A nerve-rattling tale of a kidnapped child and the distraught parents left behind, Brazilian filmmaker Fernando Coimbra’s suspenseful feature debut captures the darkness that ensues when panic breeds suspicion and love turns to hate.
Contemporary World Cinema
A Wolf at the Door
Sylvia (Fabíula Nascimento) is horrified to learn that her six-year-old daughter Clarinha has just been picked up at school by an unknown woman. Still reeling from the shock, she waits impatiently with her husband, Bernardo (Milhem Cortaz), at the police station, where they are both questioned. Bernardo confesses to a detective that he believes he knows who is responsible for the kidnapping: his lover, Rosa (Leandra Leal). When Rosa calls him to arrange a rendezvous, Bernardo agrees to meet her, hoping against hope that she will appear with Clarinha in hand.
A Wolf at the Door, the suspenseful debut feature by Brazilian filmmaker Fernando Coimbra, captures the darkness that can fall over a couple when love mixes with hate. Set in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro, this passionate, tragic tale employs absorbing flashbacks to illuminate the contradictory perspectives of Sylvia, Bernardo, and Rosa. Gradually, we see how each is caught in a tangle of lies and deception.
Expertly photographed — the camera
prowls the city's streets rather than its
landmark beaches — this thriller establishes
a realistic tone with protracted sequences
that draw out the heightened anxiety of
what is every parent's worst nightmare.
Coimbra is unafraid to explore the grimmest
sides of the human condition and the cruelties
of which people are capable.