9 August 2014 | mirwais-orbit
A turning point in Brazilian soap operas
"Rebu" is a jargon in Brazilian Portuguese language that defines a popular commotion, a confusion within a bunch of people that may happen at indoor or outdoor places. This is a remake based on a successful original soap opera of the same name originally aired and produced in 1974 by Globo channel, the major television company in Brazil. Although called a remake, this is a completely different production updated to our present time.
The story is about a crime committed in a private party hosted by Angela Mahler, one of the richest and most important women of the country (in the original production the host was a man, Conrad Mahler) and it takes place in her isolated mansion in Rio de Janeiro city. The body is found floating in the pool at dawn and everybody in the party is a suspect because everyone knew the murdered and each of them had personal reasons and interests to be the murderer.
The original story development was a revolution and also an evolution in soap operas because it happens in a 24 hour time set that is now divided into 36 episodes (the original production had 112 episodes). It was a daring project because the main question was how to keep the audience alive for months without losing interest during a story set in a so short time with characters always in the same place and wearing the same outfits. Though a recurring format in foreign TV shows nowadays, the plot was innovative at that time and it never happened to be redone in further Brazilian soap operas since then. The story unfolds gradually, giving time to audience get to know each one of the characters and their personal stories. The tension grows as the clues lead to unveil other crimes, lies and the real nature of each one, making the title a meaningful word throughout the plot development.
For sure the remake is one of the most refined soap operas produced by Globo channel. The top notch ensemble cast and the mesmerizing production are the highlights and also a welcome breath of fresh air to the current and mature audience tired of lame stories and average productions. The entire production has been filmed with 4k technology and the director was not afraid to abuse of wide angles and long tracking shots, a bold cinematography method used by the most perfectionist directors in the world, but never used before to improve the cheap look of Brazilian ordinary soap operas. Despite the 25 minutes episodes and some clichéd acting, there are a lot of unusual great qualities that makes it a turning point to the Brazilian television dramaturgy and elevates it to a cinematic level.
Patricia Pillar (as Angela Mahler), Cassia Kis Magro (as Gilda Rezende, Angela's best friend and confident) and some of the supporting cast like Tony Ramos (as Carlos Braga, the main antagonist ), Jose de Abreu (as Bernardo Rezende, Gilda's husband), Vera Holtz (as socialite Vic Garcez), Camila Morgado (as Maria Angelica, Vic's daughter) and Mariana Lima (as Roberta Camargo, the party promoter) are the wheels of the entire plot and the most experienced actors. Unfortunately there are those ones who pull the quality back like Dira Paes (as police officer Rosa Nolasco), who is a good actress but unfortunately lacks of an effective direction, surprisingly giving a lame performance full of clichéd mannerisms to appear tough and reasonable, but never achieving the excellence of the already mentioned great cast.
Anyway, as said before, for so many great qualities, this makes "O Rebu" one of the most noticeable soap operas to date and also a turning point in Brazilian television dramaturgy that needs to be taken as primary example in further productions by Globo channel.