Archive for the ‘Brazil’ Category

The Great SXSW 2010 Preview Dump: 24 Beats Per Second

March 11, 2010

Closely paired with the SXSW music festival as it is, seems only fitting that the Film Festival dedicates a swathe of programming to films about music. If writing about music, though, is like dancing about architecture, than making a movie about music is like building a novel. To help you chew over that little pensee, here’s a celluloid mixtape highlighting the ethno-funk of David Byrne, the poison pen of Magnetic Fields, the rock ‘n’ roll riot of Tehran, the continental drift of Broken Social Scene and the prune juice of Levon Helm. Click on the titles for trailers where available.

Read our SXSW Headliners Preview.
Read the first part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read our SXSW Narrative Features Competition preview.
Read our SXSW Documentary Features Competition preview.
Read the first part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read the second part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read our SXSW Lone Star States preview.

Ain’t in It For My Health: A Film About Levon Helm

With Robbie Robertson gone Hollywood and both Rick Danko and Robert Manuel plucking harps, it’s up to drummer Helm to shoulder The Band’s cosmic Americana spirit. This EPK highlights the creation and promotion of Helm’s acclaimed 2007 album Dirt Farmer. The irascible coot spices the brew with stories from the frontlines of addiction, pestilence and bankruptcy. Directed by Jacob Hanley Hatley.

Beyond Ipanema – Brazilian Waves in Global Music

Brazil often seems like America’s reflection on the other side of the equator. The two countries have enjoyed an uneasy cultural relationship where we give them Homer Simpson in return for Joao Gilberto. Guto Barra’s tuneful documentary charts the musical exchange, from the early days of Carmen Miranda and her fruit basket titfer to Talking Heads’ promotion of the tropicalia movement led by Caetano Veloso. Formerly known as Beyond Ipanema – America’s Love Affair With Brazilian Music.

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Berlin 2010 Preview: Panorama Main/Special, Part 2

February 5, 2010

The Panorama section takes in a wide swathe of both independent and international productions which deserve a few more eyeballs cast in their direction. There’s plenty in this year’s line-up to merit attention. A Japanese courier goes on the run after a bomb blast, a miracle-working vagabond raises some hell, Dostoevsky goes Moroccan and families across Europe suffer the fallout of secrets and lies. For afters, there’s even a hermaphrodite road movie. What’s German for “fasten your seatbelts”?

Read the first part of our Berlin Panorama preview.
Read the first part of our Berlin Competition preview.
Read the second part of our Berlin Competition preview.

Fucking Different São Paulo

In the fourth installment of the LGBT-friendly series, male directors take on lesbian stories and female directors tell of gay lives in Brazil’s largest city. Like all portmanteau films, it’s literally a grab-bag. Through a variety of genres that includes animation, the directors tackle all-girl rock bands, long-term relationships, and friends turned lovers.

Goruden Suramba (Golden Slumber)

Director Yoshihiro Nakamura and author Kotaro Isaka have enjoyed a fruitful collaboration that includes 2009’s Fish Story. The Japanese team’s latest is about a courier who goes on the run after he becomes a prime suspect in a political assassination. Put-upon star Masato Sakai won a Blue Ribbon for his role in 2008’s Climber’s High.

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Berlin 2010 Preview: Panorama Main/Special, Part One

February 5, 2010

According to the program notes, Berlin’s Panorama section is meant to present “an overview of trends in art-house world cinema.” That’s shorthand for “this is where we put stuff we like, but which is unlikely to attract the attention of a Competition film.” The films found in the Main and Special programs highlight international and independent productions in need of wider distribution. This year’s batch includes India’s first legally gay film, a Brazilian action film and Kevin Spacey moving in with his daughter. Read to the end, because there’s a trick in this line-up’s tail. Click on the titles to see trailers.

Read the first part of our Berlin Competition preview.
Read the second part of our Berlin Competition preview.

Arekti Premer Golpo (Just Another Love Story)

A gay director and his bisexual cameraman learn that it’s hard to make a documentary in Calcutta. Star Rituparno Ghosh is better known as a director, having won the National Film Award for Unishe April. According to director Kaushik Ganguly, this is the first gay picture to be shot in India after the decriminalization of homosexuality.

Amphetamine

A straight fitness trainer named Kafka and a gay businessman have a fraught affair. This is the second film in a stylish autobiographical trilogy by Hong Kong IT-whiz-turned-filmmaker Scud (Permanent Residence), which also starred model Byron Pang.

