In filmmaker Ana Katz’s Florianópolis Dream, she tells the story of an Argentinian family’s vacation in Florianópolis, Brazil. The film opens with parents Pedro (Gustavo Garzón) and Lucrecia (Mercedes Morán) and their two children trying to survive a very bumpy car trip. Their car runs out of gas, and while Pedro hitches a ride to a local station, Lucrecia and the kids are rescued by a Brazilian couple, Marco (Marco Ricca) and Larisa (Andrea Beltrão). They tell Lucrecia that they run an Airbnb and should stay with them. After seeing their already booked crappy vacation home, they take Marco and Larisa up on their offer.
After meeting Marco by the beach, he takes them on a very long hike to his home. Marco is one of those aggressively-friendly type of person. He can talk you into doing almost anything. When Pedro and Lucrecia arrive at the house, they insist on unpacking and resting, but Marco talks them into heading to the beach for some fun. During a community dinner, it is revealed that while Marco and Larisa are living together, they are divorced. Then Pedro and Lucrecia respond in kind by revealing they are separated but working things out.
“…when the two couples discover their relationships are romantically non-existent, this sets up a flirtation between Marco and Lucrecia…”
It’s here that I begin to wonder, what exactly is this film about? It’s definitely not a horror film, because no one comes close to being in any real danger. It’s not a comedy, because there are no jokes; humorous situations maybe. It’s kind of a drama, but there are weird notes that play, that ultimately makes you wonder if this is a comedy…I don’t know. My head is spinning.
The best way I can describe Florianópolis Dream is an alternative drama about a family vacation. Alternative in the sense that strange and wacky things happen to Pedro and Lucrecia, but the level of strangeness never rises to the point of being comedic. For example, when the two couples discover their relationships are romantically non-existent, this sets up a flirtation between Marco and Lucrecia, and it doesn’t take long before they hook up. Later Pedro tells Lucrecia, he’s going to head out with Larisa, because this may be his only shot to sleep with her. Pedro reminds her that he didn’t say anything about her and Marco’s overnight sleepover.
“Alternative in the sense that strange and wacky things happen…but the level of strangeness never rises to the point of being comedic…”
The main thread of the story is on Lucrecia, played wonderfully by Mercedes Morán. This is her story for the most part, and as the members of her family wander off to do their own thing, she finally has the time to figure out what she wants from her family and life in general.
While I found the story interesting, it glides at an overly medium pace and stays there. The film’s conflict and drama rarely rise high enough to be exciting or compelling. It’s like watching an average family during a mild midlife crisis and ultimately eeks its way to a recommendation.
Florianópolis Dream (2019) Directed Ana Katz. Written by Ana Katz, Daniel Katz. Starring Gustavo Garzón, Mercedes Morán, Andrea Beltrão, Marco Ricca. Florianópolis Dream screened at the 2019 San Francisco International Film Festival.
6.5 out of 10 stars