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Spike Lee's 'Go Brazil, Go!' Will Tackle Race Problem + May Debut At Cannes 2014 + Pics

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by Tambay A. Obenson
February 13, 2013 6:21 PM
10 Comments
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It's been almost a year since I last wrote about this upcoming project from Spike Lee - a feature documentary titled Go Brazil, Go!, which will focus on the rise of that country (on the move, particularly politically and economically) on the international scene, as one of the BRIC countries, an acronym that refers to Brazil, Russia, India and China, all gradually shifting global economic power away from the so-called long-dominating developed G7 economies. It is estimated that BRIC economies will overtake G7 economies by 2027, as the balance of power gradually shifts.

From 2011 to 2012, in terms of GDP (gross domestic product), Brazil overtook both France and the UK, making it the world's 6th largest economy.

To be included in the documentary, which we first told you about in March 2012, are interviews Spike will have with former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and artists like Gilberto Gil, Jorge Ben Jor, Chico Buarque and soccer icon Pele.

Spike was also to visit the headquarters of the Afro-Reggae NGO known for offering opportunities through music to favela kids, where he planned to hold interviews as well; also on his list were Brazilian actors, as well as community leaders in São Paulo & Rio de Janeiro, and much more.

It was said that his plan was to have the documentary ready in time for the 2014 World Cup, which will be hosted by Brazil, in May of that year. So, we've got another year to go.

And as I noted then... some black Brazilian bloggers weren't too thrilled with the idea of the project, based on what had been revealed at the time; specifically, worries that the film will be more of a video travel brochure for the country, and won't really focus on the country's eep social and racial inequities where Afro Brazilians are concerned; concerns that are rarely addressed. 

Maybe today's news might ease the minds of those folks. As of our last post, last May, Spike said that he planned to go back to Brazil four or five times more, to continue gathering footage, through this year.

And he was just there (he may still be there); according to his Twitter page, he was there yesterday. It's Carnaval season, and he's apparently been interviewing, meeting, speaking, and shooting since last week Friday, the 8th.

Of note, according to reports on Brazilian news outlet Atarde (translated by the Black Women of Brazil blog), Spike has been vocal with criticism of the lack of black Brazilians in positions of power in the country, and his return to Brazil this time around is, in part, to address the racial discrimination question. So, while the film will most certainly have as a central focus, the country's advances on the international scene, it will also, as Atarde states, "delve deep into the contradictions of a country that has as a principal feature, the diversity of races."

And, by the way, Atarde also states that the film will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014, in May, just in time for the start of the World Cup, on June 12, 2014.

And assuming it does debut at Cannes, the film is expected to be released in theaters in Brazil first, which makes sense.

I haven't read much commentary from Spike on the project; unless I just missed one of his Twitter explosions; I'm sure he's been well aware of the chatter that's been happening around the film - especially by the Afro Brazilian community, who I'm sure will be watching the film with an unwavering critical eye when it's released next year.

The Brazilian government approached him to make the film by the way; I wonder what their selection process was... or maybe he was their guy from the get-go. 

I came across these still photos (above and below) from the film shoot; something to tie you over until we get to see some footage. The images are courtesy of photographer Vincent Rosenblatt. There are plenty more where these came from HERE.

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10 Comments

  • CLAYTON BROOMES JR | February 20, 2013 12:25 PMReply

    Eu não posso esperar para ver isso.

  • Zeech | February 16, 2013 12:19 PMReply

    There is nothing complicated about Brazil, the Diaspora in the US know what's up, coz the Caste System was written about since... well 1950 something is the date of my mother's book Living is Easy where Dorothy West uses the term Brahminism, which still amazes me for the time. My mother is Caribbean (mixed but NOT confused) and knows about caribbean caste system as the plantation way of keeping control when we are the majority. As Umar Johnson (Disapora in America) says it's about White Supremacy and caste consciousness is a child of that.
    The disgusting thing in Brazil like many of our latino caribbean countries is, you will find people who will hate Africans but steal all their flavour in food, dance, spirituality, music etc but ONCE they arrive in the US (which is ALL our dreams in truth) will SUDDENLY start calling themselves 'Black this and that' - I'm including disgusting members of my family here.
    NOW SPIKE gets all this caste system BS which Brazil like Cuba etc preach, I know he does I just watched School Daze from 1988!!
    So I doubt these 'reservations' from Afro Brazilians, sure it's not red brain dead massa not circulating these stories, if it's true all ANY Brazilian need do is check School Daze, to know the kinda plantation power system that brazil, like the rest of us is (except Argentina but them)

  • getthesenets | February 17, 2013 7:16 PM

    @Zeech

    my understanding that the casta system existed in Spain/Portugal before any conquistadors set foot in this hemisphere.

    There was "race mixing" in Iberia because of the centuries long domination by the Moors and the castas developed in period after North Africans left but before portugal and spain got involved in the slave trade..... they imported it with them to the western hemisphere

  • jeftcg | February 14, 2013 1:46 AMReply

    This is good news: a story that needs to be told. Spike excels at documentary filmmaking; he should consider producing docs his full time gig in place of the narrative feature, a medium he has yet to master. That (at least) three of the worst narrative features theatrically released in the history of all negro movies came from this man speaks volumes ("She Hate Me", "St. Anna", and the baffling awful "Red Hook Summer".) Mama said knock you out, Spike! Well, back to my job at the post office, and definitely not the movie biz! La di da..................

  • MT | February 17, 2013 6:16 PM

    A "medium he has yet to master"?....You ever heard of "Do The Right Thing"?...Baffling that those in "definitely not the movie biz" can denegrate one of the most prolific Black filmmakers in history....Every celebrated filmmaker has made SOME films that were not successful....Can't we "stick to the script" and the topic?

  • Poe | February 13, 2013 10:19 PMReply

    Afro Brazilians are a beautiful people, but they are also a complicated one as well. It isn't only racial discrimination alone. It is also intra-racial discord based on skin color. The latter being used often to drive a wedge among Afro Brazilians. I am looking foreward to see his documentary.

  • Kai Lutterodt | February 13, 2013 8:17 PMReply

    I've been in Brazil for two months, neddless to say, Brazil is beautiful but sadly racial discrimination (in whatever term people choose to put it i.e "classism") is eveident. Please check out my blog post "A lighter shade of Black..." http://travelmakerkai.wordpress.com/2013/02/13/go-brazil-go-spike-lee-documents-on-brazil/

    Also I just posted an article + pictures on my blog after meeting Spike Lee the other day during carnival in Bahia. Please check it out.
    http://travelmakerkai.wordpress.com/2013/02/13/go-brazil-go-spike-lee-documents-on-brazil/

    Thanks!
    Kai

    travelmakerkai.wordpress.com

  • Lia | February 13, 2013 6:32 PMReply

    It sounds interesting... It's time for someone to address the racial discrimination in Brazil! Can't wait to see it!

  • starry118 | February 14, 2013 7:19 PM

    I agree ... definitely looking forward to this.

  • Run2006 | February 13, 2013 6:26 PMReply

    He did an excellent job w/New Orleans. This was one should be just as good.

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