When I first started looking for films that were shot in Brazil, I was surprised at the severe lack of choice. Brazil is one of the most diverse, cultural places in the world and surely this needs to be immortalised on screen much more than it has? Or maybe I’m just looking in all of the wrong places. However, the films that have been set there are AMAZING, albeit really focused on Rio de Janeiro than anywhere else.
City of God (2002)
City of God has been one of my most favourite films for about 7 years. I had to watch it for my Film Studies A Level and immediately fell in love with it. It’s set in Rio de Janeiro in the 1970s and focuses on the gang culture in the favelas (slums) and how boys are drawn in from a young age. It’s not as dark and dismal visually as it is plot-wise. The vibrancy of the people comes through in the setting and the saturated colours. The characters also have cool street names like Steak n’ Fries, Knockout Ned and Rocket.
Central Do Brasil (1998)
I wrote about Central Do Brasil for my Blind Spot series last year, so if you’re interested in finding out more I would head there first. I think it’s especially important for those of us in the Western world do understand the extreme divides between the rich and poor in big cities like Rio de Janeiro and Sau Paulo. The film is about a literate woman, Dora, working in a train station writing letters for people unable to do so themselves. A mother and her son had recently come to visit Dora when the mother tragically gets hit by a bus just outside the station. Dora reluctantly takes the boy on a long journey across country to take him to his father.
The film digs deep into the realities for a lot of Brazilians and you also get to see more of Brazil than just the inner cities.
OMG I know, I’m sorry. Last month I wrote about Die Another Day (2002) when I talked about Iceland. Before that, I wrote about Octopussy (1983) when I did India. The guy just gets everywhere, I can’t help but mention him. In Moonraker, you can see him riding on Gondolas from Sugarloaf mountain and the film crew even went during the Rio Carnival to get shots of the celebrations.
Other films: The Incredible Hulk (2008), Rio (2011), City of Men (2007)
Have you ever been to Brazil? Do you have any good film recommendations?