Filled with "moments of uncanny humor and painful intuition" (Pauline Kael, The New Yorker), Hour of the Star (1985) is, much like Lars Von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark, a rare combination of neorealism and lyrical fantasy. Also centered on a naïve immigrant woman, this striking adaptation of the canonical novel by Clarice Lispector tracks the tragicomic ordeals of Macabéa (Marcelia Cartaxo) during her first days in the megalopolis of São Paulo -- after emigrating from the impoverished north of Brazil.
"Played with extraordinary unselfconsciousness by Marcelia Cartaxo," (Janet Maslin, The New York Times), Macabéa is the poster girl of social naïveté she works inefficiently and, by common standards, is unattractive and unqualified. Interning as a typist next to the savvy city-girl Glória (Tamara Taxman), Macabéa naïvely fantasizes about marriage with the uncaring Olímpico (José Dumont), a steel worker and fellow immigrant, while struggling to learn the social norms that could secure her dream life.
One of the most celebrated literary adaptations in the history of Brazilian cinema, Suzana Amaral’s Hour of the Star won 12 awards at the Brasilia Film Festival and a Best Actress award at the 1985 Berlin Film Festival. Its mixture of observation and poetry still holds true as one of the most "profound testaments of our time." (Andrew Sarris, The Village Voice).
"Quietly magnificent. A genuinely unforgettable performance by Marcelia Cartaxo." - Michael Wilmington, The Los Angeles Times
"[four-and-a-half stars] A gem of a movie. Suzana Amaral’s first feature is truly an astounding achievement." - Kathleen Carroll, New York Daily News
"A profound testament of our time...Rush to see Hour of the Star" - Andrew Sarris, The Village Voice