Imagine being emotionally tortured every time you slept or ate. Just performing basic human functions would trigger excruciating mental agony, mostly caused by the two people you cared for most in the world – your lover and your mother. What kind of insanity would that produce? Writer/director Luciano de Azevedo reveals all that and more in his twisted Brazilian horror short Cabrito.
Let me start by saying that this short is full of symbolism. Every second of every shot is imperative to the story, revealing multiple layers of plot, emotion and intention. Everything from the dialogue to the setting to the artwork on the walls to the lighting all spoke volumes, cluing the viewer in with pieces of an elaborate puzzle. Even the title of the short – cabrito – has many meanings in de Azevedo’s 19 minute short. Referring to a Portuguese dish of roast baby goat or kid, the “cabrito” in the film stands for everything from the meat that the nameless main character is not allowed to eat to the baby growing in his pregnant lover’s belly to the man himself, the son of a hateful, acid-tongued religious woman.
Produced through Old Man Filmes e Inhamis, Cabrito starts out with a cotton candy salesman coming home after a day plying his wares on the streets to his belittling bully of a mother who not only degrades her son for his inability to buy meat for a meal but continuously calls him worthless, useless and a disappointment. The man seems barely able to breathe without his mother’s permission. In front of a painting of a sad-eyed Jesus, this razor-tongued woman refuses to eat the food in front of her – and denies her son the meat as well. Later, when he visits his girlfriend, she also lashes out at him, laughing in his face as he tries to tell her of his troubles and gets angry over the fact that she makes her living as a prostitute. Under the red light of her room, the two fight both physically and verbally. He grabs her by the throat to strangle her but can’t finish the job. She laughs him off.
Sleep is no escape for this man. When he closes his eyes, he sees only blood and gore – piles of offal swimming in seas of thick, red blood. Before him stands a bloody figure wearing the severed head of a pig. Whether awake or asleep, this man is tormented by the people who call themselves his family, even as they count out Hail Marys on a never ending rosary. A quote from Deuteronomy is repeated several times: ”And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the Lord thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee.” Could it be foreshadowing?
You would never guess that Cabrito was made for a mere $750. In a world where thousands are collected to create even the smallest of shorts, making something for under a grand is mind blowing. Don’t let that figure fool you into thinking the short is lacking in any way. As a matter of fact, I’m convinced that de Azevedo and his fellow scriptwriters Pedro Carcereri, Fransico Franco, and Carolina Queiroz used this minuscule budget to their advantage, forcing them to get creative with how they shot everything and pressuring the cast – Samir Hauaji, Sandra Emília Costa, Pri Helena and Nino de Barros – to tell their stories with little or nothing to go on but their few lines of dialogue and their own body language.
Cabrito is gorgeous torture, a must see for horror fans – even those who might turn away from a foreign language film should take the time to see this. The film is set to be a trilogy, and the trailer for the second part, titled Rosalita, has just been released. I for one am thrilled and anxious to find out the next part of the story of this nameless, tormented soul. Stay tuned here with PopHorror for more news and a review of Rosalita as well as tons of other horror-related stuff.