Arthouse Garage Podcast

Podcast Transcript for Episode 47: Bacurau

Read the Podcast Transcript for Episode 47: Bacurau

Read the transcript below:

Andrew Sweatman 0:08
Hello, hello and welcome back to art house garage, the snob free movie podcast where we make arthouse indie classic and foreign cinema accessible to the masses. I am your host, Andrew Sweatman. As we’ve been looking at the best films of 2020, for this season of the podcast, there’s been a lot of options of what to discuss. I made a list of maybes of films that we could cover this season. And it’s a long list. It’s been a little tricky to narrow the list down to decide what to talk about week to week. So I was thrilled when my friend and filmmaker Chad Hill, reached out to me he’s been on the podcast before, several weeks ago to discuss the political documentary The way I see it. He sent me a message and asked if I had seen today’s film back around, and he said he’d be up for a podcast discussion. And I said, Absolutely, yes. back around had been on my radar, and this gave me an excuse to prioritize it. And Chad is a great discusser of films, so I was more than happy to welcome him back to the show. Chad made a film recently called invitation, and I saw it as part of the filmland Festival shortfilms this past October. Stay tuned because Chad and I will discuss it in this episode, and we’ll share how you can see it online. Before we get into the episode proper, it’s time for the snob free glossary.

This is the part of the show where we explain any films, filmmakers or filmmaking terms that we referenced later in the episode that you might be unfamiliar with. So you’ll have the context you need to fully appreciate the discussion. Here we go. We talk a fair amount about the filmmaker john carpenter. In case you’ve never heard of him. He’s a director who had most of his biggest hits in the 70s and 80s. films like Halloween Escape from New York, the thing and several more. He’s known for his ability, among other things to build tension, and that’s what we discussed a little bit in the episode. We also talked about Paul Verhoeven, if you’re not familiar with that name, he’s the director of Robocop, among other things. He’s a Dutch director known for movies with a lot of graphic content, mixed with social commentary. He also directed Total Recall Basic Instinct, showgirls and Starship Troopers. Next up, Alejandro jodorowsky, is a very interesting filmmaker, who I only became aware of myself in the last few years. He makes these very strange psychedelic films that are generally pretty well regarded in film circles. His films have a lot of religious symbolism, and they’re just plain bizarre. If you want an idea of what I mean, go watch the trailer for his 1973 film, the holy mountain on YouTube. It’s pretty wild stuff. We also make mention of Sergio Leone, a filmmaker credited with creating the spaghetti western, which is called that because they’re westerns produced in Italy. Perhaps his best known film is the good, the bad and the ugly from 1968. But he has a handful of other really well known westerns as well in his filmography. Fast forwarding to more modern times, we discussed the director s Craig zahler, whose films bone Tomahawk and brawl in cellblock. 99 are highly critically acclaimed and also brutally violent. I mentioned briefly the film Django Unchained, which is a Quentin Tarantino film from 2012 that features Jamie Foxx as a former slave on a revenge tour, and Leonardo DiCaprio as an over the top slaver. And finally, we make reference to the film taxi driver. This is the Martin Scorsese film from 1967 about a war veteran named Travis Bickle, played by a very young Robert De Niro. Travis Bickle has a job as a taxi driver, and a penchant for violence. This is one of the all time great films, and it’s where we get the famous line. Are you talking to me?

Unknown Speaker 4:18
Are you talking to me?

Unknown Speaker 4:19
Are you talking to me?

Andrew Sweatman 4:24
And that’s it for the snob free glossary onto the episode. As I mentioned before, Chad Hill is my guest this week, a filmmaker and an incredibly smart guy. I’m so happy to have him back on the show today. Welcome to the podcast. Chad Hill. How are you doing?

Chad Hill 4:40
Hey, I’m doing fantastic. I’m glad to be here and glad to be talking about this movie with you. This is a movie that I’ve been like. I saw it and I fell in love with it. And I’m shocked to see that not as many people were talking about it. Yeah,

Andrew Sweatman 4:56
yeah, no, I agree. I basically had heard the name of it and heard people saying, Man, that movie’s crazy. Like that was basically all I knew, but heard more and more positive things about it. So I was excited when you actually reached out to me and said, Hey, can we talk about back around the podcast? I was like, Yeah, that sounds great. And gave me an excuse to watch it. And so glad that I did, because I really, really liked it. Just before we get any further into that, I want to ask you, you’re a filmmaker. And you had last time you were here. We talked about your short the invitation, or is it just invitation? Just invitation, right?

Chad Hill 5:29
Yeah, it’s just an invitation. Everyone kind of has an impulse to add to the front of it. But it’s just invitation at what’s the latest with that? Yeah, so we’re, we finished a festival run on it. And I’m looking at putting it online. shortly. If it’s not online, at the time of this recording, it will be shortly thereafter. I guess, by the time the podcast comes out. But that’ll be available probably on Vimeo and YouTube and yeah, so right.

Andrew Sweatman 5:56
Yeah, I’ll definitely link that in the show notes. And in case people weren’t listening, last time you were here, we talked about the way I see it previously, when you run the podcast, and I talked about the film a little bit, just invitation, because I had seen it at film land, and really, really loved it. Actually, that’s kind of how we met over Instagram. But it is it’s got some religious themes. It’s really funny. It’s really, you know, one of those like funny and oddly moving kind of things, I think it’s really well done. So highly recommend clicking the link in the show notes and taking a few minutes to watch that. Cool. All right. Well, without further ado, let’s talk about back around.

Unknown Speaker 7:08
This is back.

