An astonishing creation, Limite is the only feature by the Brazilian director and author Mário Peixoto, made when he was just twenty-two years old. Inspired by a haunting André Kertész photograph on the cover of a French magazine, this avant-garde silent masterpiece centers on a man and two women lost at sea, their pasts unfolding through flashbacks propelled by the music of Erik Satie, Claude Debussy, Igor Stravinsky, and others. An early work of independent Latin American filmmaking, Limite was famously difficult to see for most of the twentieth century. It is a pioneering achievement that continues to captivate with its timeless visual poetry.
“Limite is feverishly beautiful and desperately ambitious, even when it isn’t clear.” Janet Maslin, NY TIMES
“The remarkably luscious and mobile cinematography (for which cameraman Edgar Brazil had to build special equipment) alone makes it well worth seeing.” Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
“The narrative, bracketed by a rowboat-set framing story, is thick and opaque as frosted glass. Exposition is scarce, and even the photography (with its ludicrously canted angles) obscures much more than it clarifies. Absent are any traditional story beats, replaced by a set of visual motifs that cycle across the screen… Every visual tactic available gets put toward fostering a mood of exuberant gloom. This is late silent cinema with a dash of Virginia Woolf and prophetic hints of Maya Deren.” Pussy Goes Grr
“Like Greed (1924), Citizen Kane (1941), A Brighter Summer Day (1991), or Hard to Be a God (2013), it is a rare cult film that lives up to its mythology, a singular work born out of peculiar insularity. When seen today, the film still seems to open doors to cinematic territories that remain vastly unexplored. This historical missing link can really be understood only through this prism, a legacy of decay, missed connections, and passionate reinvention.” Criterion
“The film constructs a rhythmic approach to time and space that stands alongside the finest efforts of Abel Gance, Jean Epstein, and Sergei Eisenstein… Close-ups and canted framings govern nearly every scene, as does an unforgettable arrangement of music, featuring Igor Stravinsky and Erik Satie, among others. The recurring image of a woman bound by handcuffs and staring into the camera belongs among the greatest emblems in all of silent cinema.” Slant
- 9/16 | 7:00PM