One of the highlights of the festival is the latest Fernando Meirelles feature Xingu (produced by Meirelles and directed by Cão Hamburger) premiering in London on 25 September. Meirelles, famous for his feature City of God (2002), talks this time about the story of the Villas Boas Brothers: three Brazilian activists in the cause of indigenous peoples, who in 1961 succeeded in getting the entire upper Xingu legally protected – the first huge indigenous area in all South America, and the prototype for dozens of similar reserves all over the continent.
Another praised film is Two Birds by Afonso Poyart, an action thriller about an average man who decides to take matters into his own hands as he elaborates a master mind plan to put a corrupt politician and a criminal boss on a collision course. The film displays an interesting mix of animation and special effects showing a potential and style in current Brazilian cinema not popularly known outside Brazil. Kings and Rats similarly leans towards the action genre, although it has also a hint of humour. It is officially classified as ‘comedy-drama’, which could be a clever way to reach different viewers and get them to think about the dirty politics of the 1960s. Also set during the military years, but in a docu-drama storyline, is A Long Journey by director Lucia Murat. Murat tells the story of her brother, Hector, who is sent to London by his family, worried that he is going to join the struggle for freedom against the Brazilian dictatorship.
There is also a good selection of documentaries about different Brazilian music scenes such as samba, rock and – less explored overseas – brega (cheesy). By another woman filmmaker, Ana Rieper,I’ll Raffle off my Heart, the opening film at the festival, is a documentary that explores Brazilian romantic, sentimental and erotic imagination based on the works of the most important composers of brega, a genre of popular romantic music. In the songs, the lyrics create a true chronicle of romantic practices that are connected to the romantic dramas and experiences of real people, and the film faces the challenge of showing them in real situations talking about their lives. Beside those individuals who open their hearts and tell their stories, the documentary also present the most popular composers and singers, from the new generation of brega music. The festival also includes biographies of some influential and interesting musical characters like the father of Brazilian rock, Raul Seixas, and the holocaust survivor Jorge Mautner.
Each screening will open with one of a selection of short films from new Brazilian directors. And to close the festival, on Tuesday the 25th, the Crystal Lens Award will be given to the best film in each category chosen by popular vote.
2012 FESTIVAL LINE-UP
I’LL RAFFLE OFF MY HEART ?FRI 21 Sep 18:20 Brazil/2012 Dir. Ana Rieper 78 min.
Documentary on the Brazilian romantic, and erotic sentimentalism, based on the works of the most important composers of popular corny music, known as brega(cheesy).
CAPTAINS OF THE SAND ? FRI 21 Sep 20:30?Brazil/Portugal 2011 Dir. Cecília Amado 96 min??
Literary adaptation of Jorge Amado’s Captains of the Sand. In Salvador in the 1950s a gang of street kids are committing petty thefts and sophisticated mansion robberies. Abandoned by all, they survive together based on brotherhood. In their boys-only gang, they discover love when a young orphan girl joins them. A year in the life of these kids, in which they are heroes, fly like birds, have wonderful dreams, visit hell, discover sex, love, death and freedom.
MY COUNTRY? SAT 22 Sep 16:30?Brazil/2012 Dir. André Ristum 90 min
??Marcos and Thiago are brothers with a broken relationship. Marcos lives in Europe where he leads a life full of propriety. Thiago lives in Brazil and spends his time wasting his father’s money on nights, booze and women. After their father dies, they are faced with astonishing news: their father had another daughter, a mentally disturbed girl, who has lived in a private mental institute all her life. This new reality leads the brothers into new experiences, forcing them to confront totally new and unexpected situations, which lead to a new and important understanding between them.
TOTALLY INNOCENT? SAT 22 Sep 18:30?Brazil/2012 Dir. Rodrigo Bittencourt 86 min??
Totally innocent, Da Fé believes that he must become the king of the hill to win Gildinha’s love. But the slum where they live is at war because of a dispute between Do Morro and the transvestite Diaba Loira. The situation worsens when the clumsy reporter Wanderlei forges a cover story. Now that all hell has broken loose, the situation is set for a comedy of errors that satirises the favela movie genre..
RAUL ?SAT 22 Sep 20:30?Brazil/2012 Dir. Walter Carvalho 128 min
??This carefully crafted documentary recounts in detail the personal and professional live of Raul Seixas, an icon of Brazilian Rock. Rare archival footage, intertwined with testimonies by relatives, companions and friends are the backdrop of this journey through music and time.
JORGE MAUTNER, THE SON OF THE HOLOCAUST? SUN 23 Sep 16:00? Brazil/2012 Dir. Pedro Bial and Heitor D’Alincourt 93 min??
The story of Jorge Mautner, a visionary who foresaw and made reality the most exuberant landscape of Brazilian music and culture. Mautner is better understood after this film which, from a portrait of the artist as a young man, reveals all the complexity of this person: a musician, poet and pop star as well as the most important philosopher of his generation. Even with a body of work that only improved with the years, Mautner was an outcast for many generations. Jorge Mautner – The Son of the Holocaust is not a documentary; it is an essay on the life of this artist who, in the 20th century, built the Brazilian culture of the 21st century.
TWO BIRDS? SUN 23 Sep 18:00?Brazil/2011 Dir. Afonso Poyart 104 min??
Edgar, a regular guy, develops and executes a complex plan to fulfil his desire to make justice with his own hands. As his plan unfolds with an unexpected turn of events, his real intentions become unclear: Is he seeking justice or redemption?
ROCK BRASILIA? SUN 23 Sep 20:30?Brazil/2011 Dir. Vladimir Carvalho 111 min??