Andrew Sweatman 8:03
Okay, let’s talk about back around. So this is a Brazilian film, what kind of actually collaboration between Brazil and France, Brazilian and French filmmakers. But this is a story that it’s a little bit hard to classify. You could call it a Western. And I’m gonna talk a little bit about, you know, that classification, but you can also call it a horror movie, I think even has some sci fi elements. The setup without spoiling anything, we’re going to talk a little bit spoiler free, we will give a spoiler warning, whenever we start talking about really, the the second two thirds of this movie just has a lot of juicy plot stuff that we need to talk about on the podcast, but it is, you know, something you wouldn’t want to know going into this movie. But basically, it’s about a small village in Brazil. And it just, there’s a lot of really foreboding things happening in the beginning, but it’s, you know, there’s a truck full of caskets crashed on the side of the road. And that’s a that’s one of the first things we see in the film. We learned that there’s some political turmoil, they’ve been denied water. Things are things are a little bit unusual. But But really, we get to know this, this village and the culture of this village. And there’s a there’s a funeral happening from one of the villages matriarchs, right in the beginning, who has, you know, been a staple of this community for a long time. But we get to know a lot of these different characters and it really portrays them with with dignity and respect that that you would expect from a Brazilian filmmaker, I guess. But that I guess it’s one of the themes of the movie, as it goes is that they’re not always treated with dignity and respect. And that’s kind of that’s that kind of that a very basic setup. But then more and more strange things start happening like they disappear from bait like Google Maps, where the the equivalent of Google Maps and then basically a flying saucer shows up at a few moments. That’s really odd. And I’m trying to think what else I can say without without jumping into spoilers, but there’s a lot of foreboding things on the horizon. You know, what am I leaving out of a plot synopsis? There Chad helped me out.

Chad Hill 10:17
Yeah, so I guess I’d say like the film starts by saying this is a few years from now. So it’s sometime in the near future. I think that’s important that there’s some very subtle, like, like, almost so subtle, you might not pick up on them, but very subtle dystopic elements to the film. Like, as we get the intro, the kind of our entry point character is this woman named Teresa who’s a doctor and she’s returning to the village for the first time specifically for this matriarchs funeral. And along the way, we get some, you know, some really great details of you know, we’re in this this water truck that’s driving water into city and we’re passing old schools out dilapidated schools in the middle of nowhere, they’ve been shut down and truck crashed on the highway with with the caskets and you know, it’s very clearly like, if we didn’t get that title card saying this sometime in the future, we have assumed like, Oh, this is probably modern day, or maybe sometime in the near past in this area. And then we see this futuristic digital console on the on the dashboard of the truck that they’re driving. And that gives information that’s giving news bulletins on some turmoil that’s happening somewhere in the country, and particularly a wanted poster where we learn about this gang that’s holding the water supply hostage nearby, because the government is not giving them what they need. And there’s a lot of really just striking little subtle details like that, where we get the sense of this world like, and I don’t know, if you want to talk about the movie I was. Yeah,

Andrew Sweatman 11:52
no, that’s right. That’s beautifully said. And a really good kind of synopsis, I think of at least the beginning of this movie. And, and yeah, so without getting into the spoiler stuff yet. This really struck me primarily as a horror movie even though that I mean, that’s not how it’s really classified. I’ve just because I don’t know from the beginning, I said, you know, something is gonna go wrong here. But it also it stood out for me, I know, it just seemed like there’s so many horror movies out there, that kind of don’t break through. And I was just trying to think like, what about this makes it so much better than a lot of other horror movies? So I wanted to see what in your mind what makes this movie special or sets it apart?

Chad Hill 12:37
Yeah, the the thing for me that sticks out the most, the thing that feels most like, is like this feels like a john Carpenter film like a modern day john Potter film, and not just in the sense that we get a lot of that nowadays, particularly like the, you know, the 80s homage is something that we’re kind of all stuck in with, you know, things like Stranger Things and, you know, some even some low grade sci fi action or stuff like a VFW from last year that kind of mimic the the overall plot and maybe some of the neon and the sense and the, you know, the the grungy, you know, grungy aesthetic of it, and the ultraviolence that are kind of calling back to that type of movie, but this feels like a john Carpenter joint to me. It like like in the truest sense that it has from a director standpoint, has his patience. It has the the willingness to kind of soak into the world and let the characters in the world reveal themselves very slowly. Yeah. And it just has that mood to it and so I feel and i think it’s it’s an active like knowing homage to john Carpenter to like when you you know that opening credits, we get the font style that everyone likes to, to mimic and we get a little bit of that sense in the score. But the most striking thing is that the the tension that the director, and I’m gonna butcher this name, quite clever Mendoza FICO is a like that, and his collaborator are able to build with this film, you know, and even in, you know, in all the small dystopic details and everything feels in the truest sense, like, like an actual, like I was about to say rip off. That’s not that’s not accurate at all. But uh, but uh, but like, we’ve transported like, it feels like a movie that he didn’t get to make

Andrew Sweatman 14:27
that so there’s not a ton of just, you know, background information out about this because it’s fairly recent. I think it was originally hit festivals in 2019. But it’s, it’s been considered a 2020 film. That’s when it got its wide release.

Chad Hill 14:41
But it yeah, it premiered at Cannes in 2019. And then, yeah, it had its rollout it kind of got lost in the in the COVID-19 shuffle, when things start walking down like getting debts when it was starting to get us theatrical release and, you know, unfortunately, it just kind of got lost in the shuffle.

