By 05 August, 2010

This is a poetic re-telling of the life of Vinicius de Moraes, the poet and lyricist responsible for songs such as “Garota de Ipanema”, “Chega de Saudade” and “A Felicidade”. Forming the film’s spine, along with archive footage and various talking heads are scenes from a smoky, late-night club where the narrators Camila Morgado and Ricardo Blat purr their way through readings of his poetry and introduce new interpretations of his songs. By framing his work in this manner they make it seem as if it was intended for the bourgoisie; for Rio’s intelligentsia.

It’s an over-romanticism that also extends to how they interpret his life. Wives come and go – 9 of them in total – and each time they are solely referrred to as fresh content for his songs. It’s a sign of Vinicius’s popularity in Brazil that he his able to make so much promiscuity and infidelity (he would often be with his next wife while still married to his last one) seem like a positive choice. That it was necessary to be filled with the joy of new love and to have such vitality of life in order to write his songs. This is at least how it’s portrayed in the film. The only area of his life which receives some criticism is his alcoholism, but then this did kill him.

It’s a shame that the producers decided on this idealistic vision of his life as the research put into the film is fantastic. The footage of Vinicius and Baden Powell performing their afro-sambas, of Vinicius and Tom Jobim discussing booze and all the scenes of Vinicius at home or relaxing with friends are priceless, as well as the interviewees, especially Chico Buarque, who manages to be extremely erudite and funny at the same time.

The life of Vinicius de Moraes is infinitely interesting. Through his songs, which are equally regarded as poetry and songcraft, he continually showed the potential of modern song, effectively shaping the way in which Brazilian music has evolved over the past 50 years. Despite some of its short-fallings this film does get this message across and leaves you filled with admiration for the body of work this man has produced (even if some of his life choices left me feeling slightly perplexed).

Follow Sounds and Colours: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Mixcloud / Soundcloud / Bandcamp

Subscribe to the Sounds and Colours Newsletter for regular updates, news and competitions bringing the best of Latin American culture direct to your Inbox.