My Darling Supermarket

My Darling Supermarket

2021, NR, 80 min. Directed by Tali Yankelevich.

REVIEWED By Josh Kupecki, Fri., March 12, 2021

Heralding its intentions with a title that reads like an introduction to a love letter, Brazilian filmmaker Tali Yankelevich’s documentary feature debut My Darling Supermarket is just that: a mash note to a grocery store in São Paulo. Or to be more precise, a mash note to the employees of said grocery store. They are the bakers, the shelf stockers, the checkout clerks performing their repetitive rituals of labor in an endless loop. Through interviews with a handful of the staff from various departments, the film aims to explore the inner thought life of the people who are a vital part of feeding the community.

Lit blindingly bright and always meticulously stocked, Supermercado Veran is a hermetically sealed environment (the camera never ventures beyond it). Gustavo Almeida’s cinematography juxtaposes languid tracking shots of aisles with close-ups of working hands: chopping meat, slicing cheese, kneading dough, scanning items, all accompanied by playful classical music. And then there are “just ordinary people doing their jobs,” as one manager describes them. There’s a sweet baker who loves Japanese culture and sometimes wanders the store in cosplay. Another baker has interests in ancient aliens, quantum physics, and Orwell. Through her bank of monitors, a security guard watches over her daughter, also an employee. A cashier describes a panic attack brought on by a profound existential sadness he experienced during a shift. A butterfly leisurely flaps its wings on a storage shelf, the metaphor laboriously conveyed.

Yankelevich has stated that the idea for her film came after a late night visit to a supermarket. She was in an aisle and overheard two employees having a passionate discussion about their respective first loves. Eavesdropping in, the idea struck her that these employees had lives outside of meticulously arranging cereal boxes, a concept that is, at best, utterly naive; at worst, extraordinarily offensive. It is difficult to see My Darling Supermarket for the whimsical anthropological oddity it so desperately strives to be. After discovering the soul of the working class, perhaps Yankelevich should next tackle the nescience of bourgeoisie.

Available now as a virtual cinema release.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Films
Here Today
Crystal and Haddish bond beautifully in this bittersweet comedy

Richard Whittaker, May 7, 2021

Wrath of Man
Ritchie and Statham find a new, welcome gear in this bloody thriller

Matthew Monagle, May 7, 2021

More by Josh Kupecki
About Endlessness
Roy Andersson carves another exquisite, funny, mordant world

May 7, 2021

15 Things You Didn't Know About Bigfoot (#1 Will Blow Your Mind)
Search for the shaggy beast kinda goes nowhere

May 7, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

My Darling Supermarket, Tali Yankelevich

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle