Fantasia Film Festival 2021 Review: King Car (Carro Rei)

Written by Maria Athayde

40/100

King Car is a Brazilian production, directed by Renata Pinheiro overflowing with style. The production elements really stand out chiefly the art design which brought the film to life. King Car also hints at a growing trend of creative freedom and wave of genre films for Brazilian cinema. Primarily billed as a Sci-Fi feature King Car also interpolates elements of political and social commentary, fantasy, and a coming-of-age story that make for a memorable ride. 

Anchored by the fantastic Matheus Nachtergaele, King Car tells the story of Uno (Luciano Pedro Jr.) a teen that has a special connection with cars and his uncle Zé Macaco (Nachtergaele) who transform junk cars into sleek vehicles with the ability to speak. As the cars are transformed the film begins to lean heavily into its social and political commentary that likely will mostly be lost to audiences who are not Brazilian. With three screen writers the movie would have clearly benefited from a tighter script that fleshes out the objectives and psyche of its protagonist Uno

Even so, it was still a joy to watch. This is the type of movie that has something to say despite getting lost in its own metaphors. Most importantly, King Car is a strong indication of a resurgent Brazilian cinema that is more comfortable dealing with contemporary themes and exploring different film genres. If this sounds like the type of narratives you are intrigued by I’d suggest watching Divino Amor (2019) and Bacurau (2019) who’ve recently helped pave the way for a movie like this.

King Car Trailer

King Car was screened as part of Fantasia Film Festival 2021

You can follow Maria Manuella Pache de Athayde on LetterboxdTwitter, or Instagram and view more of what she’s up to here.

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