Today: July 16, 2024

Brazilian Film Festival Review

British and Brazilian audiences, alike, gathered at Piccadilly Circus for the opening of the second annual London Brazilian Film Festival. The event, in partnership with BAFTA celebrates the best of the country’s film industry with a series of screenings accompanied by appearances the people that made them possible.

British and Brazilian audiences, alike, gathered at Piccadilly Circus for the opening of the second annual London Brazilian Film Festival. The event, in partnership with BAFTA celebrates the best of the country’s film industry with a series of screenings accompanied by appearances the people that made them possible.

Brazilian Film Festival Of LondonThis rare look into the country’s cinema also brings with it MarketPlace London, an event that allows professionals from both English and Brazilian audiovisual sectors to coerce with the intention of forming co-productions between both countries.

Over the course of the week, Inffinito Festival Circuit presents ten offerings from Brazilian contemporary cinema from literary adaptations to comedies at the BAFTA venue, whilst the Southbank Centre houses six musical documentaries creating a diverse insight into Brazil’s popular music scene. The festival ends its second year with the presentation of the Crystal Lens Award to the best film selected by the local audience.

On the opening night audiences accompanied the likes of Sir Ben Kingsley to a special screening of Lula, The Son of Brazil; a biopic of the country’s last president Lula da Silva based upon the adaptation of Denise Paraná’s novel. Followed by a discussion with producer Paulo Barreto, the story of a man’s struggle to leadership had many Brazilian viewers openly weeping at the depiction of the steel workers strikes that affected many families at the time.

An emotional start to the festival accompanied by a moving and honest Q&A with its producer, and sister, to the director Fábio Barreto motioned that this event will enjoy another successful year and hopefully another step into the British market.

Brazilian Film Festival Of LondonWhen the name Lula is mentioned to international audiences, some may be able to identify him as Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, president of Brazil with a history of rebellion and some questionable allies. The story of Lula, The Son of Brazil takes us past that face and strips him down to a child, mapping his journey through the past thirty years and pausing to reflect upon the events and decisions that made him the public figure he is today.

Set mainly against the backdrop of the steel worker’s strike of industrial Brazil, da Silva strives as the voice of the deprived to change the face of the country he has watched turn against him. The product of a broken home and the subject of great loss, this is a man who lays his demons to rest through improving the lives of others.

A major factor on his upbringing and the driving force of Lula’s determination is mother Dona Lindu (Gloria Pires) who lifts him away from his drunken father and proves a resilient shoulder for a troubled son to lean on. She also drives the narrative of the film, nudging Lula unto the next phase of his life and teaching him the sacrifices made for dignity. The rest of the ensemble of character seem to fade in out with the exception of da Silva’s first and second wives, allowing the focus to settle on the development of this national figure. When asked why the story ends at the beginning of Lula’s presidential campaign, producer Paula Barreto explains that everyone knows him only from when he came to power and not how he got there. “As producer I felt this was a good story to tell.”

Director Fabio Barreto pieces Lula’s life together poetically, making use of Brazil’s derelict, sometimes violent sometimes gorgeous habitat to lay Lula’s life against. The score is thoughtful and the pace at which we pass through the various stages of his life, although at times rushed still manages to give the viewer time to appreciate a boy growing up and what he is growing into.

For his big screen debut Dias does a fine job of embodying the troubles and victories of a young man set for greater things. As he shouts himself to tears in one of the final scenes of The Son of Brazil you feel like a supporter of this man and you desperately want him to succeed. This may also be the picture’s biggest flaw. As the latest in a string of presidential biopics to transcend the globe Lula is not the first fall prey to becoming branded a tribute to its subject. It is however obvious from the absence of certain events both during the film and in its final conclusion that Barreto wants only to favour this man instead of making him subjective to audiences who no doubt are aware of his mistakes.

That said, the manner in which Brazil as a nation is handled during this time is done so honestly and sympathetically, making a travesty of the small intake this film received upon it’s opening weekend (overshadowed enormously by James Cameron’s big blue blockbuster) given that it would undoubtedly speak to a lot of home audiences.

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia, who has worked in the media industry for more than 20 years, is the Publishing Editor of KOL Social Magazine. See website:

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