We get superhero reboots and bombastic blockbusters every summer. But is that what the public really want to see? Wouldn’t they rather watch a Brazilian version of The Hangover?
Sorry to disappoint fans of The Hangover but I’m not talking about the third instalment of the franchise set in Rio or Sao Paulo. The Two Deaths of Quincas Wateryell is actually far superior and extremely different to the gross out antics of Bradley Cooper and co. Despite the promise of a “wild time” on the production notes and lots of mad rushing around the seedier side of an exotic city, The Two Deaths of Quincas Wateryell is a light hearted and warm tale about the joy of life.
It’s the story of Quincas who dies in bed, bottle in hand, on his 72nd birthday. His friends, all of whom resemble tramps or whores, are waiting to throw him a surprise party. When he doesn’t show and they discover his death, they are left devastated. A group of guys, this film’s very own wolf pack, even refer to him as their “Daddy”.
Meanwhile in a more respectable and well dressed part of town, his real daughter, Vanda, is informed of his death. After the initial shock she and her husband panic because in their social circles they have spread the elaborate explanation that Quincas ran off with a rich Italian heiress. She is ashamed of the sordid lifestyle her father embraced and prefers to dwell on the memory of him receiving a gold watch for years of service as a clerk, accountant or some such boring bureaucratic role. Underneath all her snobbish judgements she is simply jealous of her father’s new family of eccentrics. She had not seen him for 15 years, until she laid eyes on his corpse.
Quincas, played by Paulo Jose, narrates the bumbling night of adventure that follows his disappointingly ordinary passing. Adapted from Jorge Amado’s novel by writer/director Sergio Machado, this is a film full of extraordinary and colourful characters, providing humour of all kinds. Rather than a gasping heap of giggles on the floor, you are left glowing, with a heartfelt smile across your face and the beginnings of a laugh, whether the gag is a farting aunt or misguided poetry.
The mischievous friends of the deceased, once slightly liberated by booze, decide to take him for the birthday party on the town he would have wanted. They convince themselves that he is not dead for the purposes of the evening’s gallivanting. Driven by grief, camaraderie and anger at the stuck up family trampling on his personal philosophy, they go for a tour of Quincas’ old haunts. Eventually they are pursued by the police and his daughter, who learn their own lessons about life along the way.
You get a sense that pulsing at the core of this film is the essence of the original novel, which accounts for its strong, captivating characters and life affirming messages. Quincas was living the dream, bold enough to shake off the shackles of his dreary day to day life in favour of fun and freedom in his final years. So many stories revolve around that wise old saying, life is short, but The Two Deaths of Quincas Wateryell really shows that the happiness to be found in one night, in the saddest of circumstances, can better a lifetime of respectable conformity.
Out on August the 1st on Blu-Ray and DVD, this is a feel good film with a difference, full of wit and wisdom.
Who did Mark Hughes think he was kidding? As a storm of press speculation linked him to the Aston Villa job, as it did ludicrously just days after his appointment at Fulham at the beginning of the 2010-11 season, he announced his decision to resign from the helm at Craven Cottage. He insisted his decision wasn’t influenced by the approach of another club or his desire to apply for any available vacancies. He left a club that had treated him excellently and given him the chance to revive his coaching career following the disappointment of his tenure at Manchester City. And just weeks away from a Europa League qualifier on the 30th June, he left Fulham well and truly in the lurch.
Now though, in a very short space of time, the tables have completely turned. Just as fortunes can shift dramatically in a moment on the pitch, they rise and fall erratically behind the scenes too. Credit must be given to Randy Lerner for turning his nose up in disgust at the way Hughes handled his departure from Fulham. He swiftly turned his attention to other targets, leaving Hughes deservedly in the wilderness.
Credit certainly must not be given to the tabloids that linked Hughes with the Chelsea job though. Roman Abramovich wants to win the Champions League; it is his holy grail. Mark Hughes may have a connection to the club but that will mean nothing to the Russian. He will look at his track record and see he has not even been that successful in the Premiership. His tendency will be to go for impressive foreign coaches anyway, even if, like Scolari, they turn out to be mistakes. Hiddink will go to Stamford Bridge.
Whilst Lerner took a surprisingly honourable and praiseworthy course in steering the search for a replacement for Gerard Houllier away from Mark Hughes, the candidates he began to focus on were far from praiseworthy. The revelation that Villa wanted to initiate talks with Roberto Martinez was a complete shock. The Wigan manager kept the club in the Premiership with a late run of form by the skin of their teeth but their survival was hardly a triumph of his ability to lead. In fact it was his coaching style, aiming for an unrealistically fluid and attacking team, which left them vulnerable to the drop.
Some might say that the decision makers at Villa wanted Martinez to get them playing good football and that their players are more capable of it. In all likelihood though the appointment of Martinez would have signalled a downgrading in ambition from the club, admitting that they couldn’t attract big name coaches or big name players to compete with the likes of Spurs and Man City for European places.
Now the rumours are that next in Villa’s sights is Bolton’s Owen Coyle. Coyle’s track record, both at Bolton and Burnley, suggest he’s a better manager than Martinez, but he’s still hardly an inspirational choice. And in the case of Coyle, it seems daft of Villa to make an approach when the only answer they’re likely to get is “no”. Coyle played for Bolton and has got them scoring goals as well as keeping clean sheets. He has too many reasons not to leave the Reebok. He must believe he could finish above Villa with his Bolton side. There’s still a chance he could say yes but he would be foolish to surely.
Carlo Ancelotti was never going to step down from Chelsea to Villa’s level and Rafael Benitez knows he can wait for a higher profile job if he is patient. Steve McClaren is available, along with the shunned Mark Hughes, but fans reacted viciously to rumours of an interview. This is harsh given the way McClaren has grown as a manager in Europe with FC Twente in particular but inevitable given his England track record. David Moyes is a manager of Martin O’Neil’s calibre but he ruled himself out of the Villa job last summer.
Meanwhile, as Villa struggle to find a decent manager, Fulham appear to have found the perfect one. Of course it’s too early to say for sure but Martin Jol appears to be a spot on fit for the hot seat at Craven Cottage. He is very much in the mould of Roy Hodgson, in that he has extensive experience in Europe and of course the Premiership with Spurs. He knows the Europa League well, which bodes well perhaps for another exciting cup run if they can get through the qualifiers granted them by their place in the Fair Play tables. He can also bring a bit of cutting edge to Fulham’s attack, which has been lacking, with his knowledge of Dutch and German styles. He has already started to release players as he begins to remould the squad, so it can compete on all fronts, probably with the backing of funds from owner Mohammed Al-Fayed.
Perhaps whichever mediocre candidate gets the Aston Villa job will surprise us. But hopefully Randy Lerner will stick to his guns on Mark Hughes, so that someone in the game gets their comeuppance.
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