One of the most unique romantic comedies to emerge in years, Elvis & Madona is a colorful crowd-pleaser set in Rio de Janeiro's lively neighborhood of Copacabana. Elvis is a talented photographer and lesbian whose father is down on his luck financially. Since her photography isn't paying the bills, she gets a job delivering pizzas on her motorcycle. Madona is a ravishing blonde drag performer who works as a hairstylist by day and performs in Rio's drag clubs at night. The pair's paths cross when Elvis arrives at her first delivery only to find Madona robbed and beaten by her sometime lover John Tripod. From this first meeting, their lives will increasingly intertwine as love and desire begin to emerge.
Debut writer/director Marcelo Laffite brilliantly unfolds the relationship between his two protagonists in a natural and believable way, vitalizing his film and characters with a continuous playful energy that lets the viewer get carried away in the story. Actors Igor Cotrim and Simone Spoladore effortlessly share a natural chemistry even in their unusual scenario, bringing their characters' passion, rather than their labels, to life.
Director's Statement Collapse
Elvis & Madona is a film that speaks to us of love, dreams and the perseverance required to realize one's ambitions.
Working with two gay characters, similar to many others, gay or not, who suffer prejudice and discrimination in real life, my principal preoccupation was not to marginalize them even more and not to put them in a situation of moral judgment. In a democratic and progressive society such as Brazil consider itself to be nowadays, associating sexual freedom and torment is something from the past. I feel that, as a film creator, I have the mission to bring to the screen this model of society.
My interest was always to focus on the marginal universe: a small provincial city (Vox Populi, 1996), bums (Banquet, 2002), gay parade participants (Short Opera, 2004), a boat that goes up and down the Amazon doing trading (Regatao, The Mall of Jungle, 2005), and finally, a lesbian and a transvestite (Elvis & Madona, 2010).
In a certain way, Elvis & Madona is a project of auto references. It reflects the endeavor of independent directors to realize their films and express their love for cinema. After all, artists are marginal in essence (including myself), because for trying to understand the world that surrounds us; we need to observe it from outside, meaning on the margins of our society.
Since the first script's treatment of Elvis & Madona, my objective was to transmit the idea of that "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood" (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1).
Going a little bit further, the film also incorporates an important question for the Brazil of the 21st century, which is the social and economic insertion of the layers historically excluded from the wealth of the country. In the last years, especially with the President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, the country matured from a servile condition with international economic influence to a situation of equality within relation to other rich countries. This means Brazil now asserts itself. The Brazilian people have also advanced in its process of assertion, as all the key indices of citizenship (health, education, distribution of wealth, etc.) have gradually improved.
Without ambition of sociological allegory, Elvis & Madona presents itself as a film born from those moments of identity, affirmation, and understanding of differences. This not-so-conventional couple who invade the colorful streets of Rio de Janeiro just want to show that love doesn't choose where to plant its seeds.
Cast & Credits Collapse
Primary Cast Simone Spoladore, Igor Cotrim, Sergio Bezerra, Maite Proenca, Jose Wilker, Wendell Bendelack
Director Marcelo Laffitte
Screenwriter Marcelo Laffitte
Producers Marcelo Laffitte, Tuinho Schwartz
Editor Luiz Guimaraes De Castro
Director of Photography Uli Burtin
Composer Victor Biglione
Art Director Rafael Targat