Andrew Sweatman 14:57
This wouldn’t be a great screen to man. theatrical experience, whatever. But I did find one short interview with the directors. And they mentioned john carpenter by name as a as an influence in the saying that that’s what they grew up with in the 70s. And they wanted to kind of bring that to a modern movie. Yeah, that’s it, it’s definitely has that so much tension. I think for me, as far as what makes it Yeah, I sets it apart in a ways is just how dialed in and immersed into this culture that we get before we have any of the horrific elements coming through in the paranoia is there from the beginning. But then we really, really get to spend time with this community and meet the different people in in this short interview, I watched they, they said they really considered the community to be the main character, there’s not really one standout like there’s, you mentioned, like the there’s an entry point through Teresa. But we really kind of get to know them as a group and care for them as a group, you know, as you’re as the the plots unfolding. And I think that’s really well done, right. And some of it is this funeral scene. And we see like, there’s this really striking funeral procession with this guy playing guitar at the front. There is there’s children, and we see like the school and, and the teacher, who is also the, the main characters are sort of maker for Teresa’s father. And there’s this DJ who gets on the microphone to like, tell the news to the town. And there’s all these different people. And again, we

Chad Hill 16:33
also get Sonia Braga playing, playing this woman who showed up to the funeral drunk, who’s clearly you know, an old friend of the woman who died, but she has some very, very, you know, some resentment and some, some unkind things to say about her, you know, that she probably only would say if she was drunk, but it’s that kind of spirited, you get such a strong sense of the character and the relationships within the community just in that first part, even before you get any hints that something foreboding or something bad is coming. You you get this strong sense of the community and how all these people relate to each other. Absolutely,

Andrew Sweatman 17:13
yeah. And then she ends up being a pretty big character as it goes on. She’s sort of the town doctor. But yeah, that you’re right there, the relationship is clear there, because she shows up. And, you know, you might think she’s making a fool of herself. But they clearly he, the husband, who he’s kind of giving a speech at the time he kind of it but basically really respectfully says, you know, she’s having a hard time, like, whatever. And it’s clear that like there’s mutual respect and love here in this town should say it’s a fictional town, then called back around, that is where the title comes from. But it’s sort of based on some some real villages. And it’s shot on location in in kind of remote places in Brazil. So I want to talk about like, kind of the genre stuff a little more, when I looked up. Before I even watched it, I just looked on the Wikipedia page for like, the basic bare bones of what this is. And it uses the phrase, weird Western, and that was something I think I’d heard before, but I like it, and Wikipedia, and you can like click it like there’s a there’s another page just for weird Western. So I look into that. And it basically is when there’s a Western that has a significant science fiction or, or like a cult things mixed together with it. And I don’t know if I’ve seen many weird westerns, but I think this definitely would fit into that category. And,

Chad Hill 18:36
yeah, there, there’s a few different things that that it reminds me of. So I know we mentioned, john Carpenter is a huge influence. And that’s what the filmmakers themselves have said, but, you know, I’m picking up some, you know, Paul Verhoeven in terms of some of the anti racist and anti fascist strains that the story has in it, in addition to the ultraviolence that we eventually get later in the movie, and then I’m also picking up like, Alejandro jodorowsky. The is westerns, you know, is very bizarre westerns. There’s some touches of that, particularly some of the drug fueled visuals that we get scattered throughout the film. And then I also see pickup I mean, there’s a little bit of Sergio Leone in here, too. It’s a little cliched to call back to them anytime you get like, kind of your non traditional Western in there, but but there’s some of that too, and it’s not surprising, I’m sure when we’re talking about weird West westerns, you can maybe mention bone Tomahawk from a few years ago, being in that strain. as well.

Andrew Sweatman 19:45
Yeah, I have not seen bone Tomahawk, but, but yeah, that sounds Oh,

Chad Hill 19:49
that’s that’s, that’s a that’s a gnarly piece of work, right. It’s really gnarly. And it’s it. Yeah, it’s interesting because, you know, really the place where this film shifts is when we have kind of see with genre. icon Udo Kia shows up down midway through the movie. And that’s really the point where the movie kind of shifts into the more the genre and fuse things and the s. Craig zahler, the director and writer of bone Tomahawk that he did, he pulled the exact same thing with his next film brawl in cellblock, 99. Which, I don’t know, I guess it’s the kind of thing where you get a guy like Udo Kier, who’s, you know, just a lot of fun to see in anything. And he’s kind of just your genre signifier of Okay, we’re gonna get weird, you know?

Andrew Sweatman 20:41
Yeah, yeah, that’s a good point. Yeah, along the lines of that, I guess the quote unquote weirdness of it, I wish I mentioned, it starts in outer space, literally, the credits are in outer space, and then it kind of zooms into to Earth into Brazil. So there’s that kind of sci fi touch to it. And then the music. So I guess on the western side of it, it is this kind of rural village, and there’s an outside threat. So that’s kind of a Western trope. And you also have all these kind of landscape shots and in some kind of big theatrical grandiose music that you might hear in a Western, but then you also have all this like, psychedelic sounding electronic music that comes in at different times, then it’s, it’s so interesting, and so cool. Honestly, I was like, this is really great. Anytime it make those shifts back and forth, it did that. I think in a really masterful way. So yeah, definitely those all those genres come together, I think, a really well, really well done way. I think another thing for me that works really well about this is just how well written the characters are. And so as we again, as I was mentioning, the community, we kind of get to know all these people they feel really lived in, and really like real people. And then once we meet some other characters that we’ll get to in the spoiler talk, they’re from a very different context, but they also are just incredibly well written, they feel like real people. And I think you don’t always get that with, with like a, quote unquote, horror movie, either is that you have, you know, maybe a faceless villain, or maybe you have, you know, just the bare bare setup to, to get to the scary, violent stuff. But this really takes its time with that kind of setup. And it’s just, I think they’re really well written, it also really takes its time when, you know, tragic things do begin to happen. It takes time to sit with the tragedy of it. And so we’re not going to just, and that’s actually a theme of the movie, I think, in a sense to which we maybe will talk about in spoilers, but that like, these are real people. And when someone from the small community dies, that affects the entire community, not just at that opening funeral, but then there is some violence happening later. And it it you sit with the people that are affected, the greatest by that. And so I think that’s another really effective thing this does to let you feel the the depth of of those those losses every time someone is killed. Right. Yeah, absolutely. And then one other thing before we get into spoilers, just like, I think what’s, what’s really great about this, too, is it just gives you enough of what’s going on like it never just flat out lays out here’s, here’s what’s happening with this outside threat. But you have to like really pull and figure it out, kind of as you go. But it becomes pretty clear, but it’s still something you have to kind of work for. And that just made for a really engaging experience, I think which, again, a similar movie, like this might just, you know, here’s what’s going on, let’s jump into it. But this really kind of weaves that into a strong narrative, I think in a way that’s just really well done.

