2 February 2009 | andrabem
"Ariella" is a sophisticated offshoot of the pornochanchada. The pornochanchada was a kind of Brazilian erotic film, that in the beginning, was heavily influenced by the Italian erotic comedies of the 60s/70s. The pornochanchada began in the early 70s and lasted till the mid 80s. In the beginning, because of the heavy censorship exercised by the military dictatorship, the pornochanchada limited itself to films with many comic moments and lots of sexual innuendos, some nudity (but not much else) could be shown. Later on, in 1977, the military government launched the "Abertura" (the opening of the political system), that paved the way to a gradual transition to democracy. The "Abertura" led to a relaxation of the censorship and by the end of the 70s the Brazilian erotic films had a much wider field to explore and so they did.
"Ariella" was based in a book by Cassandra Rios - a writer that had suffered a great discrimination before and during the military dictatorship, mainly because she dealt with subjects that were considered shocking at the time (frank description of sex, lesbianism, violence, power, corruption...). Many times her books were confiscated by the police, and the intellectual establishment despised her.
In 1980 the times had changed "Ariella" was the first film to be based on a Cassandra Rios book (A Paranóica).
"Ariella" is a film with a beautiful visual style and photography. The film follows Ariella (Nicole Puzzi), her life and thoughts. She lives with her family but feels herself to be among strangers. Her relation with father, mother and brothers is very strange. The way they treat her... there is something weird about it all. The brothers look at her, there are silences, something almost ominous.. And the brothers girlfriends frequent the house too.
Is it all her imagination? She wanders in the house, in the gardens, speaks with the others, tries to find some answers. Ariella is very young and beautiful, and she's blooming fast into full womanhood. The shy Ariella becomes gradually more aware of her beauty. And beauty is power. One day she'll discover a horrible secret and this will lead her to a new dangerous road.
I've tried to give you a taste of the story without revealing too much. There will be complex entanglements, and sex will play an important part in this game. But is it really a game? Nicole Puzzi is very beautiful and sexy she displays the right amount of naiveté, malice and sensuality. Her sex scenes are very arousing. But we should not forget other beauties Christiane Torloni and Lucia Veríssimo. I won't say more because there are many pleasant surprises in store.
In short, "Ariella" tells us a good story and it doesn't shy away from sexuality (and it couldn't, because this film deals mainly with sex and power). Of course, the story in the film isn't as richly told, as in the book. But it seems that Cassandra Rios was fairly satisfied with the film.
"Ariella" is a classy Brazilian erotic film. In Brazil it's only available in VHS. If you happen to find it, go for it.