There are few parts of the world more cinematically fruitful than Brazil. Throughout the history of film, Brazil has been at the forefront of some of the greatest and most important movements in all of film history. And yet, it’s still, like much of world cinema that isn’t from Europe, a relatively dark continent for much of the film world, especially current releases. However, one great festival is attempting to help not only change that, but bring to light the ever entrancing world that is Brazilian culture.
Known as The Brazilian Film Festival of New York, the festival is now starting its 12th year, and will be running from this June 1-7. Presented by The Inffinito Festival Circuit, the festival will be running at Tribeca Cinemas and Central Park’s Summerstage, and not only is it carrying a great lineup, but this year’s festival will also have a special tribute to legendary composer Vinicius de Moraes, the co-writer of the legendary song “Garota de Ipanema,” in honor of the 100th year since his birth.
But we are here to talk about this lineup, and boy, is it a killer.
Leading the way is the remarkable debut film from director Fernando Coimbra entitled A Wolf At The Door. A festival darling with wins at various outlets like the San Sebastian and Rio de Janeiro Film Festivals the film is an absolute winner, and is easily one of the best films you’ll likely not be hearing about later this year. The best film on the card here is a picture entitled Tatoo, a breathtaking and unforgettable debut from director Hilton Lacerda. A look at the LGBT culture in late ‘70s Brazil, the film is more importantly a decidedly emotional look at love under dires led by a pair of superb performances in Irandhir Santos as a theater troupe leader who falls for a young soldier named Finhina played by the show stealer Jesuita Barbosa. Their chemistry is the strongest aspect of the film, with a very close second being the warm and heartbreaking beauty coming to us from director Lacerda’s camera. It’s a deeply resonant film, and Lacerda paints a lavishly intimate picture that is warm and rich with texture. Think Shortbus but 30 years its junior.
But this is a deep lineup. There are informative and impactful documentaries like the wonderfully made SeeWatchLook, a film that itself blurs the line between fact and fiction in ways that even today we don’t truly see, despite that being something of a trend in today’s documentary cinema, and the talking head world gets a shout out with a fantastic looking at one of today’s great photographers, Sebastiao Salgado, a great, short little film entitled Meeting Sebastiao Salgado.
With short films accompanying many of these pictures, this is a deep and rewarding festival that is a real must check-out if you’re in New York. Here’s the schedule so you can go ahead and do that:
12th BRAZILIAN FILM FESTIVAL OF NEW YORK
Sunday, June 1
6:30pm: ORFEU (Carlos Diegues, Brazil, 1999, 112 min.) Based on the play that inspired Black Orpheus, Orfeu takes place in Carioca Hill, a dangerous favela in Rio de Janeiro. Orfeu, a charismatic and beloved samba musician leads his school each year in the carnival parade, refusing to abandon the slums where he was raised. When Orfeu falls in love Euridice, an girl visiting her aunt in Carioca Hill, he arouses the jealousy of his fiery mistress. The beautiful Euridice does not go unnoticed by Lucinho, a brooding drug lord. Shifting from the unflinching brutality of drugs raids and lynch mobs to the glittering spectacle of carnival. This romantic, dynamic and beautiful film is full of life and energy.
7pm: FIRST DAY ANY YEAR (Primeiro dia de um ano qualquer, Domingos Oliveira, Brazil, 2013, 81 min.) The film begins during the fist day of the year at sunrise and ends with the last sunrays falling on a hillside country house in the outskirts of Rio. The characters, all facing a variety of crisis, come to the realization that life goes on and the world will not end. The film is a touching and funny comedy where many of the characters are seeking the meaning of life.
Preceded by THE CROSS-EYED (O olho e o zarolho, Brazil, 2013, 17 min.) Matheus has two moms. Mom number one goes into a crisis when she sees his drawings. The Cross-Eyed is a fable about the modern family.
8:30pm: SEEWATCHLOOK –WHAT DO YOU SEE WHEN YOU LOOK AT WHAT YOU WATCH? (Seewatchlook, o que você vê quando olha o que enxerga?, Michel Melamed, Brazil, 2014, 79 min. Out of competition) Seewatchlook –What do you see when you look at what you watch? is a documentary on the challenges in creating a show in NYC—the first intended to be seen from the High Line Park. From Brazilian artist Michel Melamed, the film blurs the boundaries between reality and fiction, performers and spectators.
9:30pm: TATTOO (Tatuagem, Hilton Lacerda, Brazil, 2013, 110 min.) Brazil, 1978. The military dictatorship that resulted from a coup in 1964 begins to crumble. The cabaret troupe of artist, Chão de Estrelas, performs in the periphery between two cities in the northeast of Brazil, challenging the power and conventional morality through theatre. Led by Clécio Wanderley, the troupe, supported by its gay audience, intellectuals and other artists, practices political resistance through anarchy and mockery. Wanderley’s life changes when he meets Fininha, née Arlindo Araújo, an 18 year-old boy from the country fulfilling his military service in the big city. This encounter transforms both of their worlds—a rendezvous that remains as permanent as a tattoo.