Chad Hill 23:47
Yeah, that’s Yeah, that’s one of the great things and that goes into the, you know, it’s not just the the story in the script, but the production design, kind of like what I mentioned earlier with the details. I think it helps it a feel filhos co director Giuliano Dorn, Nellis, he served as his, as its production designer on his previous two features. And so coming from that background and having, you know, having a production designer working on set, like, it’s everything, it’s, it’s clearly like, it’s not the highest budget film out there. So like, it’s not necessarily that it hence it, some of these other little details about the world of the film, you know, none of them are like really overt or, you know, expensive or obvious, but they’re small, and they’re very well thought out and they’re seated through. Just, you know, one of the things that I love going back to that opening funeral, whenever they’re doing the funeral procession, the DJ, he’s got this truck and he’s got this giant jumbotron on the back of the truck with speakers that are playing the music and it’s just the kind of thing that you know, for the setting for kind of as, you know, traditional, possibly even, you know, traditional village that you know, possibly is very old and has these indigenous roots, you know, you can kind of imagine somebody The some of the architecture and you know, the dirt roads and things like that it’s very rural. It’s very old, but they do have this modern technology. But it’s not so advanced that, you know, it feels authentic to like the kind of like, Oh, this is very advanced technology. But it’s that, you know, it’s probably on the cheaper end of it to where it feels like, Okay, this is probably what a build like this could afford, you know, could would have.

Andrew Sweatman 25:25
Yeah, no, absolutely. I think that’s, that’s, that’s well said. Do you have any other spoiler free thoughts before we get into some spoiler questions?

Chad Hill 25:33
No, I don’t, I don’t think so. Because I think really the meat of this movie. Like he just you can’t talk about what this movie is doing. And kind of what the point is without diving into. Yes. Yeah.

Andrew Sweatman 25:49
Well, then if you have not watched back around, we recommend going and watching it now, instead of listening to the rest of this right now. Absolutely. We both recommend it. So it’s worth watching. It’s on criterion channel streaming, or you can rent it online. And yeah, measure spoiler warning from here, here forward, we are going to be talking about details all the way to the end of the movie. So tune out now, if you don’t want to hear that. All right, let’s talk spoilers. So yeah, from basically the first after that first Third, we jump into that, you know, is he right? Because he the villain here. He’s like a see List of horror movie villain in this movie will almost would. I guess that’s why I wanted to compare it to other horror movies, because his inclusion and just kind of the vibe of this group of villains feels like something that would be very at home in a seamless horror movie. But it’s in this really pretty elevated, like art house Western. And so I think that juxtaposition is really interesting, too. So anyway, that’s plot wise, what happens is, we find out that there’s a group of people, Americans, mostly who are just hunting the the villagers, and we don’t find out till the end, exactly why, but I think I suspected it had to do with the political situation in Brazil. And that is that there’s this politician who shows up named Thomas Jr. And he, yes, it’s very clearly hated by the village, because he’s mixed up. And the reason they don’t have water, and it’s, there’s a lot of tension there. So anyway, it starts with these two people coming into town on their motorcycles wearing these bright colors, they obviously don’t really fit in, but they speak Portuguese. And they kind of interact with the villagers. And they’re very people are very suspicious of them. Also, the night before a pack of horses has escaped from a nearby farm. And we find out they’ve been killed. Anyway, if you’ve seen the movie, you know. So I guess let’s get into, for me, the political side of this is, was probably the most interesting thing. So I wanted to ask you, so when I, what I read on Wikipedia said that this does draw from modern Brazilian political situations, which I’m not so familiar with. But it also had a lot of resonance for me with American politics. So I knew I want to see what’s your take on kind of the politics of Baccarat?

Chad Hill 28:21
Yeah, so obviously, like, neither of us is Brazilian, and I’m by no means a Brazilian historian. So as far as being tapped into, you know, what their political landscape looks like, you know, there’s not a whole lot that but I feel like just, you know, if you go back to the history of, you know, Spanish conquest of South America, there’s a lot of their, you know, history and their, you know, cultural shifts that’s tied into the same colonial forces that settled, that settled and took over America. And so I think one of the things in particular, that, I guess might be surprising is that, also in Brazil, and as evidenced by this film, is that anti black racism is also a problem. In Brazil, like one of the, one of the key things I feel that makes, you know, in this village, if not a target of the people, they’re trying to eliminate them, then at the very least, makes them less, quote, unquote, valued, you know, like more, you know, more expendable, it would be that it’s mostly a black and indigenous village. That’s a key. That’s a key figure, you know, whenever we, whenever we meet this group of people that are, you know, kind of shutting down, they’re cutting off their communications, they’ve removed them from Google Maps, you know, they’re kind of monitoring them with this drone. Is that they want one of the key things with them is that they’re mostly Americans, but they’re two people that they’ve been relying on for, I guess. What’s the word for for recognizance are Brazilians and they’re specifically there. Very light skinned Brazilians, like people who would be white passing otherwise. And that’s really bad. Yeah, go ahead. Yeah, there’s a really tense scene, really tense scene where we kind of meet the broader group after we’ve met these two people where that’s specifically like, commented on. And it made a big point of this group of people, again, who’s mostly Americans and the nudo. Kia is obviously German, are, you know, do not treat them like they are a part of the group. They’re just, they’re basically just useful. And to that point, you mentioned that, uh, you, you kind of took it as these people been hired to take out this town for the politicians and I, I did not again, like the the film doesn’t go out of its way to specify and really elaborate on the situation a whole lot. But the way that I read it was that these were mainly just tourists that these people wanted to, these are people who were, you know, wanting to indulge in some violent tendencies for themselves, and that this was a service that they were being offered. And whenever they ended, it was mainly just convenience as far as the political stuff, particularly that politician that comes in and it’s meant to provide them water and books and does it in like the most derisive way possible, you know, literally just hauling in a dump truck of old books and dumping it on the ground for them at one at one point in the movie, that it’s mainly just convenient for the politicians but that I read that is not being the main purpose, though, is mainly that these people genuinely were just on a on the violence kick. Yeah. Interesting. Yeah.