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Rotterdam 2010 Preview: Bright Futures, Part 2

January 20, 2010

The second half of the Bright Futures slate at this year’s Rotterdam International Film Festival is dominated by homecomings. Documentary filmmakers go back to their roots to perform their investigations into history both personal and political. Sometimes it’s the dislocation which throws the contradictions of society into sharp relief. With all this brow-furrowing going on, it’s a relief to find some old stand-bys like the British comedy of embarrassment and a coming-of-age-among-the-tulips tale. The IRFF runs between January 27 and February 7. Oxygen tents will be available after the screening of The Sentimental Engine Slayer.

Mijn Enschede

The pitch: In 2000, the Dutch city of Enschede was ripped apart by a deadly fireworks factory explosion. Native filmmaker Astrid Bussink revisits the scene.
There’s still some fallout? It’s a personal journey of sorts. Bussink left the city the day the factory blew up. Since then she’s won awards for short documentaries like The Angelmakers and brought her first feature, The Lost Colony, to Rotterdam in 2008. Living within spitting distance of the memorial, the film filters the question of who’s to blame through her efforts at understanding.

Nuit Bleue

The pitch: Another story of return. Corsica is seen through the eyes of a homecoming expat, which reveal its patriarchal social structure and beautiful landscape.
I’ll book my vacation soon. It’s not all Lonely Planet eye-candy. Artist Ange Leccia has branched out into film to experiment with sound. There’s no dialogue anywhere in the film.
Immersive! The notes, however, do promise Serge Gainsbourg’s “Ne dis rien” on the soundtrack.
That’s funny. In the Bright Futures sidebar, you take your laughs where you can find them.

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Rotterdam 2010: Bright Future Premieres, Part 1

January 20, 2010

The Rotterdam Film Festival has a reputation for supporting the work of new filmmakers through the Hubert Bals Fund. The Bright Future sidebar focuses on directors making their first or second film. Too bad nobody took the title very seriously. Features and documentaries alike this year tackle dead serious issues while also bending the limits of their respective genres. In the first part of our sidebar preview, the curriculum includes Brazilian gentrification, African genocide and baby fever gone bad. The IRFF runs between January 27 and February 7. No razor blades or exhaust pipes will be allowed in the theatre.

Avenida Brasilia Formosa (Defiant Brasilia)

The pitch: A Recife neighborhood is relocated to make way for a coastal motorway.
The evils of gentrification, eh? Gabriel Mascaro’s film is closer to a portrait of the transplanted barrio. Mixing fact and fiction, the changing ‘hood is seen through the eyes of a videographer waiter and his clients.
Any shooting? Only the filmic variety. The subjects include a little boy who wants to be Spider-Man and a girl who is applying to be on Idolos Brazil.

El camino entre dos puntos (The Way Between Two Points)

The pitch: An oil worker in Patagonia lights out for the territory, where he witnesses the struggle between man and nature.
Does he turn into a blue alien smurf? Nope. This is the first feature from video artist Sebastian Diaz Morales, whose work has been described as “filmic narratives embracing stories that sometimes resemble science fiction, sometimes with certain catastrophic overtones, and in which there is an ever-present common denominator of a minimalist narrative style wherein the camera is always moving and in which the characters virtually function as metaphors for a story that goes beyond the anecdote to reveal problems of great scope in current society.”
Phew! Like I said, does he turn into a blue alien smurf? The results look closer to a combination of There Will Be Blood’s celebration of imperialism with the badlands of No Country for Old Men. But let’s move on, shall we?

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Trailerama: Avenida Brasilia Formosa (Defiant Brasilia)

January 9, 2010

An entire neighborhood was moved to make way for the Brasilia Formosa coastal road. This mixture of documentary and drama looks at how the relocation has affected residents as diverse as a toothless fisherman and a girl aspiring to be on Idolos Brazil. Gabriel Mascaro’s film is due to premiere at this year’s Rotterdam Film Festival.

Trailerama: Beyond Ipanema – America’s Love Affair with Brazilian Music

November 25, 2009

He who is tired of Brazilian music is tired of life. When the bug bit America, it bit bad. Carmen Miranda became an international star. Orson Welles lost himself in the fleshpits of Rio. The tropicalia movement inspired Talking Heads’ David Byrne and a host of indie rockers. Guto Barra‘s documentary pays lip service to all the cultural exchange stuff, but like the best Brazilian bop, this is a film that encourages the audience to think with its hips.

Trailerama: Besouro

June 30, 2009

The vagabond capoeira fighter Besouro Manganga died when he was only 27, but that was enough time to establish a legend that made him Bahia’s very own Robin Hood. João Daniel Tikhomiroff’s film doesn’t worry too much about getting the facts straight. Instead, the high-flying Besouro struggles against The Man in a manner that suggests he’s the missing link between Enter the 36 Chambers and Black Belt Jones.