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King Of The Witches


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"A documentary that reveals the obstacles faced by AIDS victims during its worst period when it was a new and deadly disease. Interviews with famous Brazilian personalities and anonymous people about the disease’s pandemic all over the world, their opinions, and hopes for a future cure." - TMDB

"What we have here is an awesome AIDSploitation (that's right,
AIDSploitation) shockumentary that's a cult hit in the Brazilian
underground. There are all sorts of hanky-panky vignettes
about promiscuous sexy time and the like, coupled with (allegedly)
AIDS-infested interviewees. The awesome part kicks in during the
last ten minutes when (lol, spoiler alert) most of our earlier
interviewees, apparently unable to cope with their viral
augmentation, suddenly start offing themselves one by one--one
dude slits his wrist, another blows his brains out, a chick jumps
off a building, and I think one motherfucker actually does die
from the ol' AIDS (don't cry, I'm, uh, relatively sure  it's all
staged ). Oh and there're a few diseased kiddies thrown in for
bonus comedic value, enjoy!" - Some Dude On The Internet

 "Part reality and part fiction, "Estou com AIDS" ("I'm with AIDS") feels like a conscious piece that served to inform viewers about what AIDS was back in the day of its pandemic - it's so in the beginning of that era that people only mention it and HTLV-III, the virus term HIV isn't named at all (though already existing, if I'm not wrong). TV news were all alarming about it, the government made poor campaigns (now we are reference in the treatment, who could have thought?), so the director, known main star of pornochanchadas David Cardoso decided to do the best he could to spread information, destroy myths and present fictional and real stories about the people infected with the virus during its rising era. Though having Cardoso's name behind this project doesn't make people taking it seriously (as I bet it wasn't at time of its release) because he was the king of sexual comedies back in the 1970's and 1980's, I think he did a good job in dealing with a dramatic and real tragedy.

The documentary segment involves Cardoso interviewing artists, singers, doctors, activists and even regular citizens, asking what they think about the disease - some opinions are really good and positive (director Anselmo Duarte was so enthusiastic about a cure coming soon but almost 30 years later very few has changed), others were really held with prejudicial views (remember that this was when AIDS was mostly associated with homosexuals and drug users, and anyone who wasn't part of both groups were paranoid and hateful); a few of the views seem a little bizarre and completely purposeless (like asking a restaurant owner if the number of clients got reduced because of the disease's spread). Mr. Cardoso accomplishes to provide informations but he forgot to include methods of prevention, caution measures and that could have been useful at the time when AIDS was escalating like a forest fire due to the lack of effective campaigns, obscured by acts of prejudice and ignorance, as demonstrated by the case of a hairdresser taken by the police and taken from his family because he had AIDS - the film re-enacts this with an actor at the same time an article about is presented on screen.

Meanwhile, the intertwined fictionalized segment is elucidative, interesting, at times depressive and over-pessimistic. But the director tells things the way it is, getting real and dirty, showing people and their relations and the ways of contagion. He's very open about sexuality (with few graphic scenes) and follows all sorts of situations such as a female porn star demanding that the male actors get cleaned before performing an oral scene and this after she reads a news that Bo Derek was afraid of doing sex scenes in movies; the hemophiliac girl who got AIDS through a transfusion and can't go to school, only hearing the teacher through a sound equipment; the country guy new in town discovering pleasure with multiple men; the fore-mentioned hairdresser story; among others. But the movie could go on without the darker note that most of those characters committed suicide just because they were sick and were about to die any minute. In fact, it's quite rare that those things actually happened, and we know that many people, famous personalities included, fought the disease to their very last day, dying of its many complications - and an even reduced number of people who got the diagnosis back at its worst period are still living, almost miracle cases.

Gets a thumbs up from me for being one of the (if not the very) first films to deal about the taboo topic of AIDS in a touchy society that forced itself to speak out about not only that but also about social and sexual issues, and deal with honesty. One of the most touching moments was the scene involving a father who reveals to his sons about his current health condition and also about his bisexuality. While one of the kids left the room, the one who stayed goes in saying something like "I'm terrible, I'm not the best son in the world, I have a lot of problems but I'll never leave you, dad. I love you". This scene served to show that everything about involving the people affected by this plague wasn't all about abandoning, oblivion, shame and prejudice. The director delivered a good message with this - though failing with all the other characters. 8/10

P.S.: How to judge something without understanding it? Not trying to be annoying or anything but the first reviewer only scratched the surface of this film. There's so much more than just being a "mockumentary". In fact, the movie has plenty of reality in it, except the staged parts with actors and even those managed to be interesting." - Some Dude On IMDB

"É quase inacreditável que esse filme exista. Mas existe." - Some Dude On Letterboxd