Preceded by RAZOR’S AGE (Tempo da navalha, Brazil, 2013, 15 min.) Rodrigo needs to travel to a wedding, but he has a problem: he didn’t cut his hair. So he stops at an old and dusty barbershop. The clash of thoughts and the meeting with the old barber makes Rodrigo relive his past and rethink his future.
Monday, June 2
6:30pm: MEETING SEBASTIÃO SALGADO (Revelando Sebastião Salgado, Betse de Paula, Brazil, 2013, 75 min.) Meeting Sebastião Salgado is the first Brazilian documentary about one of the most important and unique contemporary photographers—Sebastião Salgado. The documentary traces the beginning of his career in 1973, the importance of photojournalism in his life, his creative process, his on-the-road lifestyle and his personal life.
7pm: S.O.S. WOMEN OVERBOARD (S.O.S Mulheres ao mar, Cris D’Amato, Brazil, 2014, 94 min.) Adriana boards a cruise ship determined to win her ex-husband back. She plans to sabotage his honeymoon with a young and gorgeous TV starlet during their trip from Rio to Venice. Adriana’s partners in crime are her sister, the unpredictable boy crazy Luiza, and Dialinda, a maid who pretends to be a successful businesswoman in order to meet a rich man. These three women cause trouble aboard the ship, eventually finding new routes for their own lives. S.O.S Women Overboard is an unforgettable romantic comedy with hilarious characters filmed in stunning locations such as Rio, Rome and Venice.
Preceded by PALEOLITO (Ismael Lito and Gabriel Calegario, Brazil, 2013, 6 min.) A caveman and his sidekick, Paleolito, take on the nearly impossible mission of hunting down an ill tempered Mammoth.
8:30pm: RIO OF FAITH – A MEETING WITH POPE FRANCIS (Rio de Fé – Um encontro com o Papa Francisco, Carlos Diegues, Brazil, 2013, 85 min. Out of competition.) Rio of Faith – A meeting with Pope Francis, directed by Carlos Diegues, is a documentary about the World Youth Day held in Rio de Janeiro from July 23–28, 2013 that gathered nearly 3.7 million young people from all over the world. This event marked Pope Francisco’s first trip abroad since assuming the papacy March of last year. The event was an unforgettable experience for everyone – catholic or not. The film shows the confluence of the marvelous city of Rio de Janeiro, the Church, the pilgrims, the Favelas and other religions.
9:30pm: THE INVISIBLE COLLECTION (A coleção invisível, Bernard Attal, Brazil, 2013, 89 min.) Beto divides his time between partying and working jobs without prospects. After the death of his friends in a car accident, he returns to the financially precarious family business. To solve the financial bind of the antique shop, Beto travels to the Brazilian countryside in search of a collection of rare drawings. There he meets Samir, a collector, and his family that were ruined by the demise of the cacao plantations. The journey and encounter will irrevocably change the young man’s soul.
Preceded by CASIMIRO EFFECT (Efeito Casimiro, Clarice Saliby, Brazil, 2013, 15 min.) The true story of the most important and unknown Brazilian UFO event that took place in the quiet city of Casimiro de Abreu in 1980.
Tuesday, June 3
6:30pm: SEEWATCHLOOK WHAT DO YOU SEE WHEN YOU LOOK AT WHAT YOU WATCH? (Seewatchlook, O Que Você Vê Quando Olha O Que Enxerga?, Michel Melamed, Brazil, 2014, 79 min. Out of competition)
7pm: TATTOO (Tatuagem, Hilton Lacerda, Brazil, 2013, 110 min.)
Preceded by GRACE (Graça, Brazil, 2013, 15 min.) Grace is a synchronized swimmer facing the limitations of her own body. Under water she dives into her innermost self.
8:30pm: NEVER TOO OLD TO MEOW (Gata velha ainda mia, Rafael Primot, Brazil, 2013, 90min.) Gloria Polk, a decadent, bitter, old writer, decides at last to grant Carol, a young journalist who lives in the same apartment building, an interview about her return to literature after a long break. The film about women, growing old, the maddening creative process, and difficult relationships slowly turns into a suspenseful thriller with a surprise ending.
9:30pm: FIRST DAY ANY YEAR (Primeiro dia de um ano qualquer, Domingos Oliveira, Brazil, 2013, 81 min.)
Preceded by TALES OF THE TIDE (Contos da maré, Douglas Soares, Brazil, 2013, 18 min.) Urban legends mixed with memories of a family and the place where they live. A tale of wolves, sows, pigs and a slum.
