THE screening of four award winning Brazilian films started last Thursday at the German Cultural Centre (Goethe Institut) here in Dar es Salaam.
This is the third time consecutively that this institute and the Brazilian embassy have teamed-up to screen films during the month of September.
All four productions were made between 2005 and 2008. When opening the event, the Head of the Brazilian Embassy’s Cultural Section, K rishna Monteiro, expressed his joy and extended invitation to all those interested in “watching good films”.
He also referred to the screenings as being “an excellent opportunity” for stakeholders in the local film industry to try to catch, at least two screenings.
“We hope to bring Brazilian movies closer to our host country, where film and cinema is appreciated.
This movie festival attempts to go beyond the traditional image of Brazil, which is known worldwide for beautiful things, like Samba and football.
However, Brazil is much more than that. One way that we can go beyond this is to use the Brazilian cinema to show the complexities of Brazilian society,” Monteiro explained.
The Goethe-Insitut’s Director, Frank Werner, told the ‘Daily News’ by coming there for the third year consecutively shows that the Brazilian Embassy trusts they’re guaranteed to get a good “well-educated cultural” audience.
Therefore, this presents a win-win situation for both of them. They, at the Institute get the chance to screen “wonderful films” and the embassy, the audience.
In reply to the question with regards to the oddity of a German establishment screening Brazilian films, Werner was quick to reply that they’re not here only to present German culture.
It’s all about dialogue, exchange and creating a platform for people to meet and enjoy culture from everywhere, he suggested.
He also referred to Germany as being a multicultural country, which has a good strong and lively Brazilian community there. It was also revealing to hear what the resident Brazilian Ambassador, Antonio Cesar had to say concerning what they benefit from screening films for local audiences.
He pointed out that not many Brazilian films reach this part of the world. Therefore, the “little resources” at their disposal, he maintains, can be used to “fill a little of this gap” and promote films that were successful in Brazil from an artistic and commercial point-of-view.
“Brazilian cinema has sort of been flourishing in the last 20 years,” Ambassador Cesar added. “There are many interesting productions from which we tried to select a collection that has a little mix of different things.
This year we have two films, which can be called biopics. F irst of all, we want to show the quality of our movies, given our grounded interest in screening good movies.
We consider it a bonus when these films help portray the artistic and social complexities of our country’s society,” he further explained.
Actually, it was after the local Brazilian Embassy had celebrated their 197 Independence Day anniversary, last Wednesday evening, that they opened this, their “Third Brazilian Movie Month” (TBMM), the following evening.
The opening film, to kick-off the event was Director, Ricardo V an Steen’s 99- minute Drama “The Samba Poet”, starring Rafael Raposo, Camila Pitanga and F lavio Bauraqui.
Van Steen’s dramatisation of the rise and fall of Brazil’s legendary singer-composer, guitarist and mandolinist, Noel Rosa, has gathered seven awards and eight nominations from national and international film festivals, since its release in 2006.
The film brings to the screen a middleclass white youngster, Noel, who is studying to become a doctor, prefers the friendship of blacks from the other side of the tracks, factory girls and hookers.
While moving between declarations of love and samba duels “the irreverent Samba Philosopher”, as he has been referred to, sidesteps his professors, family and even the police, to live an intense artistic life, in 26 years.
As is often the case with biopics, it was not always possible for a viewer to know where the plot was going.
However, according to members of the audience spoken to after the screening, there were “some great moments”, when the film really shined as a biopic, period piece. All praised the cinematography and found the music to be “first class”.
Amongst those spoken to was the local primary school teacher Caroline Minja, who had attended the Brazilian Independence Day celebrations the previous evening and, so thought it best to complete her exposure of the South American country by coming to the screening.
Despite leaving the venue with a number of questions, she was pleased that she had come because it left her with a richer insight of Brazilian society than she had come with.
Unlike Minja, the locally- based electrical consultant, Narendra Tulshi, had already developed the habit of coming to Thursday evening’s screenings at the Centre.
The attraction for him is finding it a pleasant environment to relax in. He was impressed with “The Samba Poet” and praised the director for finding a good way of presenting the story, which according to him had good acting and story line.
Tulshi acknowledged that although the leading character, Noel Rosa, had such an unfortunate, high speed lifestyle, his contrasting loving and pleasant character did come out in the production.
Unfortunately, this is too often the case with highly talented people, Tulshi pointed, as was the case with such former musicians, as Jimi Hendricks.
As if to bring something in contrast to “The Samba Poet”, this Thursday’s screening by Director F ernando Meirelles, is a 2008, 121-minute Drama- Mystery-Science-F iction, entitled “Blindness”.
This also has been promised to be an equally promising to watch, having collected 15 wins and 20 nominations since its release.
This film’s leading actors are Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore, who have already made some imprint in Hollywood.
Next week’s screening brings Director Breno Silveira’s 2005, 132-minute Biography- Drama, “Two sons of Francisco”.
This film made headline in two international festivals and gathered more than one award in each of them.
This biography of the most prominent Brazil folk music, is amongst its most successful in the last two decades and 2005’s leading box office draw there.
To close this year’s Third BMM, this coming September 26, the embassy has chosen “My name ain’t Johnny” by Mauro Lima.
This 2008. 124-minute Biography- Crime-Drama, box-office hit, narrates the true story of Joao Guilherme Estrella.
The upper-middle-class man from Rio-de-Janeiro, became the head of drug traffic in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s there.
He was eventually caught, sent to prison and after rehabilitation became a successful musician and music producer.