The Making of The Flawless Elis & Tom in Restored 4K

By 04 November, 2023

The documentary film Elis & Tom (2022, in Portuguese: Elis & Tom – Só Tinha De Ser Com Você) follows the making of a landmark album in Brazilian music by Elis Regina and Antônio Carlos “Tom” Jobim.

Rare 16mm images filmed during the recording of the album Elis & Tom (1974) in Los Angeles are masterfully edited by João Wainer alongside new and archive interviews with many who were involved in the creation of the album, such as André Midani, then director of Polygram records in Brazil and Cesar Camargo Mariano, arranger, musician and Ms Regina’s husband at the time.

Since its release nearly 50 years ago, the album has gone on to receive international acclaim, but the film shows us it nearly didn’t happen due to creative differences between the younger musicians, then in their late 20s, and Mr Jobim, who was already established worldwide as one of the masterminds behind Bossa Nova.

Before delving into the tensions which resulted in an album deemed flawless by many music critics, screenwriters Roberto de Oliveira –who also directed a feature film with Jom Tob Azulay– and Nelson Motta cleverly remind us who Tom Jobim and Elis Regina were, and of why the latter invited the former to participate in this project, which celebrated ten years of her career as a recording artist.

Both musicians were revered during their prolific careers, continuing to inspire artists and impact audiences decades after their passing: Regina has 3M and Jobim has 4.2M monthly listeners on Spotify — as a comparison, the well-established singer and composer Marisa Monte, who’s still putting out new music, has 2.7M listeners per month on the same streaming service.

The images, beautifully restored in 4K, along with the excellent sound editing and mixing are strong evidence of the talent and eventual chemistry amongst those involved in the project — especially the trio Regina, Jobim and Camargo Mariano.

Much has been said over the years about the making of this album, but nothing resulted quite as powerful as this documentary. Being able to see these musical geniuses bringing such remarkable music to life, with the perspective of nearly half a century since the masterpiece Elis & Tom, the documentary an indescribable treat. One which is sure to renew and expand Elis Regina’s and Tom Jobim’s fandoms.

The film was released in the US in September this year. UK release date TBA.

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