Mueda was a massacre. The name is that of the village in Northern Mozambique where in 1960 it took place. The Portuguese colonial regime did the killing. In independent Mozambique, those inhabitants of Mueda who survived regularly re-enact the massacre in situ. They themselves play the roles of victims, assassins, and spectators. Ruy Guerra, now a Brazilian but born in Lourenço Marques (now Maputo, the capital of Mozambique), filmed this extraordinary creation of liberated popular culture, intercutting it with first-hand interviews on the massacre. The mix is compelling, and the grave yet joyous spectacle unique.
Tag Archives: portuguese
Abril Despedaçado / Behind the Sun (2001) Walter Salles, José Dumont, Rodrigo Santoro, Rita Assemany, Drama
The Brazilian badlands, April 1910. Tonho is ordered by his father to avenge the death of his older brother. The young man knows that if he commits this crime, his life will be divided in two: the 20 years he has already lived and the few days he has left to live, before the other family avenges their son’s death. He is torn between fulfilling his ancestral duty and rebelling against it, urged by his younger brother Pacu. That’s when a tiny traveling circus passes through the vast badlands where Tonho’s family lives.
A Religiosa Portuguesa / The Portuguese Nun (2009) Eugène Green, Leonor Baldaque, Francisco Mozos, Diogo Dória, Drama
O Leão da Estrela / The Estrela’s Lion (1947) Arthur Duarte, António Silva, Milú, Maria Eugénia, Comedy, Romance
Anastacio, a football fan supporting the Sporting Club, meets the Baratas while on vacation with his family. They make friends and when Anastacio, his wife and two kids decide to travel from Lisbon to Porto to attend the Invicta/Sporting soccer game, The Baratas invite them in their home. What they do not know is that Anastacio is not a nouveau riche like them and when Juju, Anastacio’s daughter falls in love with Eduardo, the Baratas’son, things get complicated…
A Falecida / The Deceased (1965) Leon Hirszman, Fernanda Montenegro, Paulo Gracindo, Ivan Cândido, Drama
In the suburb of Sampaio, Zulmira visits a fortune teller (Madame Crisálida) who advises her to be careful with a ‘blonde woman’. When her unemployed husband, Toninho, returns home she tells him about what Madame Crisálida had to say, and guesses that the “blondie” might be her neighbor and cousin Glorinha. However, in their boring life, soccer is the relief valve of the mediocre. Toninho that is actually worried about the final soccer game of the “Carioca” (from Rio de Janeiro) Championship where his team Vasco will play against Fluminense. He does not pay much attention in his wife. Zulmira develops a morbid fixation and goes out into the rain where she catches pneumonia, forcing Toninho to promise her a dream funeral, upon her death.
Guerra Conjugal / Conjugal Warfare (1974) Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, Lima Duarte, Joffre Soares, Carmem Silva, Comedy
Durval Discos / Durval Records (2002) Anna Muylaert, Ary França, Etty Fraser, Isabela Guasco, Comedy, Drama, Music
Durval and his mother Carmita live at the back of “Durval Discos”, a record store they own in São Paulo, specializing in vinyl records. They lead a boring and unattractive life, until the day Durval hires a maid, Celia, to help his mother with the housekeeping. However, on her second day, Celia goes away leaving a 5-year-old child behind, Kiki, and a note promising to be back in a couple of days. Durval and Celia are charmed by the child at first, but soon they see some sad news about Celia and Kiki on TV that will change the whole situation.
Julio Bressane turns his sensual, color-filled set pieces to “Cleopatra,” a highly stylized look at the Queen of the Nile that plays like an avant-garde opera, with arias replaced by the lyricism of the Portuguese language. Largely following the writings of Plutarch, Bressane concentrates on Cleopatra’s struggle for a Hellenistic Egyptian identity independent of the Romans.
Atrás das Nuvens / Behind the Clouds (2007) Jorge Queiroga, Nicolau Breyner, Ruben Silva, Sofia Grilo, Drama, Family, Fantasy
Jorge Queiroga’s magic realist drama Behind the Clouds concerns young Paulo, a little boy bereft of his father, whose widowed mother ardently refuses to grant him permission to meet his paternal granddad. When Paulo reaches the age of 10, he expressly defies his mother’s orders by making a secret journey to his grandfather’s home, in a remote part of the country. Once there, he finds a fantastic invention: a little red car with the ability to take him soaring high into the clouds, and the added ability to send him spiraling backward in time. Alas, Paulo’s grandfather grows increasingly distraught over the time travel element, and in the process, Paulo arrives at some sobering and disillusioning realizations about the mystery surrounding his clan.
Quilombo de Palmares was a real-life democratic society, created in Brazil in the 17th century. This incredibly elaborate (and surprisingly little-known) film traces the origins of Quilombo, which began as a community of freed slaves. The colony becomes a safe harbor for other outcasts of the world, including Indians and Jews. Ganga Zumba (Toni Tornado) becomes president of Quilombo, the first freely elected leader in the Western Hemisphere. Naturally, the ruling Portuguese want to subjugate Zumba and his followers, but the Quilombians are ready for their would-be oppressors. The end of this Brave New World is not pleasant, but the followers of Zumba and his ideals take to the hills, where they honor his memory to this day. Writer/director Carlos Diegues takes every available opportunity to compare the rise and fall of Quilombo with the state of affairs in modern-day Brazil.