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Brazilian arthouse drama winning over Chinese hearts

By Xu Fan | | Updated: 2018-01-12 14:48
Brazilian movie Nise The Heart of Madness has won acclaims among Chinese movie-goers since it was released on Jan 5. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Brazilian biographical drama Nise: The Heart of Madness has been winning praise from Chinese moviegoers since its release on the mainland on Jan 5.

Directed by Roberto Berliner, the film is based on the true story of psychiatrist Nise da Silveira, a well-known pioneer of occupational therapy in Brazil. Silveira is played by award-winning actress Gloria Pires.

The story is set in a psychiatric hospital on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro in the 1940s, where a female doctor refuses to use electroshock therapy, a new and violent form of treatment, to try and cure schizophrenia. Instead, she insists on using painting, pets and love to treat her patients.

On Chinese film review website Douban, the 106-minute feature received a rating of 8.2 points out of 10, with many online users praising the heartwarming story about the triumph of humanity.

The movie was initially screened in Brazil in 2016, before being shown in European countries such as Sweden, France and the Netherlands.

The film earned a string of international awards, including best actress and best picture at the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival, and best feature at the second BRICS Film Festival held in China last year.

"I first watched Nise: The Heart of Madness at the BRICS festival in Chengdu. It was screened as part of an event introducing Brazilian cinema. I was very busy that morning and initially planned to just catch a few minutes, but the stirring story was so engaging I chose to stay and watch the entire movie," says Sun Xianghui, chief of China Film Archives.

The Beijing-based archive set up the National Arthouse Film Screening Alliance, the first and only cinema chain in China to specialize in the distribution of arthouse movies.

After Nise: The Heart of Madness, the alliance plans to screen Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda's The Third Murder and British director Martin McDonagh's Three Billboards Outside Ebbing.

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