Facets Cinémathèque

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November 25–December 1, 2016

Chicago Encore


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Film still: Aquarius Film still: Aquarius Film still: Aquarius Film still: Aquarius


Palme d'Or
Queer Palme
Cannes Film Fest
Best Actress
Special Jury Prize
Lima Latin American
Film Fest
Absorbing... gorgeous, ruminative"
  —Los Angeles Times
Critics' Pick "Aquarius is a marvelous and surprising act of portraiture, a long, unhurried encounter with a single, complicated person"
  —New York Times
"Sônia Braga makes a triumphant return to the screen... Aquarius is nothing less than triumphant, a one-woman show of strength, sensuality and indomitable staying power"
  —Washington Post
4 stars "Beautifully observed and surprising"
  —The Guardian
"Braga miraculously succeeds in making the character an indomitable force of nature... To call this performance a career-crowning achievement seems insufficient"
  —AV Club
"Too often, in both Portuguese- and English-language pictures, Braga has done the best she could with inferior material in various genres. So it's a considerable pleasure to see Braga, now 66, go to town on a role worth the wait"
  —Chicago Tribune
"A memorable performance"
  —Chicago Reader

Kleber Mendonça Filho's richly absorbing and boldly realised new film takes its name from a Recife apartment block overlooking one of the city's most popular beaches. To Clara (Brazilian screen legend Sônia Braga), a widowed music critic who has resided here for nearly four decades, Aquarius is home. However, a slick property developer is determined to transform the site into luxury flats as an investment opportunity. The developers want to evict Clara, by fair means or foul, but she has no intention of leaving, and a protracted struggle ensues. Still, her obdurate refusal to negotiate with the developers leaves some to question her sanity, so if money and persuasion will not work, perhaps there are other methods to make her move. As she continues to push back, secrets are revealed, exposing the festering corruption that infects so much big business in Brazil.

Building on the dazzling achievement of Mendonça Filho's Neighboring Sounds, Aquarius is a rousing parable of individual resistance and an exquisite exploration of the way architecture, like cinema, can be a repository of cherished memories, full of secret meanings and intimate echoes of the past. Braga's transfixing, multilayered performance and the film's deliberate pacing and stylistic flourishes yield a sophisticated, political, and humane work.

Directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2016, Brazil/France, 142 mins. In Portuguese with English subtitles.


  • Fri., Nov. 25 at 6:30 pm
  • Sat.–Sun., Nov. 26–27 at 3:30 & 6:30 pm
  • Mon.–Thurs., Nov. 28–Dec. 1 at 6:30 pm
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$10 general admission

$5 for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation