By Nathan M. Walters, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – 360, the new feature film from Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles, opens in theaters in Brazil today.  The film, wrapped around the globe, crossing frontiers of language, culture, and religion, deals with universal issues played out in personal conflicts.  Another accomplishment for Meirelles and Brazilian cinema.

Director Fernando Meirelles and actress Maria Flor speak about the new film 360, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Director Fernando Meirelles and actress Maria Flor speak about the new film 360, photo by Nathan M. Walters.

Meirelles’ cinematic vision in the jarring 2002 film Cidade de Deus (“City of God”) has earned the Paulista director legendary status in his home country and among cinephiles around the world.

In a time when Hollywood has reached a nadir of creativity (rehashing nostalgia and locked into a lucrative pattern of serial storytelling), Meirelles’ 360 is proof there are personal stories that still resonate with a global audience.

The screenplay was written by Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon), and features an acclaimed cast of international talent – Anthony Hopkins, Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, and the fresh-faced Brazilian talent Maria Flor among others. The film relies on global interconnectedness storyline that other recent films have explored, notably Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Babel.

Yet, unlike Iñárritu’s film, which focuses on the differences that connect us, 360 is more focused on universal themes of guilt and the consequences of desire in modern society. Themes that cut across religious, cultural, and language barriers.

Meirelles and Brazilian cinematographer Adriano Goldman successfully capture the emotions of complex situations in a sprawling storyline. Fractured and multi-frame shots shift like train cars, like elevators, before being pushed to the side by incoming scenes, the movement bolsters the tone of the film, as the story winds around the world.

In his past films, Meirelles has worked with big themes and the impact on the individual – notably the nature of humanity in the 2008 film Blindness (a unique slant on the post-apocalyptic genre).  In 360, the focus is less on the grand structures of society and more on how individuals work within those structures.  

The result, though perhaps not as moving as his past films, is another cinematic accomplishment for Meirelles. One that is most certainly worthy of trip to the cinema.

Read more (in Portuguese).

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