By Pedro Souza, Staff Writer
September 26, 2015
The Brazilian film industry is highly underrated. Although few national movies have become popular internationally, Brazilian movie directors has been releasing solid films for decades. We have compiled a list of some of the best for you to enjoy.
Cidade de Deus (City of God)
If you have never been to Brazil but have heard of a Brazilian movie before, it is probably Cidade de Deus. Directed by Fernando Meirelles, this movie is a harrowing tale about a slum known as Cidade de Deus in the beginning of the 80s. The movie tells the story of many characters from the point of view of Buscap, an aspiring photographer that has to face the grim reality of living in an environment where the only choice seems to be between semi-slave labor and crime. It is through his perspective that we come to understand the humanity that exists in a world ravaged by constant violence. Those that intent to watch it without subtitles should be aware that the heavy use of slangs make it a hard movie to understand. But with our without subtitles, this is a must watch if you want to get into Brazilian cinema.
O Auto da Compadecida (A Dogs Will)
Based on a work of Brazilian writer Ariano Suassuna and directed by Guel Arraes, many consider this the best Brazilian comedy every made. The protagonists of the story are two friends that live in the village of Tapero in the state of Paraba called Joo Grilo (Jack the Cricket) and Chic. Grilo is a liar, Chic is a coward and they are both poor. The movie chronicles their adventures as they get into all sorts of shenanigans, whether looking for work, tricking people or trying to get Chic a girl. The movie plays with stereotypes from the northeast of Brazil, and at the same time offers a humorous criticism of the misery that the region still faces nowadays. It is also hilarious from beginning to end, with many unforgettable scenes. If you are feeling adventurous and want to watch it without subtitles be warned: like Cidade de Deus, it is quite hard to understand due to the heavy northeastern accent and use of regional expressions.
O Que Isso Companheiro? (Four Days in September)
In 1969, the United States ambassador to Brazil Charles Elbrick was kidnapped by members of the Revolutionary Movement 8th October (MR8) and Ao Libertadora Nacional (ALN), two left-wing guerilla groups that fought against the military dictatorship. Their intention was to trade Elbrick for 15 political prisoners, most of them guerilla fighters as well. This film, directed by Bruno Barreto, is a thriller that tells a fictional version of the event. Loosely based on a memoir written by Fernando Gabeira, a Brazilian politician who was one of the kidnappers, it is a truly fascinating account from the time Brazil lived under a dictatorship engaged in a constant fight with guerilla groups and other “subversives”. This movie, which was nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, is a must watch for those that want to have a better understanding of that period, as well as for those that simply enjoy watching a good thriller.