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12th Brazilian Film Festival of New York: 5 Films Not to Miss

Festivals
by Carlos Aguilar
June 2, 2014 1:30 PM
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In a couple weeks soccer fans will set their sights on the South American country. Just before the ball starts rolling, there is an opportunity to see a different form of Brazilian expression off the field. The 12th Brazilian Film Festival of New York will screen a varied selection of features and shorts, which provide a concise but powerful look at the state of the country’s cinema and the issues that intrigue its filmmakers. Being Brazil a country in constant transition, the films also bear the array of concerns and experiences that define the current Brazilian society. Revisiting the years of the dictatorship, touching on environmental problems, or simply focusing on the lives of regular citizens, this selection of films continues to present unique Brazilian visions that transcend their local contexts to offer engaging stories to international audiences. Presented Inffinito Festival Circuit the festival runs June 1 -7 at Tribeca Cinemas. These are some of the highlights

A Wolf at the Door 

Dir. Fernando Coimbra

A Wolf at the Door

A marvelously calculated mystery ignited by a woman’s disenchanted with her unlawful romantic relationship. Passion that evolves into maniacal obsession is rarely compelling on its own, but in this slow-burning drama the subtle exposition hides a shocking conclusion. When a young girl is kidnapped from her school, the investigation to find her reveals the terrifying shades of evil that hide under benevolent actions. Astutely written to drag the viewer through the story several times until the gruesome truth is unveiled, this is one of the best Brazilian films to reach American shores in recent years. Leandra Leal’s performance as Rosa is chillingly nuanced, definitely a highlight of this extraordinary debut by writer/director Fernando Coimbra. If you only see one film at the festival, this is the one to choose. Full review coming soon.

Tattoo

Dir.

Hilton Lacerda

Tattoo
Sexual liberation and political rebellion went hand in hand in Brazil during the late 70s. Opposing a repressive dictatorship that tried to further marginalize them, a group of LGBT theater artists known as “Start-Spangled Floor” performs satirical and sexually explicit numbers that mock the government in a sophisticated fashion. At the center of the irreverent songs and extravagant costumes is the romance between the group’s leader Clécio (Irandhir Santos) and a young soldier, Fininho ( Jesuita Barbosa) who struggles with his sexuality. Interestingly arranged to serve both as a coming-of-age story and an experimental quest for justice, Tattoo is a visually inventive work that capitalizes on its vibrant ensemble cast. They give life to a group of misfits who advocate for love, pleasure, and the abolishment of ownership – even that of a monogamous relationship.

The invisible Collection

Dir.

Bernard Attal

The Invisible Collection
After serendipitously escaping an accident that kills all of his friends, Beto (

Vladimir Brichta), a young womanizing DJ, is faced with an insufferable guilt that pushes him to change his life. Needing to make money by new means, he decides to go in a quest to find several rare art works sold by his father – an art dealer – to an eccentric collector in the countryside many years ago. Underneath the utterly familiar premise of a fish-out-of-water trying to rediscover himself, there are interesting ideas about class and environmental devastation. In his relentless mission to obtain these valuable items for his personal gain, Beto will be faced with an unexpected twist that will test his ability to feel compassion for others.

Meeting Sebastião SalgadoDir.

Betse De Paula

Meeting Sebastião Salgado

Part activist, part photographer, but 100% globe trekker, Brazilian economist turned artist Sebastiao Salgado revisits his adventurous career via the images he captured. In this extensive conversation, the lover of the light discusses subjects that range from the tyrannical government that ruled Brazil in the past, adapting to extreme weather around the world, and how the new digital technology has affected his creative process. More than a comprehensive documentary about his life, the film is simply crafted as a conversation with Salgado intercutting some of his most memorable photographs. Although not incredibly revelatory, the film does a great job at showcasing his work and highlighting his unique journey.

Rio of Faith

Dir.

Carlos Diegues

Rio of Faith
This docu-diary encapsulates the 2013 World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro. The event brought thousands of Catholic teens from every corner of the planet eager to receive a message of hope from Pope Francis. Following the pilgrimage of these devoted young men and women, one learns of the diverse motivations and perspectives all of which connect in one place. A crucial element is the fact that the filmmaker includes the voice of the LGBT and atheist community in the conversation. Their conflicted relationship with a religious institution that has often exclude them is important to understand the place of Catholicism in today's world. Surprisingly, the film is less about the Pope as an omnipotent figure, and more about the youth that still considers religion as the best path to navigate their complex modern lives.


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