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The Accident (O Acidente)

Inspired by a true "accident", this debut Brazilian feature delves straight into challenging subject matter, grabbing you from the very beginning of a story that grows into a compelling moral maze - from the First Feature Competition of the 26th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival


Joana (Carol Martins) is a softly spoken translator, who enjoys getting around town on her bike. One evening, on her way to an important event, she is nearly struck by a car. Confronting the driver for answers, she finds she is ignored. Stepping in front of the car, Joana is shocked when the driver hits the accelerator, carrying her terrified on the bonnet while the driver’s son Maicon (Luis Felipe Xavier) films the ordeal. Joana’s attempts to move on are thwarted when Maicon uploads the video to the internet, drawing Joana into a bitter battle between the driver Elaine (Gabriela Greco) and her ex-husband Cléber (Marcello Crawshaw).

While the beginning is dramatic, much of the film unfolds in hushed but intense conversations. Carboni first explores the nature of assault victims, with Joana’s reluctance to be drawn further into painful memories despite the pleas of her partner Cecilia (Carina Sehn). There is a relatable disassociation, as the film makes you understand why Joana would rather do anything than mentally return to the scene of the crime.

Once Cléber and Elaine enter her world, the plot blossoms into something more complex. Greco and Crawshaw play their parts brilliantly, toeing a line where it becomes uncertain who has Maicon’s best interests at heart. Joana’s sudden importance in their legal fight gives her a sense of power that was robbed after the accident, but her compassion for the young boy in the middle overrides any anger. “No-ones asking you to be a judge” Cléber snaps when asking Joana for help, but that’s exactly what she, and the audience, are tempted to do.

Martins’ central performance is remarkable in its subtlety. However startling the twists in her journey may be, her authenticity finds an emotional grounding in each decision. Just as the accident blindsides her, so too she seems to be observing much of what comes after. Nothing is as it seems, and in that sense her enigmatic presence fits perfectly into the centre of the frame.

Thought-provoking and richly textured, The Accident artfully holds a mirror up to a brutal aspect of society, where even the most frightening moments can be met with dispassionate stares and the clicking of camera phones. It’s an impressive debut feature for Carboni, for whom this could be the start of an interesting directorial career.

The Accident has just premiered in the First Feature Competition strand of the 26th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival.

By Victoria Luxford - 25-11-2022

London-born Victoria Luxford has been a film critic and broadcaster since 2007, writing about cinema all over the world. Beginning with regional magazines and entertainment websites, she soon built up...

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