After reintroducing the terror of Stephen King’s IT to cinemas this year, it’s hard to blame anyone for contracting a case of coulrophobia. But in award winning editor Daniel Rezende’s directorial debut, one clown will perhaps find his way into viewer’s hearts.
Based on a true story, Bingo: The King of the Mornings is inspired by the life of Arlindo Barreto, the man who brought Bozo The Clown to life in Brazil in the 80s (renamed to avoid copyright issues). A former soft-porn actor and single father, the Cassnova-like Augusto Mendes turns to television in the hopes of achieving fame and fortune, nabbing the chance when he snags the role of Bingo. Like a superhero, he puts on the outlandish costume and over the top make up and becomes a runaway success. But in the wake of his fame, he forgets to spend time with the most important child of all – his son.
Much of Bingo’s success is reliant on the skill of the actor playing the eponymous clown to anchor the show with his performance, and Vladimir Brichta is absolutely brilliant in the role. Brichta brings to the screen a devilish charm and a take no prisoners attitude towards achieving his artistry; an outstanding confidence that shows whether he’s in costume or out of it while nailing each and every humorous moment in the film. Brichta’s role is a multifaceted one, and later on, he capably brings out the anger and emotional edge to Augusto’s strained relationship with his son as his career peaks, portraying genuinely moving moments just seconds after going on larger than life comic improvisations in the studio. Brichta spews crass humour where necessary, while his physicality as Bingo is light, almost supernatural in the ease with which he achieves comedy. Meanwhile, opposite Brichta is Leandra Leal as frigid and strict director Lucia, adroitly melting her frozen heart over the course of the film to reveal a smile and well matched love interest for Brichta’s Augusto.
Bingo is a film that simultaneously entertains and emotes, a well scripted piece by Luiz Bolognesi that moves at a perfect pace and tickles with well-timed jokes. Daniel Rezende is practically masterful in the way he’s crafted this film, with wonderful closeups of old-timey television screens, or laugh out loud moments as Augusto has sex with a woman in a public toilet while still in his full Bingo getup. A powerful story of art and relationships, Bingo is an impressive debut from Rezende, and obviously created with plenty of love and respect for the source story, and certainly a surprising highlight of the 2017 year in film.
Bingo: The King of the Mornings is released in UK cinemas 15th December