Bingo: The King of the Mornings (2017)

Rampant with brash 1980s Brazilian political incorrectness, Daniel Rezende’s Bingo: The King of the Mornings (Bingo: O Rei das Manhãs) is based on a true story of an actor’s downfall.

Tears of a Clown

by Alexa Dalby

Bingo: The King of the Mornings

CAUTION: Here be spoilers

Struggling porn-film actor Augusto (Vladimir Brichta), the son of a national-treasure Brazilian soap-queen actress fights to get his big break. But it comes when he takes over the role of Bingo the Clown, the host of a children’s daily live TV show – and it’s on condition that he remains anonymous under the greasepaint and the clown outfit. As Bingo, he’s outrageously over the top, single handedly reviving the network’s flagging ratings. But what’s the point of his TV popularity, his young son (Cauã Martins) asks him, if he can’t tell his friends that it’s his father on the screen? His manic ratings-chasing enthusiasm puts him in conflict with the show’s straitlaced producer/director (Leandra Leal), though the show’s non-Portugese-speaking sponsor (Soren Hellerup) is happily oblivious to the rather adult liberties Bingo is taking on set.

As Bingo, Augusto is phenomenally successful – in a tacky, primary-coloured audience-participation show that is of its time. Think Cheggers on acid. But his tragedy is that nobody knows. Dressed as himself, he can’t even enter an awards ceremony at which he’s won an award for being Bingo. Even before all this, he’s been a recreational user of cocaine, alcohol – and women – but the more beloved he becomes by the nation as a children’s entertainer, the more he slides down the slippery slope of industrial-scale substance abuse, his disturbed state of mind echoed in the austere browns and greys of his lonely bachelor pad in contrast to the garish studio.

It’s a thinly disguised biopic, a free-wheeling, no-holds-barred satire on television, celebrity and actors for whom real life is a stage, done in a very Brazilian way that lets the emotions hang out. Writer/director Daniel Rezende was the editor on the acclaimed City of God and the film is Brazil’s entry for the Foreign Language Oscars.

Bingo: The King of the Mornings (#BingotheFilm) is released on 15 December 2017 in the UK.

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