Is the wall to wall Olympics coverage of Rio not enough to quench your need for all things Brazil? Are you in the mood for exciting film fare in Portuguese? The Museum of the Moving Image has you covered. The return of its O Brasil: Contemporary Brazilian Cinema program looks better than ever with an all-female lineup that’s chock full of festival favorites (including a Tribeca title we loved back in the Spring) and audience favorites you should be sure to check out.
The four films featured, which will play Friday evenings in Astoria, present a thriving film industry tackling social issues both old and new in stories that key into the bustling world of Brazil. Whether you want to check out a former MTV VJ’s directorial debut, or see what pop-rock star Thiago Pethit can do in a modern drama, “O Brasil” is sure to deliver. Bonus: anytime you visit the Museum of the Moving Image for a screening you can also check out its exhibitions which currently include “Arcade Classics: Video Games from the Collection” where you can let your inner geek kid run wild. It’s a win-win!
“O Brasil: Contemporary Brazilian Cinema” runs at the Museum of the Moving Image from August 19 – September 9, 2016.
Vera Egito’s film follows three best friends in their 30s: Julia, Micaela, and Diego. All three are navigating the dating world in São Paulo with mixed results: Julia is coping with a breakup, Diego’s partying is drawing him away from his boyfriend, while Micaela keeps trying to involve herself in the life of her actress girlfriend. Tapping into the modern trappings of romance in the 21st century, Egito’s feature captures the vulnerability and strength of her protagonists, testing the limits of their own sibling-like relationship.
Que horas ela volta?
Regina Casé is impressive in the role of a live-in maid, Val, who works for a wealthy family in São Paulo. The arrival of Val’s daughter, whom she has not seen for years, creates a revolution in the household. She calls the boss Bárbara, instead of Dona Bárbara, while both the husband and son fall in love with her. “You’re born knowing what you can and cannot do,” Val reprimands her daughter. She confronts her by putting into question her servitude. The film raises class issues and examines generational gaps. Director Anna Muylaert, who has worked as a film critic and reporter, drafted a thoughtful script and put care into directing the actors, with a big payoff. Que horas ela volta? (The Second Mother) was Brazil’s submission for the 88th Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category.
Nostalgic, sweet, and at moments poignantly funny, Califórnia is a coming-of-age tale about a high school student, Estela, growing up in São Paulo in the 1980s. Estela is doing all she can to get to California to visit her glamorous and cultured uncle. While focused on keeping her grades up, her life is complicated by romance, sex, and social pressures.
After two children are abandoned at the door of a building, bearing a note for a stranger who lives there, the families involved are swept into a whirlwind of profound changes. Kogut, who often works on the border between fiction and documentary, has deliberately set this story of class disparity and personal awakening against the backdrop of Rio’s dramatically and swiftly changing urban landscape.