The Best Brazilian Films of 201014 December, 2010
For a rundown of the Best Brazilian Films of 2010 we couldn’t think of anyone better to make those crucial choices as Adam from Eyes on Brazil. His blog, which filters through the web, finding the most interesting stories about Brazil, is always a delight to read for anyone interested in Brazil and its culture. Here are his selections for the Best Films from Brazil this year:
400 Contra 1 (400 Against 1) is based on a book of the same name written by Willima da Silva, one of the heads of the Red Command, Brazil’s largest criminal organization. After robbing banks, da Silva goes to prison on Ilha Grande, near Rio. There, he makes friends with like-minded people and upon escape, they form the Red Command.
The film focuses only on the early years and takes viewers on a “joy ride” full of bank robberies and prison riots, framed within Brazil’s military dictatorship. 400 Contra 1 is best either as pure entertainment or as a first step towards understanding how Brazil might have been in the 70’s and 80’s.
Chico Xavier focuses on the biography of a famous spiritual medium and author who wrote more than 400 books (mostly through channeling spirits). The setting and the timeframe are an added bonus for those who like a bit of history.
It’s a fine film that is nicely-shot and worth seeing. One can imagine that Chico’s life really was as the film portrays it. Though I personally take Chico’s ‘powers’ with a grain of salt, the medium is ultimately shown as a kind and humble person whose only wish was to help others.
Historias de Amor Duram Apenas 90 Minutos (Love Stories Last Only 90 Minutes) is a light-hearted romantic comedy about a guy who lives with his girlfriend but falls for her new friend. He ends up having to sneak around and keep secrets, trying to have the best of both situations.
I liked this film for its levity and youthful nature and for the fact that it deals with a guy who is about to turn 30 and feels the pressure to make something of his life. The two main actors are a real-life couple and actually do live together.
[You can read our review of Historias de Amor Duram Apenas 90 Minutos HERE]
Lula: O Filho do Brasil (Lula: The Son of Brazil) is a biographical film about Lula’s life before he became president. It shows his childhood and rough family life and his later rise in the worker’s unions of São Paulo.
The story is more humanistic than political and while I thought it was on par with other such Brazilian films (like 2 Filhos de Francisco) of merit, I’ve encountered negative reviews from Brazilians who have seen it. I suppose this is due to the film being a positive portrayal of a president they already know rather than a something with a more balanced view.
[You can read our review of Lula: O Filho do Brasil HERE]
Nosso Lar (Our Home) is based on a book by Chico Xavier and shows us how life after death might be in a spiritual world where souls go (if they are lucky enough) to heal before they are reincarnated. The story follows Doctor Andre Luiz as he dies and is shown the error of his humanly ways once he reaches the afterlife.
This is one of the highest grossing films in Brazil this year and was probably helped along by the success of Chico Xavier several months prior. Cinema is supposed to take the viewer away, to make them suspend their disbelief and that’s just what Nosso Lar does (thanks to the R$20 million budget, the largest in Brazilian cinematic history).
Deserving of Mention – Along with Nosso Lar, the other highly popular film this year is the recently-released Tropa de Elite 2 (Elite Squad 2), though I have yet to see it. [However you can read our article about Elite Squad 2 HERE]
Adam is a writer and a researcher who has studied Brazilian culture for the last decade and blogged about all things Brazilian for the last two and a half years at Eyes On Brazil (http://eyesonbrazil.com).
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