Andrew Sweatman 31:43
That’s, that’s, that’s really interesting. So at the end, with the moment where the politicians there, and they’ve captured the German villain here, and he he keeps saying his name, and the politician saying, I don’t know, you stop saying my name friend, like, I read that, as he’s trying, obviously, is trying to distance himself there. And this moment, but I read that as like he was responsible, maybe he’s not, but here’s where my, I think that’s a strength of this movie, honestly, that it can be ambiguous in that way. But I just imagined that he was like, hey, gotta get rid of this village. I’m gonna find somebody who can take it out. And then this, this, this German villain had no problem going to America and finding people who just wanted to come and kill people like and then he kind of assembled this ragtag team of violence hungry, bloodthirsty Americans to come in and kill people. But yeah, again, that was all something I read into it. So I don’t know if that’s that’s how that went down. But right well,

Chad Hill 32:43
I guess my my thinking you know, we’ve talked about how well written the characters for the for the village are but I think when we once we meet this, this, I guess, it was I don’t know what you want to call them, this specops group, I don’t know like these, these violence tourists or whatever, whenever you meet them, they’re equally like well written like you just as well written as you get such a strong sense of all their psychologies and everything. And in those subtle character details, I’m seeing like a genuine, like bloodthirsty pneus, like in some of these people aren’t like, are very clearly not professionals, you know, they’re amateurs, at best. And, and they’re talking about they’re wanting a certain killcount you know, like they they get angry that, you know, someone has taken their kill, or, or that there’s two, or they even question, you know, whenever, whenever they end up killing those two Brazilians that have been helping them. They argue about whether or not that counts to their, towards their score. Yeah, I think they actually use that terminology score. And I don’t know, it’s a lot of those very small, very small details that point to this maybe being something that like, this is a service like these are not highly trained, yeah. highly capable group of people. These are people who are doing this because they want to

Andrew Sweatman 34:02
Yeah, I think I basically am agreeing with you. I just I am a imagine him like going to find, you know, everyday bloodthirsty people in America because I think one of them he even says, like, he works in HR for a retail store or something like that, like, and some of them look kind of like tough soldiers and others don’t. Right. And some of them just seem like corporate, like blue collar workers who are have put on armor and grab guns for the day. Yeah, it’s really interesting. I agree. Like, I think the I was surprised at how well written those characters were. Because, you know, I think okay, this is a Brazilian town. These are Brazilian filmmakers. And, and so it makes sense that they are like giving a lot of life to this, this, this community. And then we meet these villains and they feel just as real. It’s absolutely believable that there are Americans that are this bloodthirsty and would go and treat these people. Like, you know, a video game you No way they’re just waiting to mow them down and, and like that one woman. I think one of the first times we really see that in action is there’s a man and a woman and they chase down this car at night that’s trying to escape. And she’s like, obviously very excited before and it’s like, I can’t hurt her. Like, she’s like, this is freakin awesome. And just like so excited. And then they killed it. They brutally murdered these people. And then she’s that she’s really sexually turned on by it. And she makes that clear. And so it’s it’s despicable on all fronts. But it’s absolutely like, it just feels like yes, there are real people in America right now that would probably do this, sadly, you know, but I think it also works on a symbolic level of like, I read it kind of as imperialism of colonialism, like, we’re coming in and taking taking over and wiping out the old culture. You know, but this is saying, What if that literally happened in this way? Yeah, I thought that was really interesting. One thing in the so I felt another kind of commonality with modern politics, at one point because of a word that is used, in that opening that scene where we first meet everyone at that meeting, that’s about a third into the movie, it really, I think, is a key scene because we kind of start to understand the character of everyone and how they how racist they all really are. And then they Yeah, they say that thing about the the light skinned Brazilians. And one of the leader says, Don’t speak Brazilian here, which, of course, Brazilian is not a language like it’s Portuguese like that. Just a little detail that shows his his either ignorance or willful ignorance about that. But then he says something well, I think it’s the leader. It’s someone in the group says something about shithole towns, which, of course, directly parallels Donald Trump saying shithole countries. And so there’s that kind of direct parallel. And then in the interview that I watched, they they mentioned, like, we had a script coming together, but once Donald Trump was elected, and like, we wrote the final draft right away, like that cemented all this. So I think, I think if I watched this movie, like 10 years ago, even I might think these villains are like cartoonishly bad. But in the last few years, it’s become clear that, you know, that’s not that cartoonish, it’s not that far fetched, that someone would be right. This close minded and terrible in a situation like this.

