Antonia (review)

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With rare verve and raw guts, this rags-to-not-quite-riches story of four young women trying to sing their way out of the desperate poverty of the slums of São Paulo triumphs over other similar movies with its dedication to authenticity and its refusal to accede to sentimentality. The girls quit their gigs as backup singers and strike out on their own as a rap quartet with a particularly female sensibility, their lyrics erupting with the pain and the hope of their own hard lives, and indeed, it is the very things that knock women back, often almost literally, that threatens their rise to success (a jealous and abusive boyfriend; an unexpected pregnancy). Unaffected performances — the actresses are Brazilian pop stars — and direction by Tata Amaral that puts us right on the mean street the young women are trying to escape make this a fresh and compelling cinematic experience. [buy at Amazon]

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