You’d be forgiven for buying into the genial peace the pervades the first half of this exclusive trailer for “Hard Labor” filmmakers Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra’s latest feature. After all, the opening minute or so of this first look at their “Good Manners” plays up the bond between Clara (Isabél Zuaa), a lonely nurse from the outskirts of São Paulo, who is hired by the mysterious and wealthy Ana (Marjorie Estiano) as the nanny of her unborn child.
And then things change. In a very, very big way. The film follows the pair as they prepare for the imminent birth of Ana’s child, a terrifying enough period made all the worse by the sense that not all is right with the baby, or with Ana.
In an official statement, Rojas and Dutra shared how “Hard Labor” came to breed “Good Manners,” commenting, “The fantastic element in our first feature, ‘Hard Labor,’ became part of the story progressively as it approached its climax. In ‘Good Manners’ we decided to create a fantasy world from the beginning and make use of the fairy tale narrative style. The story occurs in a slightly dreamy version of São Paulo, and takes unexpected turns that are only possible in a magical world. But the materialistic themes of class and race are still present and problematic.”
While the story of “Good Manners” initially seems to be more domestic in nature, the first trailer doesn’t hide that there’s something more fairy tale-esque that’s really going on. The pair are hardly shying away from the film’s werewolf-centric storyline, and they also shared how they used that fantastical entry point to tell an unexpectedly grounded new story.
“The idea of contrast is central to the werewolf myth. Human versus beast, civilization versus instinct,” they said. “We expanded this idea to all aspects of the story: center and periphery, white and black, rich and poor. The split form of the film also reflects that: horror movie and children’s movie are combined into the same story. The characters are separated by all kinds of barrier: class, race, neighborhood, origins, faith, age and time. They also deal with loneliness and concealed desire.”
Check out our exclusive trailer for “Good Manners,” premiering this week at Locarno, below.