Reviewed by: Trinity

Tania, a young factory worker, is still mourning the death of her husband. As she neglects her son, Rato, he falls in with a bad crowd and is implicated in the robbery of the school canteen. Threatened with jail, they go on the run towards Lisbon, along with Rato's "girlfriend" Liliana, intending to escape to a new life. But this is not an easy journey and life throws many obstacles in their path. Before long, Liliana has reluctantly abandoned them and they are abducted and Tania raped. Can they make it to the city and wipe out the memories of their past?

Policewoman is a distinctive, yet enigmatic, film. Tania and Rato's journey is told in a series of episodes, with new external characters in each. It is also a film that leaves you both puzzled and torn, for the ending merely caps off the sense of anguish, which is the central theme. And yet, things are not always explained: what is the real relationship between Rato and Liliana? Why does the policewoman help them in the end?

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Joaquim Sapinho has produced a work of deliberate pacing and used a variety of external locations to create a measured, elegant feel, contrasting with the chaotic lives of the main characters. He also elicits a superb performance from Amelia Coroa, as the pained, beautiful Tania, who wants the best for her son, yet only realises how isolated she has become when tragedies start to befall them.

A tough film to watch, but one that rewards a bit of extra thought.

Reviewed on: 21 Aug 2003
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A mother and son escape from their past lives in Portugal.

Director: Joaquim Sapinho

Writer: Joaquim Sapinho

Starring: Amélia Corôa, Ludovic Videira, Maria Silva, Miguel Romeira, Norbeto Barroca, João Manata, Joaquim Santos, José Pinto, Vítor Norte, Jorge Fernandes

Year: 2003

Runtime: 84 minutes

Country: Portugal/Spain/France/Brazil


EIFF 2003

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