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12th Brazilian Film Festival of New York: 5 Films Not to Miss

12th Brazilian Film Festival of New York: 5 Films Not to Miss

In a couple weeks soccer fans will set their sights on the South American country. Just before the ball starts rolling, there is an opportunity to see a
different form of Brazilian expression off the field. The 12th
Film Festival of New York will screen a varied selection of features
and shorts, which provide a concise but powerful look at the state of
the country’s
cinema and the issues that intrigue its filmmakers. Being Brazil a
country in constant transition, the films also bear the array of
concerns and
experiences that define the current Brazilian society. Revisiting the years of the
dictatorship, touching on environmental problems, or simply focusing on
the lives of
regular citizens, this selection of films continues to present
unique Brazilian visions that transcend their local contexts to offer engaging stories to international audiences. Presented Inffinito Festival Circuit the festival runs June 1 -7 at Tribeca Cinemas. These are some of the highlights

A Wolf at the Door 

Dir. Fernando Coimbra

A marvelously calculated mystery ignited by a woman’s disenchanted with
her unlawful romantic relationship. Passion that evolves into maniacal
obsession is
rarely compelling on its own, but in this slow-burning drama the
subtle exposition hides a shocking conclusion. When a young girl is
kidnapped from her
school, the investigation to find her reveals the terrifying shades
of evil that hide under benevolent actions. Astutely written to drag the
viewer through
the story several times until the gruesome truth is unveiled, this is
one of the best Brazilian films to reach American shores in recent
years. Leandra Leal’s performance as Rosa is chillingly nuanced, definitely a highlight of this
extraordinary debut by writer/director Fernando Coimbra. If you only see one film at the festival,
this is the one to choose. Full review coming soon.


Dir. Hilton Lacerda

Sexual liberation and political rebellion went hand in hand in Brazil
during the late 70s. Opposing a repressive dictatorship that tried to
marginalize them, a group of LGBT theater artists known as
“Start-Spangled Floor” performs satirical and sexually explicit numbers
that mock the government
in a sophisticated fashion. At the center of the irreverent songs and
extravagant costumes is the romance between the group’s leader Clécio (Irandhir Santos) and a young soldier, Fininho ( Jesuita Barbosa) who struggles with his sexuality. Interestingly arranged to serve both as a
coming-of-age story and an experimental quest for justice, Tattoo
is a visually inventive work that capitalizes on its vibrant ensemble
cast. They give life to a group of misfits who advocate for love,
pleasure, and the abolishment of ownership – even that of a monogamous

The invisible Collection

Dir. Bernard Attal

After serendipitously escaping an accident that kills all of his
friends, Beto (
Vladimir Brichta), a young womanizing DJ, is faced with an insufferable
guilt that pushes him
to change his life. Needing to make money by new means, he decides
to go in a quest to find several rare art works sold by his father – an
art dealer – to
an eccentric collector in the countryside many years ago. Underneath
the utterly familiar premise of a fish-out-of-water trying to rediscover himself,
there are interesting ideas about class and environmental
devastation. In his relentless mission to obtain these valuable items
for his personal gain, Beto
will be faced with an unexpected twist that will test his ability to
feel compassion for others.

Meeting Sebastião Salgado

Dir. Betse De Paula

Part activist, part photographer, but 100% globe trekker, Brazilian
economist turned artist Sebastiao Salgado revisits his adventurous
career via the
images he captured. In this extensive conversation, the lover of the
light discusses subjects that range from the tyrannical government that
ruled Brazil
in the past, adapting to extreme weather around the world, and how
the new digital technology has affected his creative process. More than a
documentary about his life, the film is simply crafted as a
conversation with Salgado intercutting some of his most memorable photographs.
Although not
incredibly revelatory, the film does a great job at showcasing his work and highlighting his unique journey.

Rio of Faith

Dir. Carlos Diegues

This docu-diary encapsulates the 2013

World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro. The event brought thousands
of Catholic teens from every corner of the planet eager to receive a
message of hope
from Pope Francis. Following the pilgrimage of these devoted
young men and women, one learns of the diverse motivations and perspectives all of
which connect in one place. A crucial element is the fact that
the filmmaker includes the voice of the LGBT and atheist community in
the conversation.
Their conflicted relationship with a religious institution that
has often exclude them is important to understand the place of Catholicism in today’s world. Surprisingly, the film is less about the Pope as an omnipotent figure, and more about the youth that still considers religion as the best path to navigate their complex modern lives.

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