If my plan was to leave the theater feeling more uncomfortable around old white men than I already do, António e Catarina did the job. Not only was the film straight up boring to watch as it was just essentially an interview with a man shot from three angles in one room, but the things said by both of the characters made me seethe. I honestly couldn’t tell who was worse: Antonio (Agusto) for being an old creep or Catarina (Christina) for egging him on. The circumstances in which they met and continue to be around each other in are never explained.
The movie opens with Antonio prodding at Christina’s personal life. Catarina tells him about her boyfriend and he debunks everything she says about loving him. Not only is this awkward to watch, but picturing Antonio, a 70-year-old man trying to get with Catarina, a 20-something old woman, made me feel so sad and uneasy that everytime the movie cut to a black screen I got excited because I thought the movie was over. But it wasn’t. It never seemed to end.
Throughout the film that was way longer than it should have been, we follow Catarina, who happens to be the director, as she films her interactions with Antonio. They discuss everything from Antonio’s suicide tendencies to the meaning of life. In this aspect, the movie gave off some aspects of deep-rooted philosophy that the audience could have internalized. The distractors around the hard-hitting lines, however, ruin any potential this movie had to change someone’s point of view or give them something to take away from the movie.
It took me a good amount of time to figure out the set-up for António e Catarina. I thought Catarina was a prostitute, then I thought she was a caretaker but in conclusion I discovered that she was just some girl who found this creepy old dude and exploited his clinginess on camera. This conclusion is just as satisfying as it sounds.
At first, I felt sympathy for Catarina. I know what it’s like to be hit on by old men; I work at a grocery store where I have to pretend they’re being funny for the sake of customer service. Catarina does not imply that she is uncomfortable, however, though red flags are going off everywhere. First, Catarina completely disregards her boyfriend. Then she plays along when Antonio asks her for a sponge bath. After all this, one would wonder why she comes back to Antonio and I still have no clue.
During one part of the movie, my face twisted in so much grimace that I genuinely did not think it would go back to normal. This part made me so uncomfortable that I wished harder than every for it to be over. Towards the end of the movie, there was an entire scene solely dedicated to Antonio’s masturbation habits and how horny Catarina made him. This man is 70-years-old. Catarina is a good forty years younger than him. Though the are both adults, this four decade age gap made me think of all the times old men pursue young women, and how it makes the vast majority of the women uncomfortable. Catarina just goes along with the uncomfortable and intolerable remarks Antonio makes towards her. António e Catarina is a movie that celebrates perverts, and I’m not here for it.
After all of this, I was still searching for a deeper meaning in António e Catarina. In one aspect, it’s a forbidden love story of a man too old to love again, and a girl who tries to find someone who genuinely does love her. Despite this message that I had to dig too deep to find, the creepiness of Antonio was something I just could not get over.