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.
Tag Archives: portuguese
O Princípio da Incerteza / The Uncertainty Principle (2002) Manoel de Oliveira, Leonor Baldaque, Leonor Silveira, Isabel Ruth, Drama
Se Eu Fosse Ladrão, Roubava / If I Were a Thief… I’d Steal (2013) Paulo Rocha, Norberto Barroca, Márcia Breia, Joana Bárcia, Drama
1920s. Vitalino, a small farmer from São Vicente sees his father die of the epidemic which decimated the country. Some years later, of all the brothers, Vitalino is the strongest and takes his father’s place in the house. But the village is too small for his aspirations and he decides to head to Brazil, leaving his sisters in charge of the household. In parallel with Vitalino’s story, If I Were a Thief… I’d Steal portrays the world of Paulo Rocha rummaging through his films and ghosts over the years.
Rosa de Alfama (1953) Henrique Campos, Alberto Ribeiro, Mariana Villar, Alves da Cunha, Drama, Musical, Comedy
Alberto Ribeiro and Mariana Villar star in a popular melodrama set in Alfama (neighborhood of Lisbon), which tells the story of a young orphan, Rosa, who was picked up by a fisherman family and raised by a widowed father with two sons Renato and José. One day, Renato, seduces and impregnates Rosa, refusing to take responsibility for his actions. And only the greatness and humanity of José, who offers to marry the girl and take the paternity of the child, could save her. Unless the birth of a child will help rescue a life of doom for Renato…
A caixa / Blind Man’s Bluff (1994) Manoel de Oliveira, Luís Miguel Cintra, Glicínia Quartin, Ruy de Carvalho, Comedy, Drama
The battle of the sexes? The forces of despair and seduction? On S. Miguel in the Azores, Rogério, a young man with old money, and his enigmatic wife Leonor host a garden party at their villa. The intriguing guests are an older unmarried couple, the philosophical and observant Irene, and Michel, a roué. While Rogério and Irene talk, Michel and Leonor go down to the sea. The conversations upset Rogério and capture Leonor’s imagination. Five years later, the four dine at the villa. Michel and Leonor again leave the other two. Intentions and undercurrents are subtle. One of the four proves strong, one weak, and two must choose. Wind and rain bring down the curtain on both acts.
O Crime da Aldeia Velha (1964) Manuel Guimarães, Clara D’Ovar, Alma Flora, Lídia Franco, Crime, Drama, Horror
Set in a little remote village, where everyone is very religious and primitive, “O Crime de Aldeia Velha” (The crime of Aldeia Velha) tells the story of Joana, the most beautiful girl in village. She is badly regarded by all other women because they envy her and her affairs with men. As soon as accidents start happening involving her (at some point, she holds an already sick baby and he eventually dies), the women (and slowly, men too) in the village start claiming that she is possessed by the devil. At first,she doesn’t believe it. They ask for two priests to exorcise her, but they leave and say to the people that she isn’t possessed at all, and that people need to relax. But, little by little, they start convincing Joana that she is really possessed and she starts entering a stage of slight madness and behaving like she is. So, people “believing” that she isn’t going to die, and that the demon will leave her body, with her permission, they end up burning her alive…
Adeus, Pai / Goodbye, Father (1996) Luís Filipe Rocha, Afonso Pimentel, João Lagarto, Laura Soveral, Drama
This is the story of father and son who work as clowns Puro Sangue/Valdemar (Paulo Jose) and Pangare/Benjamin (Selton Mello) in a circus which travels through the Brazilian country side. Benjamin is a clown who does not have id or social security number. Going through a phase where he starts questioning his ability to make people laugh and his future, Benjamin decides to follow a different path to find his answers and pursue his dreams: a fixed address and the ideal woman. In the adventure, he meets several people on the way to find his own identity.
Noite Escura / In the Darkness of the Night (2004) João Canijo, Fernando Luís, Rita Blanco, Beatriz Batarda, Drama, Crime
João Canijo latest movie adapts a Greek tragedy “Ifigénia en Aulis” to a provincial Portuguese family that has to deal with the Russian Mafia after a deal went wrong. In a place where everything is bought and sold even the youngest daughter may have to be offered for prostitution to make up for a deal that went terribly wrong. “Noite Escura” deals with the emotions of a small family that runs a provincial whorehouse, having to sell their youngest in order to survive.