By Luiza Moscoso, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – Sigmund Freud would be proud. A woman in her 40’s discovering herself on a psychoanalyst’s couch is the national film market’s center of attention this week. The feature film “Divã” (“Couch”, in a literal translation) premiered last Friday on the theaters and is expected to be this year’s new big hit since “Se Eu Fosse Você 2” (“If I Were You 2”), the most-watched Brazilian film of 2009 so far, which premiered early January and was already seen by six million people.
Such big expectations have it’s reasons. “Divã” has had a successful career before going to the movies. Written by Martha Medeiros, the story was first conceived as a book, published in 2002. After a few years, Medeiros adapted the book into a play, which premiered in 2005 and ran for over three years with actress Lilia Cabral as the leading character (last seen on TV in the soap opera “A Favorita” playing Catarina). The idea to bring “Divã” to the big screen started while the play was still running.
“I had heard about the book when I saw the play. I went to the backstage to greet Lilia and whispered in her ear: ‘Let’s make the Divã movie!’. She was surprised and laughed, and six months later I got a call from her saying she had got Martha’s authorization”, tells the director José Alvarenga Jr.
Only after he read the book he realized the play had a completely different format. According to Alvarenga, the film is faithful to both the book and the play, but has it’s own universe as well.
Starring the same Lilia Cabral, the movie “Divã” follows the story of Mercedes, a married woman, mother of two, who decides to see a psychoanalyst. What started as a curiosity turns into an intense process of discovery. The psychoanalysis sessions along with conversations with her best friend, Mônica (played by Alexandra Richter), gives Mercedes a new perspective on her so-called established life.
“Mercedes is a woman who thought she was living a life. She was married for 20 years to a lawyer, worked as a teacher, liked painting… But once she started to talk, she got to know herself and figured out she wasn’t living, or was living, but wasn’t happy”, explains Lilia Cabral.
The cast also includes famous TV stars like José Mayer, who plays Mercedes’s husband, Reynaldo Gianecchini (Theo) and Cauã Reymond (Murilo), both playing younger men with whom the leading woman gets involved during her rediscovering process.
“She’s an uncommon woman leaving a common life, and that’s what interested all of us in this project. People recognize themselves in Mercedes. There are the kids, the husband, the marriage boredom, the break up which may never happen, the adultery that can happen without guilt… And this woman would admit all of this in a firm way, which can be a monstrous taboo for a lot of people”, tells the director.