We were thankful that our friend, a native of Salvador, Brazil, quickly agreed to see "Lower City" with us. We never doubted the raw beauty of her hometown, and the film confirmed what she’d been telling us for years.

Like its name, much of the film takes place at the lowest stop off the elevador lacerda, the amazing elevator that links the Upper and Lower Cities of Salvador. We've been asked not to give away too much about the movie, but we can tell you this much: Karina, a prostitute/dancer, played by Alice Braga, sets out for Salvador in hopes of finding a “gringo,” but instead discovers herself enveloped in steamy, coinciding relationships with “brothers” Deco (Lazaro Ramos) and Naldinho (Wagner Moura). Whoo! Throughout the film, Karina finds herself torn between taking care of herself, taking care of both men, and preserving the relationship that has blossomed among the three of them.

We especially enjoyed the post-film Q&A with Alice Braga, from "City of God," and niece to Sonia Braga (whom you may remember in part for her tryst with Samantha on ). We felt Braga’s challenge during the Q&A when she described the difficulty and delicacy required both onscreen and off navigating and balancing her relationships with both men.

We recommend checking out "Lower City," which screens again at the Kabuki on Tuesday the 24th at 4:30. If you want to see more of Braga, you can catch her in "Solo Dios Sabe," also at the festival. For more of Ramos and Moura, try out the domestic drama short, "Dazed."

SFist Wendy, contributing.

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