With archival footage shot by Vladimir Carvalho since the late 80s, the documentary concludes a trilogy about the cultural and ideological construction of Brazil’s Federal Capital. It shows how music bands from Brasília – Legião Urbana, Capital Inicial, Plebe Rude – accomplished their dream: reach recognition and success, a dream that followed very closely the utopia that was Brasilia’s construction and the move of the country’s capital from Rio de Janeiro. They belong to the first generation of children of intellectuals, diplomats and politicians that moved to the new capital.??
A LONG JOURNEY ?MON 24 Sep 18:30?Brazil/2011 Dir. Lucia Murat 95 min??
This is the story of three brothers who reach adolescence in the late 1960s. The docudrama is guided by the younger sibling’s story. Heitor is sent to London by his family, worried that he is going to join the struggle for freedom against the Brazilian dictatorship. In the nine years he has travelled around the world, Heitor has regularly written to his family. Interview and letters, combined with off-screen comments from Heitor’s sister, Lucia Murat, who was a political prisoner during the Brazilian dictatorship years, and who has become a renowned artist, extensively travelling abroad, in a process almost the complete opposite to that experienced by her brother.
KINGS AND RATS ?MON 24 Sep 20:30?Brazil/2012 Dir. Mauro Lima 111 min??
Set in 1963 Rio de Janeiro, the film shows how the rumours of a conspiracy affects the lives of those involved in politics at the time. One of them is Troy, a CIA agent living in Brazil, is not sure he is still loyal to his country. With help from his Brazilian sidekick, Major Esdras, he plans to ambush the President, an act that could frustrate the plans for the military takeover.
HEART OF SAMBA? TUE 25 Sep 18:30?Brazil/2012 Dir.Thereza Jessouroun 72 min??
Heart of Samba is a musical documentary about the ensemble that brings life to the worldwide famous Rio de Janeiro Carnival Parade. Focusing on the drums orchestra of Mangueira, the film unveils a tradition unknown by most people. Past and present combine to show the exuberant universe of musicality and passion that exists between samba school and its instruments.
CLOSING FILM ??XINGU? TUE 25 Sep 20:30?Brazil/2012 Dir. Cão Hamburger 103 min
??Three brothers embark on a great adventure. Orlando, Cláudio and Leonardo Villas Boas enlist in the Roncador-Xingu expedition and head out on a trail-blazing mission through Central Brazil. On a journey unlike any other seen before, the Villas Boas brothers manage to create the National Xingu Park.
SHORT FILM LIST:
URBAN JUNGLE FRI 21 Sep 18:20?2011 10min dir. Jorane Castro ?Daisy lives with her family in an island, in the middle of the Amazon jungle. She dreams of crossing the river and going to the city. With her mother’s help, she will try to make this dream come true.
GOD PROTECTS DRUNKS AND CHILDREN FRI 21 Sep 20:30?2012 15min dir. Bernardo Mello Barreto On the streets of Rio de Janeiro, Álvaro and Ronaldo struggle to survive. In order to escape their problems they create an alternative reality.
STARRY DAY SAT 22 Sep 16:30?2011 17min dir. Nara Normande ?In an inhospitable place, a boy and his family fight for survival.
BRASIL BY PERO VAZ DE CAMINHA SAT 22 Sep 18:30?2011 18min dir. Bruno Laet ? Image and sound are 500 years apart. What we hear is the letter that the navigator Pero Vaz de Caminha wrote to King Dom Manuel of Portugal in 1500 recounting the discovery of Brazil. What we see is a contemporary collage. Concepts intertwined that will rediscover 21st century Brazil.
DON’T LEAVE JOANA ALONE SAT 22 Sep 20:30?2012 15min dir. Cecília Engels ?The relationship between Joana and her father is paradoxical.
AFTER THE FALL SUN 23 Sep 16:00?2011 17min dir. Bruno Bini ? A copywriter with a great opportunity, a reluctant call girl, and a father with the daughterhovering between life and death; after the fall, their lives collide.
THE FACTORY SUN 23 Sep 18:00?2011 15min dir. Aly Muritiba ?Visiting day. Lindalva prepares food to her prisoner son. Metruti (the son) shaves and puts on his best clothes. He really needs to make a phone call today and his mother is willing to take the risk and smuggle a cell phone into the penitentiary for him.
BLANK SHEET SUN 23 Sep 20:30?2011 12min dir. Luli Gerbase ?Eric is suffering from writer’s block. Seeking inspiration, he decides to go up to the river. On his way out, he gets stuck on an elevator with his neighbour and a pizza guy. They help Eric to create stories where real and fictional characters come together in a world outside the elevator.
GOD MON 24 Sep 18:30?2011 12min dir. André Miranda ?Chicken needed to die to understand the meaning of life.??
JOÃOZINHO IN THE FLESH MON 24 Sep 20:30?2012 15min dir. Paulo Vespúcio ?Father gathers his family every night around a campfire to tell stories. One of these nights they receive an unexpected visit that makes Joãzinho face his deepest fears.
BULL’S-EYE TUE 25 Sep 18:30?2012 18min dir. Diego Lisboa ?Junca wants to go to school with his new shoes but before he will have to face his father, the bullies in his street and even his own faith.
PHOENIX TUE 25 Sep 20:30?2012 13min dir. Stefano Capuzzi Lapietra ?Three policemen. Three ways to deal with corruption.
For more information, visit: www.brazilianfilmfestival.com
Tickets Adult £10, CONCESSION £8??Box office on 0871 22 44 007 Calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras.??ODEON Panton St, 11/18 Panton Street – London SW1Y 4DP