Chad Hill 37:31
Yeah. And there’s certain points that, I mean, there’s a strong sense of, you know, not just the anti black racism, but touching on the indigenous culture that’s here, there’s a certain regard, you know, that’s still very prevalent, you know, in society to treat indigenous cultures as inherently uncivilized. Or you know, that, I guess almost a slur of a sword is a, you know, the word Savage. And I think that that is, the way that this film engages with that dichotomy is really fascinating to me, because I think that there’s, you know, if you really pay attention, and this is where the, you know, wonderful production design, and the writing comes into play is that, you know, this town has a history, with, with colonial powers and with rebellion against colonial powers. The town has this museum that we see early on, where apparently there was an uprising where the local indigenous population, beheaded and brutally murdered somebody encroaching colonial forces. And that is a little bit of a foreshadowing of, of what, you know, what is to come, you know, of how the film resolves. But I think one of the things that, you know, it’s, it’s engaging with this idea that the violence that our villains that Udo Kier and his group of violence tourists are, you know, our visiting upon this town is that inherently less, you know, more civilized or any West savage than what, than what these these locals are capable of. And I think that there’s a very interface quality to the way the violence particularly that last showdown whenever they finally decide to go after everyone in the town, of how the locals engage in the violence and how the film frames it, because it is brutal, and it is very, if you want it very much, you know, fits visually and, and fits into I guess what we would imagine that violence would have been like, and it’s very brutal, it’s very nasty. And in particular, there’s one group of like a pair of villains go to this far off college to get these two locals that are kind of out by themselves. And it’s very interface bad that these locals they’re walking around outside their house naked, in the nude, like, you know, and that’s sort of visually immediately. We’re causing them I’m like, Oh, these these uncivilized people don’t even wear clothes, you know, that kind of thing. And then it’s very much putting all of that those attitudes in your face, you know, and contrasting it against what our, our villains are doing and their attitudes towards these people like because of what they think about these cultures and these, you know, societal forces that have constructed them to see these people this way that they inherently view them as disposable or less worthy of life, you know? Yeah.

Andrew Sweatman 40:34
Yeah. And during that meeting, saying one of them literally says, and I came for the body count, I think you mentioned that and, and the other fighting over how many kills each other got. The reason they’re so mad at the reconnaissance to the pair that they had is because they weren’t forced to kill anyone. But save those kills for for the Americans. Yeah, so it’s right. It’s, yeah, it’s, it’s really an interesting setup for a movie in I thought too, about, like, how, like, aimless, like, literally, they’re there to kill people, which again, like, on one hand, feel so extreme that you might say, it’s unbelievable, or like, it’s clearly just symbolic for this movie. But I think there are those clear parallels to like, even the insurrection, you know, a week and a half ago or whatever, they didn’t have any real, you know, aim, they were just gonna go mess things up. And that was like the whole thing. And, and so it just really felt up a piece of that. Another thing I thought was really interesting in the interview with the directors, which I’ll get I’ll link in the show notes was they mentioned, you know, we at no point do we think this is what all Americans are, like, whatever. But the the gun culture of the US is something that the whole world is aware of, is that what this director said, and so we were kind of using that to our advantage, and the story here, that that’s a real way that people behave. So I thought that was really a fascinating point that that he brought in there, but

Chad Hill 41:58
there was gonna be one day that I come on this podcast, and we don’t get political. Yes, he has to be at some point, but you know,

Andrew Sweatman 42:05
yep. Yeah, I’m just thinking about to you like, when Chad comes, we just, we talk about all the politics.

Chad Hill 42:12
It’s, it’s, it’s a little difficult to escape. And yeah, really, I mean, the best thing that I feel like any media, or any art can do is is, you know, reflect or comment on our political reality, you know, whether it’s overtly or you know, just in in the broader strokes, but, you know, it’s, it’s, it is important to talk about these things. Yeah,

Andrew Sweatman 42:34
I completely agree. One thing about this movie that I did have sort of a question mark about in my brain was the they, they frequently are taking this drug, I’m quite understand, like, the significance of it, or just what if it was just an excuse to kind of have some of these psychedelic moments. But then whenever the politician comes and brings, you know, some foods or old expired food, and that sort of thing, he brings also a box of, I think the same drug was that your understanding of that was the same thing. And what do you make of the drug situation?

Chad Hill 43:04
So if you’re talking about the drugs, that they seem to be taking, that causes the hallucinations, I think it’s different from what they, they bring the people, but I think I mainly read that, like, that was sort of a traditional thing, you know, going back to, you know, I guess, we’re never told what drugs specifically it is, but particularly, you know, there’s some aspects of indigenous cultures that are associated with those synthetic drugs as part of a ritual as, as part of their religious practices or whatever. And so I guess I read that mainly at the beginning, when they were taking that as sort of a, a way for them to sort of last vestige of, of that tradition, like a way to carry on that tradition within the community. And then later on, I think it plays into you know, some stereotypes about indigenous peoples that you know, they take these drugs and it makes them more violent and more Savage. And so I think that that is that’s played with a little bit particularly You know, when we get to that showdown at the end is is that these people you know, are indulging in these drugs you know, and that’s possibly helping commit this violence but it is just violence like would you fault them you know, for would anyone fault them for doing the things that they were doing particularly whenever you see you know, that they catch they and this is just a great detail to to just going back to that truck at the beginning with the coffins that’s crashed on the side of the road that just how many freakin coffins they have ready, you know, at the at the end to pack up all these people and just disappear them, you know, for no reason. But, you know,

Andrew Sweatman 44:55
it’s while they’re on that note, there’s a lot of really great images. I think in this Give you watch the teaser trailer, you’re gonna see several of them. Like there’s the there’s a dog on the street in the middle of the night and all the horses suddenly come in and he like really jumps out of the way. That’s a striking shot. And yeah, the coffins of the beginning one of them like they swerving around sound, but then one of them just they run over and it just gets smashed. And then at the funeral scene to one of the most striking ones, I think, is the coffin overflowing with water, which does seem to be something she’s hallucinating because she’s one of the pills, kind of right when she got into town. But but that’s like a really interesting metaphor to think, I think about the way that the water is being held as a political thing that like they’re, they’re being denied there. They’re very, you know, basic human needs. And because of politics, basically. And so that’s an interesting way to like, kind of bring the water into the this mccobb, like, flowing out of this coffin. It’s a really interesting moment there. But yeah, that makes sense about the drug as as far as kind of playing into the indigenous culture, and then being something that would be believable, but also something that you’d see these kind of racists holding against them in a way. Yeah, that’s a that’s a good reading of that. I think. What do you think about the ending? This is like, does the final scene work for you like the big action scene at being action scene might not be the right word, because I think one of the things I like about it is that it’s not a huge, explosive shootout that you might expect. But yeah, what do you think about the the final scenes?

