Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands

Directed by Bruno Barreto
Film Movement Classics
1976
110 Minutes
Brazil
Portuguese
Comedy, Erotic, Classics
R

Based on the novel by Jorge Amado, this Brazilian comedy follows the strange events that befall Doña Flor (Sonia Braga) after she is left a widow by the death of her wild, irresponsible husband. (He died after another wanton night of carousing) Attempting to marry more wisely the second time around, Doña Flor weds a stable, but boring, pharmacist who has no interest in sex. When she discovers that her new sex life is less than satisfying, Doña Flor is visited by the sexy ghost of her late husband. When initially released, Dona Flor became the most successful film in Brazilian history. Its box office was only reached by a Brazilian production 35 years later by the 2010 blockbuster Elite Squad: The Enemy Within. Internationally, Dona Flor received nominations for a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Award.

Director & Cast

Trailer

Photos

Reviews

  • "Bruno Barreto's spicy Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands became a big international hit of the late 1970s and made a star of its daring leading actress Sonia Braga. The epitome of Brazilian earthiness, the beautiful and refined Braga upped the standing of sexy stars everywhere. Sex scenes and nudity were as common in the Brazilian cinema as in liberated Italy (think Laura Antonelli), but Braga's class productions stand in a category by themselves. Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands is just the kind of upscale spice art houses thrived on. Intelligent, witty and honest about human relationships, Barreto's movie finds a nice balance between vulgarity and sensuality, skirting the accepted borders of taste with its unabashed softcore nudity. The heavy-breathing Ms. Braga convinces us that sex is the rightful center of all human activity, and does it without lowering her respectability quotient one iota. The Brazilian trappings add flavor to the fantastic sex tale: colorful 1940s costumes (brassiere? what's a brassiere?), crumbling but welcoming houses, lush music and tropical greenery."
    Glenn Erickson, DVD Talk
  • "Brazil’s all-time top-grossing film (it even outdrew Jaws) is an erotic delight. Directed by 23-year-old Bruno Barreto, and shot in Bahia, Brazil’s answer to San Francisco, it tells the story of a young woman who can’t seem to forget her dead husband. Never mind that he was a drunk, a philanderer and a compulsive gambler—he was also a terrific lover, something her second spouse clearly is not. Sonia Braga is bewitchingly beautiful as the young widow, and Jose Wilker sparkles as the roguish husband who returns to haunt her dreams. Lots of laughs, with some very steamy love scenes that confirm they do more in Brazil than drink coffee and attack soccer referees. "
    People Magazine
  • "This wonderfully sexy and funny comedy, a variation on BLITHE SPIRIT, shattered Brazilian box-office records and proved very popular worldwide, chiefly because of Braga's tremendously sensual presence. [E]ntertaining and erotic...."
    TV Guide
  • "A generally effective sex comedy, distinguished by its origins (Brazil) and the considerable appeal of its star, Sonia Braga."
    Dave Kehr, The Chicago Reader
  • "Based on the magical-realist novel by Jorge Amado, Barreto's sexy “Dona Flor” features then-model Sonia Braga in a steamy role opposite Wilker's blond (and buck naked) Bahia stud. Barreto handles the fantasy element in the best way – with little fuss – outfitting the 1940s-era film with bright period detail, lush scenery, and zesty tropicalia music. But it's his honest and intelligent look at sex and human relationships that turn the sheets of earthy romanticism in “Dona Flor.”"
    John Farr, Best Movies by Farr
  • "Bruno Barreto and Sonia Braga created an iconic film that provides us with an unforgettably sensual cinematic image of the most powerful myth of Brazilian identity in the 20th century."
    Marshall Eakin, Perspectives on History
  • "Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands was a huge success in Brazil, outgrossing even such competition as Jaws (1975) and other North American films of the day, and it has proved popular with American audiences as well. Although its critical reception in the United States was mixed-- the film is clearly open to charges of sexism; beyond that, some critics argued that Barreto spent too much time setting up the final menage a trois, and too little time exploiting its comic possibilities-- Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands is best understood in its Brazilian context. The film is, at bottom, a celebration of the relaxation of government censorship. If Barreto occasionally emphasizes the erotic at the expense of the comic, Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands still remains the most polished of the Brazilian boudoir comedies of its era. The breakthrough of that comedy heralded the resurrection of Brazilian cinema and paved the way for the international success of Brazilian films such as Xica da Silva (1976), Bye Bye Brazil (1980) and Pixote (1980)"
    Magill's Survey of Cinema
  • ""Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands" should be seen as liberating, an unpretentious and uncomplicated slant on desire. There's a playfully free sway to Amado's character and the way Braga approaches her that is vital and far distant from exploitative. The movie is also credited with helping to loosen the reins of cinema censorship in Brazil. With its fairly graphic sex scenes (cinematographer Maurilo Salles follows the mingling bodies with a matter-of-fact interest) and ability to capture the essence of Amado's novel, "Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands" was a forward step in the country's filmmaking."
    Mark Chalon Smith, The Los Angeles Times
  • "Almost 20 years ago, Bruno Barreto emerged from Brazil as the most precocious young stylist on the international filmmaking scene. He shot his third feature-- the exuberant, erotic comedy Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands-- when he was all of 20. The movie took Brazil by storm, grossing about $8 million on a production budget of $600, 000. It made leading lady Sonia Braga an exotic sex star for the better part of a decade. And its influence, particularly in interweaving culinary and carnal motifs, was evident in later imports such as Tampopo from Japan and Like Water for Chocolate from Mexico."
    Gary Arnold, News World Communications
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