Sergio Machado Drops 'River of Desire' Trailer, a Tallinn Fest Debut

Brazil’s Sergio Machado, renowned for lauded dramas “The Violin Teacher” and “Lower City,” debuts his latest film “River of Desire” (“Orio do Desejo”) at Estonia’s 26th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, where it competes in the official selection.

Produced by TC Filmes and powerhouse production company Gullane, producer of such acclaimed Brazilian classics as “Carandiru,” “The Second Mother” and “The Year My Parents Went on Vacation,” “River of Desire” is inspired by the novel “The Brothers” by Brazilian literary prizewinner, Wilton Hatoum. Globo Filmes and Mar Grande are associate producers. Edward Noeltner’s Cinema Management Group handles international sales.

Not unlike his debut feature  “Lower City,” winner of the Cannes Un Certain Regard Youth Award, Machado explores how jealousy and rivalry destroys close bonds. In the case of “River of Desire,” the protagonists are three brothers, instead of two close friends, who tussle over the same woman. It’s a love quartet instead of a triangle.  

The trailer, shared exclusively with Variety, starts with a riverboat and a couple swimming in the river. The husband, Dalberto, promises his wife, Anaíra, that he’ll make her “the happiest woman in the world.” She goes to live with him and his two brothers, who run the photography studio their late father left them. They grow closer as she dances with them while the husband has gone out of town.

The slow-burn steamy drama set by the Amazon river grows ever more complex as not only is Anaíra beguiling but she reminds them of the mother who abandoned them when they were young. 

She falls in love with her husband’s younger brother while the older brother stews as he suppresses himself and watches them grow closer. Ever romantic, Anaíra replies to her husband’s promise of wealth with: “Car, houses, everything comes to an end. A night like that lasts forever.”

“’River of Desire’ is the story of a brother who kills, another who cheats, a woman who deceives and another brother who causes a tragedy out of envy. But the intention is to do so without judging any of them. The four characters are unable to go against whatever fate seems to have been planned for them,” said Machado in his director’s statement.

“The Amazon depicted in the film is not just an exuberant setting. The turbulence of the river or the placidity of the trees echoes what the characters feel,” he said, adding: “Anaíra is raw energy, like the river that runs its course and uproots trees and everything that lies in its path.”

Sophie Charlotte plays Anaíra while Daniel de Oliveira plays Dalberto and Gabriel Leone and Romulo Braga take on the roles of the brothers.

Machado has worked with the finest in Brazil’s film industry. He was an assistant director in Walter Salles’ Oscar-nominated “Central Station” and co-wrote “Madame Satã” by Karim Aïnouz.

The 26th Tallinn Black Nights runs Nov. 11-27.

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