Mal Viver (Bad Living) - English subtitled

First part of a haunting diptych set in a hotel near Oporto, Portugal, where five women who jointly run the hotel suffocate each other in intergenerational trauma.

Previously Unreleased (Eye)
Time & Tickets

As a child, he visited it with his parents; as an adult, director João Canijo returned there. A hotel near the Portuguese city of Oporto where he situated the oppressive story of three generations of mothers and daughters whose relationships with each other have grown poisoned by bitterness. If you thought the Overlook Hotel from THE SHINING represented the pinnacle of malice, you have not yet checked in at the hotel from MAL VIVER. Incidentally, here it is thoroughly human rather than supernatural matters that make a stay hell.

In the first, self-contained part of a diptych, we are introduced to owner Sara, her daughter Piedade and granddaughter Salomé, joined by Piedade's sister Raquel and jack-of-all-trades Angela. At the centre is a severely disturbed mother-daughter relationship that seems to have spilled over from generation to generation like a virus. In the second part of this diptych, with the mirrored title VIVER MAL, it will be revealed that the hotel’s sparse clientele also faces considerable intergenerational conflicts.

Director João Canijo casts his intense psychological drama into a stylised form, in which long takes and mirrored windows reinforce the suggestion that the characters have locked themselves in a glass cage. MAL VIVER won the Jury Prize at the Berlin Film Festival.

Please note: The second part of this diptych – Viver Mal (Living Bad) – opens on 29 August.

João Canijo, Portugal, France, 2023, 127 min. Portuguese spoken, English subtitles. With Anabela Moreira, Rita Blanco, Madalena Almeida, Cleia Almeida, Vera Barreto.