Ensaio is going to be a bitch to explain, because I’m not entirely sure what was going on, so I’m going to do my best. From what I gathered, three actors are meeting at a rehearsal space to work on a play. Depressed Marco (Nuno Gil) is apparently in a relationship with the abrasive Rita (Cátia Tomé), and João (Miguel Nunes) is the wildcard who likes baiting both Rita and Marco. None of them seem all that impressed with each other, and their words circle each other in an ever-shrinking tragic spiral. Or something.
Again, I’m not sure what was going on here. Beyond the dialogue being particularly dense, the film plays with the narrative a bit, showing and then re-showing certain scenes from different angles and perspectives to reveal something different. It’s a unique way to deliver the tale, but it is also a challenging one that is open to multiple interpretation.
Technically, I dug the editing and the black-and-white look to the film, and felt that the composition was accomplished enough to give the entire experience a bit more heft. At the same time, when coupled with the dialogue, it also has that stereotypical art flick feel to it; you know, where people talk in almost impenetrable circles and everything just seems a bit too complicated as if the filmmaker thought, “hey, the more cryptic I make it, the more those that don’t understand it will have no other recourse than to call it ‘art’ and back away.” I’m not saying that’s what was going on here, but if someone interpreted it along those lines, I would understand where they’re coming from.
In the end, is it really dysfunctional trio tragically rehearsing a doomed play? Is the rehearsal itself the play? How far out does the lens widen? What is real, what is false? What is going on here!?!
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