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Ghost Canyon

'Don't Swallow My Heart, Alligator Girl!'
(Eduardo Macedo, Adeli Benitez, CauŃ Reymond, et al / DVD / NR / (2017) 2018 / Film Rise - MVD Visual)

Overview: 'Don't Swallow My Heart, Alligator Girl!' is a tale about love and war, telling the story of Joca, a Brazilian boy who falls in love with a Paraguayan girl in the border of the two countries. To fight for this love, Joca will have to face the violent memories of his city and the secrets of his elder brother, Fernando, a local motorcycle cowboy.

DVD Verdict: Here in the brilliantly entitled 'Don't Swallow My Heart, Alligator Girl!,' young love is shown in a modern way, without the archaic (and today, pretentious) formality of Shakespeare.

Instead we see the very believable silliness and stupidity of a young teen's infatuation - it needs no reason to exist, it simply does. The slightly older, slightly more life-experienced girl does not know what to make of this goofy, gentle foreigner from the other side of the bridge, and her reactions vary as she tries to balance curiosity, cultural pressure, self-interest, and perhaps some affection.

And the director, Felipe Braganša, plops this budding flower of a tale into a steaming, fetid pile of modern adult reality, a world in which the Montagues and Capulets would come across as urbane and civil, a world less of Romeo and more of Tromeo.

Our world. Racism, macho misogyny, and acceptance of psychopathic violence as the norm, these headline a chorus of social ills that make a normal childhood impossible.

It hurts to watch the story unfold - and it should. The people and events of 'Don't Swallow My Heart, Alligator Girl! are, for my money, very believable; familiar by type from the hourly news cycle or one's own experience.

Again, and for myself, at least, the modern setting intensifies this tale's emotional impact in a way that a historical or fantasy setting wouldn't; a somewhat straightforward delivery makes the impact more tolerable. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.