all, I would like to say that I have no religion or spiritualbelief; therefore, I was reluctant to see "Chico Xavier". Further, Ihave never followed the life or achievements of Chico Xavier, and I amabsolutely impressed with his biography.
This film has a magnificent screenplay, following the remarkable lifeof Chico Xavier since he was nine years old in 1919 through flashbacksin the Saulo Guimar?es' talk show and the personal drama of the atheistTV director Orlando and his wife Gl?ria that lost their beloved son inan accident with a weapon with his best friend.
The acting is top-notch, and the unknown boy Matheus Costa isspectacular in the role of a nine year-old Chico Xavier. The hauntingmusic score is another plus in this film.
For those like me that do not know the biography of Chico Xavier, Iwould like to highlight the following information:
Chico Xavier's spiritual guide was Emmanuel. He wrote 412 books; sold40 million units in 33 languages, including 30 books in Braille.However, Chico Xavier has denied the authorship of the books and hasnever received any copyright for any book. All the revenue with theselling has been donated to beneficent institutions. Anotherinteresting point is that Chico Xavier has always said that he woulddie when the Brazilian people would be happy. He died on 30 June 2002,with 92 years old and ten hours after the Brazilian soccer team winsthe World Cup for the fifth time.
Last but not the least; this film is better and better than "Lula, OFilho do Brasil" that was selected to dispute the nomination to theOscar in the Best Foreign Language category.
My vote is nine.
Title (Brazil): "Chico Xavier"
It's a quite hard work to portrait the essence of Chico Xavier's life.Although he lived 92 years and psycho-graphed more than 400 books,Chico Xavier's life was, above all superlatives, an example of charity,love to his fellowman, resignation, patience and true Christianhumbleness. Not even his written works are more important than hisexample as a good man.
The movie, based on Marcel Souto Maior's best-seller As Vidas de ChicoXavier (The Lives of Chico Xavier), portraits his life from the age of9 (performed by the incredible boy-actor Matheus Costa) until hisadulthood. ?ngelo Antonio performs Chico Xavier as young man and NelsonXavier (no parenthood, by the way) performs the character as amature/old man. It's quite poignant to see how Chico Xavier wasmisunderstood during his childhood and and throughout his life. As aboy he was called "the haunted kid", lunatic and lier. Such "fame"would result in terrible beatings by his father and godmother (who tookcare of him after the death of his beloved mother). As a young man hewas persecuted and accused of mystification, despite having given hisentire life to ease the pain of many families who lost their lovedones.
Daniel Filho's direction is discreet. He opted to tell the storywithout special effects (had every reasons to use them) or greatcinematographic tricks. His direction is secure, almost linear, butresulted in a great effect, since it never conflicts or steals thespotlights from the most important figure of the movie, Chico Xavieritself. Egbert Gismonti's musical score is superb, fusing traditionalreligious songs with sounds of nature, involving the scenes with amagical and emotional atmosphere at the same time. Marcos Bernstein'sscreenplay is correct but fails a bit when leaves many important factsout of the final script. Nonato Estrela's cinematography is good,although a little dark in many sequences of the movie.
Concerning the cast, the movie has the amazing performance of NelsonXavier, which resemblance to the character itself is creepy. He givesthe character a suave/humorous without exaggerating in any time. ?ngeloAntonio shows an insecure and naive Chico Xavier in his younger daysand Matheus Costa plays the role with all its suffering and feeling ofincomprehension. Ana Rosa as Carmen shows how to make bigger a bitparticipation. Tony Ramos and Cristine Torloni are pure emotion, Andr?Dias as Emmanuel (Chico Xavier's spiritual guide) plays his role withgreat dignity and Pedro Paulo Rangel as Father Scarzelo gives ashow-stopping performance making his character to explode on the silverscreen.
For all those above reasons I do recommend the movie. For those who,like me, met him in person and for those who still do not know him,this movie is a great opportunity to get to know who was Chico Xavier,a man called love!