Mixed Blood (1984)

“You must always do what your mother tells you, you hear? Always.”

Mixed Blood Poster

Synopsis:
The leader (Marilia Pera) of a Brazilian drug gang is disturbed when her dim-witted son (Richard Ulacia) falls for the girlfriend (Linda Kerridge) of her supplier (Ulrich Berr); meanwhile, tensions with a rival Latino gang continue to escalate.

Genres:

Response to Peary’s Review:
In his review of this darkly satirical gangland drama by writer/director Paul Morrissey — which he refers to as “unusual, to say the least” — Peary analyzes it as a “weird variation on The Godfather,” and conducts a point-by-point comparison of the two films. He notes, for instance, that “again we have a territorial war between crime ‘families’; again the warriors sleep on mattresses on the floor”, etc. It’s an interesting set of associations — but the obvious difference between the two films is that The Godfather endures as an iconic classic of cinema, while Mixed Blood will likely only be of interest to fans of Morrissey’s eclectic oeuvre — or those curious to see Marilia Pera (so effective as a prostitute in 1981’s Pixote) in a truly unique lead performance. Playing a “middle-aged, eccentric gypsy… who sings Carmen Miranda songs”, her presence is never anything other than intriguing; listen to her strange line delivery, for instance, as she talks about how many funerals she’s had to endure over the years.

As Peary notes, while the “extreme violence” of the film can be off-putting, the “exaggerated gore and bizarre situations” help to mediate this somewhat. Indeed, Mixed Blood is an odd mixture of time-capsule realism — one scene actually takes place in a store dedicated exclusively to Menudo memorabilia! — and satire (note the drug-dealing scene, which shows purchases being made at a the equivalent of a lemonade stand). Peary argues that while the film “doesn’t always work”, it’s “exciting and funny, in unusual ways” — a sentiment I can’t quite agree with, though I’ll agree it’s worth a one-time look for Pera alone.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Marilia Pera as Rita La Puenta
    Mixed Blood Pera
  • Effectively seedy location shooting throughout “Alphabet City”
    Mixed Blood Seedy NYC
  • An interesting time-capsule glimpse of 1980s New York
    Mixed Blood Menudo Store

Must See?
No, though it’s worth a look simply for Pera’s performance.

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