Wednesday, June 4
6:30pm: RIO OF FAITH A MEETING WITH POPE FRANCIS (Rio de Fé – Um encontro com o Papa Francisco, Carlos Diegues, Brazil, 2013, 85 min. Out of competition)
7pm: A WOLF AT THE DOOR (O lobo atrás da porta, Fernando Coimbra, 2013, 100 min.) Set in Rio de Janeiro, A Wolf at the Door is the nerve-rattling tale of a kidnapped child and the terror of the parents left behind. When Sylvia discovers her 6 year-old daughter has been picked up at school by an unknown woman, police summon her husband Bernardo to the station for questioning. There Bernardo confesses his extra-marital affair with Rosa, whom detectives believe to be involved in the kidnapping. Inspired by real events, Brazilian filmmaker Fernando Coimbra’s debut feature captures the heightened anxiety of every parent’s worst nightmare, casting a light upon the cruelties of which humans are capable.
Preceded by GRANDPA’S RAZOR (A navalha do avô, Brazil, 2013, 23 min.) Jose’s life is changing. His grandson begins to realize.
8:30pm CITY OF GOD – 10 YEARS LATER (Cidade de Deus 10 anos depois, Cavi Borges and Luciano Vidigal, Brazil, 2013, 70 min.) City of God – 10 Years Laterinvestigates the fate of the actors who participated in the award winning film, directed by Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund. This documentary shows the different results of the worldwide success of the film City of God, in the life of each one of them. Were they or weren’t they prepared for success? Were the social conditions of some of them stronger than the opportunity they had?
9:30pm: THE DOGNAPPER (Mato sem cachorro, Pedro Amorim, Brazil, 2013, 121 min.) Deco is a thirty-year old slacker. His only true accomplishment was getting Zoé, a young and ambitious radio producer, to date him. But after a while, Zoe unwilling see Deco rot away in front of his computer dumps him, taking full custody of their dog, Guto. Deco, fueled with resentment towards his ex and her new Fabio-type lover, decides to get up off his couch and take action for the first time in his life.
Preceded by THE BURNING (A Queima, Diego Benevides, Brazil, 2013, 13 min.)
In the mythical universe that permeates sugarcane plantation, amongst mysterious traditions relating to the burning of crops, Macário appears to stop the fire, three days prior to the burning.
Thursday, June 5
6:30pm: MEETING SEBASTIÃO SALGADO (Revelando Sebastião Salgado, Betse de Paula, Brazil, 2013, 75 min.)
7pm: NEVER TOO OLD TO MEOW (Gata velha ainda mia, Rafael Primot, Brazil, 2013, 90 min.)
Preceded by SHARK (Tubarão, Leo Tabosa, Brazil, 2013, 13 min.) An audiovisual take on the difficulties a foreigner must endure to adjust to his new life.
8:30pm: VINICIUS (Miguel Faria, 2005, 122 min.) The documentary follows the life, work, family, friends and loves of Vinicius de Moraes, author of over 400 poems and 400 songs. Through rare archive material, interviews, and the performance of many of his classics, the documentary looks at the creative essence of the philosopher and the transformations of Rio de Janeiro.
9:30pm: S.O.S. WOMEN OVERBOARD (S.O.S Mulheres ao mar, Cris D’Amato, Brazil, 2014, 94 min.)
Predeced by SYLVIA (Artur Ianckievics, Brazil, 2013, 17 min.) Sylvia is a young black woman who works as a street vendor in Londrina – Brazil. Most of her free time is spent in a boxing gym where she befriends Nathalia. Their relationship takes a toll when circumstances put the girls on opposite sides of the law.
Friday, June 6
6:30pm: CITY OF GOD – 10 YEARS LATER (Cidade de Deus 10 anos depois, Cavi Borges and Luciano Vidigal, Brazil, 2013, 70 min.)
7pm: THE INVISIBLE COLLECTION (A coleção invisível, Bernard Attal, Brazil, 2013, 89 min.)
Preceded by JESSY (Paula Lice, Ronel Jorge and Rodrigo Luna, Brazil, 2013, 15min.) Jessy. That was the name of all of Paula Lice’s childhood characters. As an actress and playwright, Paula will need the help of godmothers to bring Jessica back to life and fulfill Paula’s wish to become a drag-queen.
8:30pm: THE DOGNAPPER (Mato sem cachorro, Pedro Amorim, Brazil, 2013, 121 min.)
9:30pm: A WOLF AT THE DOOR (O lobo atrás da porta, Fernando Coimbra, 2013, 100 min.)
Preceded by MEMORIES OF MAURA (Lembranças de Maura, 2013, 16 Min.) At the age of eight, Alice moves with her parents to their grandmother’s home who suffers from a degenerative disease. In this unfamiliar environment Alice will have to learn to adapt to this new reality.
Saturday, June 7
7pm: Awards Ceremony, followed by concert by Toquinho at Central Park’s Summerstage.
All films in Portuguese with English subtitles
All screenings at:
Tribeca Cinemas – 54 Varick Street (at Laight St.)
Tickets: $10 / BRAFF NY VIP Passes: $150 (Grants Access to ticket holder to all films an VIP area for SummerStage event)
For more information visit: www.inffinito.com