Original Title: 1,99 – Um supermercado que vende palavras
Written and Directed by: Marcelo Masagão
Produced by: Clarissa Knoll and Gustavo Steinberg
Executive Producer: Gustavo Steinberg
Original Music: Wim Mertens
Director of Photography: Helcio A. Naganine
Brazil, 2003, 72 min.
Different variety of person(a)s shop in a supermarket that sells words and ideas!
Marcelo Masagão’s brilliant film revolves around a complete-white supermarket where people are filling their charts and cannot leave. Much more preponderant: they are not drowning by trends, but captivated in imprinted messages the goods diffuse through. That's what reaches the costumers' minds...
The main characters are not these consumers, but desire, anguish, and a compulsion for buying. It is, indeed, a cloistered environment, somewhat similar in deep-down climate and somewhat different in context to that created by Buñel in The Exterminating Angel. But the outside world also appears: always mediated by computer-like machines, cameras, and telephones…
1,99 – A Supermarket That Sells Words can be read as a tale of shopping and consumerism where the characters never speak to each other, but the goods do. The catchy messages written on the boxes can be translated into inciting fetish: just do it, no limits, you are just unique, abuse and use, being intelligent is fancy, pick your debt, think different, think deceitfully, be yourself, do what you want to do, you are great, you know and you trust, you need to rush, everything as you like, where do you want to go today?, and so forth.
These powerful and “attractive” messages contrast sharply with the shoppers themselves, whose robotic expressions show they’re totally co-opted by marketing.
Just a wonderful film – I strongly indicate it!