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Brazilian Directors

Carlos Diegues ("Cacá)

God Is Brazilian

God Is Brazilian (DVD)
directed by Carlos Diegues
(2002)

This movie, God is Brazilian, is one of the best films of the year. In the story, God wishes to take a break from managing the Earth, and comes to Brazil to find a holy man to replace him for a short time, while he enjoys the stars and alternate universes. God meets several individuals on his "road trip" through Brazil to find this saint, and discusses his views on miracles, death, love, devotion, and faith. However, the movie is a comedy and turns out to be both theologically intriguing as well as "extremely funny" at times. I know of nothing like this film and it far surpasses any American film which tries to take a comical view of theological concerns. I cannot recommend it enough for those interested in religion or comedy. --an Amazon reviewer


Orfeu

Orfeu (DVD)
directed by Carlos Diegues;
with soundtrack by Caetano Veloso
(1999)

Carlos Diegues's Orfeu brings the Orpheus myth (by way of the Vinicius De Moraes play, which also inspired Marcel Camus's gorgeous Black Orpheus) into the modern world of laptops and hip-hop, cell phones and street crime. Orfeu (Toni Garrido), Rio de Janeiro's samba king and a kind of god to his neighbors in the labyrinth of slums on Carioca Hill, is humbled by his love for Euridice (Patricia França), a sweet and stunningly beautiful girl from the provinces. Shot on location at Rio's fiery Carnaval celebrations and on a dynamic recreation of Carioca Hill's slums, Diegues's dazzling mix of musical extravaganza, romantic tragedy, and gangland crime drama drops the myth into the poverty and violence of slum life. The drama gets stifled in silly romantic entanglements, but Brazilian pop star Garrido and lovely França have charisma to burn, and the stunning canvas of exploding color is never less than enthralling. --Sean Axmaker
 

Tieta of Agreste

Tieta Do Agreste (DVD)
Tieta Do Agreste (VHS)
Director: Carlos Diegues
Starring: Sonia Braga
(1995)

Directed by Carlos Diegues, and set in the most beautiful locale, the story and the characters will definately have you smiling throughout. But it is Sonia Braga who carries this film on her lovely shoulders to make it the engaging delight that it is. She turns in an electrifying portrayal of Tieta and her screen presence is mesmerizing. The film is in Portuguese with English subititles. The DVD presents a very nice letterboxed picture and has very good sound in stereo. There is a short featurette on the making of "Tieta" and some filmographies. A nice film to add to your foreign film collection, one that will certainly have repeated viewings. Four stars for this fine Brazilian entry,one of which shines brightly for Sonia Braga!
--an Amazon reviewer


Quilombo

Quilombo (DVD)
Quilombo (VHS)
Director: Carlos Diegues
(1984)

Based on true events, I thought this film was unforgetable. It depicts a charismatic Black leader in 17th century Brazil who persuades the slaves to revolt and move to the uplands to build villages free from contact with the white Portuguese. Another central theme is the contrast between the empty faith of (some of) the missionaries versus the vibrant religion of the tribal peoples. Of course, the idea of resistance to tyranny is depicted in many films; but those things which make "Quilombo" different are the spectacular costumes, paints, music, and dance. The photography of Brazilian landscapes is similarly splendid. Few films are such a treat for the senses. I am delighted that the VHS version was finally converted to a DVD. --an Amazon reviewer


Bye Bye Brazil (VHS)
directed by Carlos Diegues;
with Betty Faria and Jose Wilker
(1979)

(available used)


Xica Da Silva (VHS)
Director: Carlos Diegues
(1976)
 

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