Chad Hill 46:29
Yeah, I think. Yeah, we’ve talked about how vile You know, we’ve talked about the ultraviolence. And some of these other images and other influences This movie has, particularly john carpenter and, and I pulled ball hair, Paul Verhoeven out of out of out of the blue, but I feel like the ending, like as gory and violent as it is, I feel like it was a bit of a surprise, because I think there’s probably people who, you know, once they pick up on where the film was going, and what it’s going to be, they’re going to be wanting and expecting expecting this very, you know, righteous shootout, the town rises up against these people, and they do that, but it’s not the satisfying, you know, the gratifying Hollywood shootout that we expect to see. It’s very, you know, it’s very quick, like, the violence is very quick. Yeah, it’s very brutal. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, some of his off screen and some of it is even pretty perfunctory. You know, like, it’s more like, it’s sort of an inevitability. And we’re kind of meant to, yeah, like, even though is righteous, and it is just, you know, in this instance, we’re kind of meant to admire the will admire is not necessarily the word, but to kind of observe the inherent horror of it, that this had to be had to be done and that it was ended up being inevitable. And I think that that is, that’s just, that’s what really fascinating and thoughtful place for this film to end up, you know, as much as as much joy as there is in the genre, thrills, and in the mystery, and in all the trappings of it, I think that it really does end in a place where it denies us kind of what we expect to get.

Andrew Sweatman 48:10
Yeah, I completely agree. Like, yeah, there’s that really violent moment when the couple on the outskirts and they surprise, they have a gun and they shoot the guy’s head off. And it’s extremely violent. Like, right, it’s

Chad Hill 48:21
just like, it’s just gone. Like, like the, like, I just love the prosthetic on that it’s just it’s literally just like his bottom jaw. And the rest of it. It’s

Andrew Sweatman 48:30
shocking and shocking moment. Like I thought about like Django Unchained actually, like the ending of that movie. So so bloody that kind of took me to that spot.

Chad Hill 48:38
But But yeah, I

Andrew Sweatman 48:39
think so then you expect,

Chad Hill 48:41
you know, some

Andrew Sweatman 48:42
big badass action scene at the end. And that’s not at all what we get, like you’re saying that it. And I think in doing so you realize like, again, these are real people, as much as it’s great that they’re gonna win this fight is still really affecting them as a society like, this is gonna take a toll on them. And I love the moment when the first of all, just the museum, the fact they have a little history museum in their town, and we don’t really get to see inside of it. I was like, I thought someone was gonna go in it early in to the movie we like, someone walks by and it makes it a show of like, the title of the building like this is a history of back around like that, I bet is really interesting. And then just kind of goes on. And then during the scene, one of the villains goes in there. And then you see, so it’s almost signaling to us as the audience like, they know what they’re doing in this kind of situation because we see like a news article about they have a previous battle that was fought here in the heads of their Yeah,

Chad Hill 49:40
I think there’s Yeah, it’s like the picture of all the beheaded people like all the heads lined up in front of the church.

Andrew Sweatman 49:47
So you think like, maybe this guy’s a little nervous, but he still thinks he’s gonna win this fight. But then he goes in the next room and starts reading there’s an empty wall. There’s just such a great moment, an empty wall and he starts reading things and it’s the guns that they used. In this previous fight, and now they’re gone. So, so then he kind of realizes, oh my gosh, we’re in for it. Yeah, that’s a great one. I did have a question. So the, the main villain or techie forgetting his name, let me look really quick at the German.

Unknown Speaker 50:14

Andrew Sweatman 50:15
Yes, Michael. He’s kind of on the outskirts and he, he, he’s kind of messing with his own people. And at one point, he actually kills one of his own men. And I thought that was kind of confusing. I don’t know, if I missed something with that. What? What was your take on that situation?

Chad Hill 50:30
Yeah. Are you talking about? At the end? Yeah, like in the ending? Yeah. So I mean, I’ve, I’ve, I pictured it, because I think basically, at that point, in the film, Michael was, you know, he’s, he’s got his sniper rifle in scope. And he’s basically kind of watching and monitoring things. I think he he picks up on what’s happening and which way the winds blowing very quickly in that scene. And so I think he just kind of realizes, well, this is this is screwed. Yeah. So he, and he knows what’s going to happen anyway, regardless of whether or not he does anything. So he, so he kind of takes into his own hands to try to at least eliminate all of the people that could explain or, you know, you know, tie up the loose ends for who, who else would be, you know, outside of this group who would be responsible for this?

