June 8, 2023 | Rome, Italy

Rio Sex Comedy

By |2018-03-21T18:49:55+01:00June 20th, 2012|Reviews|


Date: 2011

Director: Jonathan Nossiter

Starring: Charlotte Rampling, Irène Jacob, Bill Pullman


io de Janeiro is the backdrop for American director Jonathan Nossiter’s look at an eccentric cast of foreigners trying to find their place in Brazil. There’s William (Bill Pulman), the new U.S. ambassador, who decides to escape to the favelas (yes). And Charlotte (Charlotte Rampling), a famous cosmetic surgeon who tries to dissuade body-conscious Brazilians from seeking her services. Meanwhile, a French documentary filmmakers work on filming the plight of Brazilian domestics. Nossiter jump-cuts between the favelas, scenes from middle class expat life, and Charlotte’s plush office.

The most bizarre and funny scene occurs not in a bedroom but in a boardroom. A disguised William joins an NGO to help make a pitch for aid projects, some of them… oddball. It’s a good spoof of international organizations, NGOs, and the diplomatic world in general.

Rampling is in top form, with an ironic sense that recalls young and wisecracking Lauren Bacall. Nossiter pokes screwball fun at sexual mores, religion, and class, while at the same time tackling more sobering issues, including AIDS. The Franco-Brazilian production can be funny at times, but meanders far too much.

Interestingly, Nossiter is a trained sommelier who has compiled wine lists for restaurants in New York, Paris and Rio. He also directed the Sundance-acclaimed “Sunday” (1997) and the wine documentary “Mondovino,” which was nominated for a Cannes Palm d’Or in 2004.

About the Author:

Judy Edelhoff launched and became producer of a series of prestigious lectures on history, politics, arts and culture televised nationally from the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Previously worked in for the Folger Shakespeare Library. In Rome, she served as Special Assistant to the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture. Her interest in cuisine has included collaboration with Italian chefs and master chefs, including the prestigious French Laundry in Napa Valley. She is a native Floridian and later Washington, D.C. resident.