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Film / O Quatrilho

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O Quatrilho is a 1995 film from Brazil directed by Fabio Barreto.

The story opens in 1910 in the southernmost part of Brazil, with the wedding of Angelo, a peasant farmer, to Teresa. Teresa is sexy and vivacious while Angelo, while not being a bad man, is kind of a boring drip. Their marriage grows stale.

Angelo's little brother gets married which means that, per custom, Angelo must vacate the family's land and find a place of his own. Angelo finds a piece of land suitable for a mill, but he can't do it himself, so he approaches his neighbor Massimo (Bruno Campos). Angelo, Teresa, Massimo, and Massimo's wife Pierina acquire the land and move into a shared farmhouse. Massimo, as it happens, is handsome and passionate, while Pierina is kind of a boring drip, and their marriage has grown stale.

Can you guess what happens next? If you guessed "Teresa and Massimo fall in love," you were right!


  • Cave Behind the Falls: A cave behind a waterfall is the romantic setting for Teresa and Massimo's first kiss, as they give into temptation.
  • Creator Cameo: The photographer in the last scene taking the picture of Angelo and Pierina is José Clemente Pozenato, who wrote the novel that this film is adapted from.
  • Distant Finale: The last scene skips forward—actually it's not clear but judging by the ages of the children it's well over a decade. In any case the last scene ends in 1930 and shows that Angelo and Teresa have several kids now, and he's prospered so much in business that he has his own bank as well as a car and driver.
  • Establishing Character Moment: At the wedding reception for Angelo and Teresa, Teresa is laughing and exchanging ribald jokes with the wedding guests, while Angelo is sitting in silence, frowning into his plate.
  • Headbutt of Love: Teresa and Massimo do this after having their first kiss.
  • The Ken Burns Effect: The opening credits play over a photo montage of early 20th-century Brazil, with lots of pans and zooms.
  • Letters 2 Numbers: Reflecting the premise of two couples that wind up swapping partners, the title is presented in the opening credits as "O QU4TRILHO". This title was also used on many of the posters.
  • Let the Past Burn: Massimo, a carpenter, makes a chest of drawers for Teresa. After the two of them run off together, Angelo chops the chest up with an axe and then sets it on fire. (Practical-minded Pierina observes that he should have just sold it.)
  • Moral Guardians: Father Gioffre, the self-righteous moral scold who tells Angelo and Pierina that they must live a part, and who leads the whole town in shunning Angelo and Pierina when they ignore him.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Pierina and Angelo shack up together, their spouses having left them, and she pops out a couple more children. For this Father Gioffre gets the whole town to shun them and make them social outcasts. Before Pierina and Angelo leave town, she storms into a church service, kids in tow, and yells at Father Gioffre, calling him a hypocrite, accusing him of hating women, and further accusing that he hates women because he's taken a Vow of Celibacy.
    Pierina: There's hell for priests too!
  • Right Through the Wall: Teresa, who by this point is lusting for Massimo, is bothered by hearing Massimo and Pierina having sex in the next room of their shared farmhouse.
  • Sexy Soaked Shirt: It's pouring rain when the two couples arrive at their farmhouse, and Teresa's blouse gets soaked to her chest, revealing her breasts. Massimo notices, and the sexual tension is ratcheted up.
  • Smoking Hot Sex: Subverted. Angelo is smoking after sex with Teresa, but he's sitting outside when he does it, and the previous sex scene showed that Teresa at least didn't get off.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: Most films that had a story like this with infidelity and partner-swapping would probably have a lot of angst and maybe a murder or two. Instead, both couples end up just fine, prosperous and happily common-law married.
  • Swing Low, Sweet Harriet: Teresa swings in a swing on the grounds of the farmhouse, emphasizing her sexual desirability, as opposed to more buttoned-up Pierina.
  • Title Drop: Angelo is called "the king of quatrilho". Later, after Teresa and Massimo run away together, someone says that the situation is like quatrilho. Qualtrilho is a card game in which you have to change partners in order to win.
  • Voiceover Letter: The Distant Finale has Pierina receiving a voiceover letter from Teresa, apparently their first contact in many years, in which she calls Pierina her friend and asks for forgiveness. This is followed by Pierina's voiceover letter in which she says that while it would be lying to call Teresa her friend, she does forgive her.