Andrew Sweatman 51:17
That makes total sense. And I think we should say to like, he said, He’s the leader of these, this group, but he also doesn’t, this clearly doesn’t really like them. He has some contempt for them. Oh, yeah. And like, there’s a really interesting scene to earlier where one of them, so one of them kills a child, and claims he doesn’t know as a child that I was a teenager, which is obviously ridiculous, because it’s a nine year old kid. And they’re having conflict about that. And he comes in, and then one of them calls him a Nazi. And he takes serious offense to that. Which is adds to the all the different racial biases and cultural biases happening within this group. And that was just an interesting touch that

Chad Hill 51:57
Yeah, but what’s what’s fascinating to me about that moment, if you weren’t gonna mention it, I was gonna bring it up was that I think it’s not even just that it takes offense to it, but I think he’s just like, he’s mad because it’s lazy. Like, it’s just like, it’s such like, the easy go to insult and he says that in the film, but I think there’s also a key strain to that of, you know, these Americans who are basically like, they are doing Nazi shit. Yeah. Like, that’s what they’re doing. They’re doing not the shit. And I apologize for cursing. So I think it’s just funny that, like, you know, it’s that’s kind of commenting on this strain of, you know, you know, the American fascism that we’ve seen, that, you know, kind of crop up under Trump in the last few years that, you know, Americans were so we have such a specific image of what fascism is and what evil is, you know, and what and what this violence looks like that we don’t, you know, it’s almost like whenever it’s happening right in front of our faces, we don’t recognize it, because it’s not dressed up the way we expect it to be American. And so I Yeah, yes, exactly. And so I think that it’s, it’s telling that when this American calls him a Nazi, there’s there’s that disconnect in between, and he calls Alan on it that like, you know, like, what, what are you doing, you know, like, yeah, like, you know, like, that’s that’s kind of hypocritical if you know, yeah, not just that it is lazy. And it’s easy. And he’s offended, offended by it. But also like, Dude, look at look at yourself. Yeah, yeah,

Andrew Sweatman 53:29
yeah. And so this is another just kind of side tangent. But I think another just really great instance of writing, character dialogue is when they’re approaching the town, and one of them talks about this anger that he felt when he actually reminded me of like, taxi driver, because he talks about this anger he felt when he was dumped. And he went to his wife’s house to kill her with all his all his guns, because he’s a gun enthusiast all this. And she’s not there. And so he said, then I went to the mall, I went to the park, and I couldn’t quite do it. But I had this thing I had to deal with, like, I had this, this chip on my shoulder, I had to do something about and this was the perfect way to deal with it. It’s come here and shoot these nameless for him nameless and faceless, quote unquote, savages. And so I thought that was just like, again, adding dimension to these people who like, again, it just, it’s, it’s sadly believable, I guess. The thing I’m getting at is that like, as as wild as it is, it’s it’s written in a way that feels like it could be real but anyway, yeah. Do you have any other kind of thoughts about Baccarat before we kind of wrap things up?

Chad Hill 54:39
You know, I think this was this was something that like even you know, I had heard you know, great things about it, you know, and I really, you know, it’s kind of look forward to getting to see it, you know, before the pandemic started, and I finally got around to it. I was still like, just shocked how blown away I was. This is I think this is one of my favorite films of the year. And I think I think a lot more people should See it?

Andrew Sweatman 55:00
Should I agree? Like if I had seen it by the end of the year, I might have, you know, put it on my top 10 list and I don’t know. That’s, that’s behind me, so I don’t have to worry about it. I stressed about this list way too much. That’d

Chad Hill 55:10
be great. But yeah, this

Andrew Sweatman 55:12
is absolutely one of the better things I saw from 2020. And you know, I think it’s probably not for everyone in the way that’s something like I don’t know like first cow.

Chad Hill 55:20
Right? It is. It is a little bit. Yeah, it is a little bit is a little bit slow getting out like I said, I think when people call back to john carpenter, you know, talk about how much they love his films. I think a lot of them forget how slow and deliberate a lot of his films can be. And this definitely has that to it. So I really think it makes

Andrew Sweatman 55:40
the most of the the slowness at the beginning, especially I mean, even throughout it’s a patient movie, even when the violence starts breaking out. It’s not like moving quickly, like a thriller at all. It’s it I guess, more like a Western it’s kind of taking its time and yeah, anyway, very good movie. I definitely highly recommend it. And so if you’re listening this far, you’ve probably already seen it. That’s a recommend this to your friends, and try to get more people to see it because I think it really is worth saying. Thank you so much, Chad for for joining the podcast again. It’s been a great conversation.

Chad Hill 56:10
Yeah, I’ve totally enjoyed it.

Andrew Sweatman 56:13
And thanks for putting me out of this movie because I, I might have gotten to it otherwise, but I’m glad that you put me on to it.

Chad Hill 56:19
Yeah, absolutely. Always, always glad to share recommendations with people, especially whenever they turn out to be, you know, enjoyed.

Andrew Sweatman 56:26
Yes, very, very much. So. Big, big thanks again to Chad Hill for joining me today. Stay tuned to the podcast in the coming weeks for some more great movie discussions. Coming up. We’ve got an episode on the gorgeous animated film wolf walkers, as well as the incredible documentary boy state. And thank you so much for listening to art house garage. We’ve got a few years worth of episodes, you can hear all of those in your podcast app of choice. Our theme music is by composer Paul unifo. You can learn more about him and his work at appalling if you want to support art house garage, you can leave a rating or review in your podcast app. Or you can buy an art house garage t shirt at our house slash shop. stay in the loop about our house garage and the films we’re covering by subscribing to our email newsletter by going to art house garage, comm slash subscribe or you can email me directly. I’m Andrew at art house garage COMM And of course follow on social media. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and letterbox just search at art house garage and all those places or find links in the show notes. And that will do it for this episode. Thank you again so much for listening. And until next time, keep it snob free

Transcribed by

Andrew Sweatman

Andrew Sweatman

Andrew is a writer, podcaster, and film lover who wants to help people think critically about movies. He lives in central Arkansas with his wife Allison and two children, Rosie & Beau. Andrew is the Senior Editor at Arthouse Garage and a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA). Find him at and on Twitter and Instagram: @ArthouseGarage.

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