Today: February 29, 2024

London Brazilian Film Festival

Anyone who told you that money cannot buy you happiness, one look at the smug face of The Stones’ guitarist Ronnie Wood as his heavenly 31-year old girlfriend, model/ actress Ana Araujo took to the stage to introduce the night’s proceedings will tell you differently. Not that anyone was actually listening to the Brazilian hot babe’s pigeon English as those magnificent, perfectly formed breasts

By Marcia Degia

Opening Night, Tuesday 6th September

Anyone who told you that money cannot buy you happiness, one look at the smug face of The Stones’ guitarist Ronnie Wood as his heavenly 31-year old girlfriend, model/ actress Ana Araujo (main pic) took to the stage to introduce the night’s proceedings will tell you differently. Not that anyone was actually listening to the Brazilian hot babe’s pigeon English as those magnificent, perfectly formed breasts, cling-filmed in lycra, literally popped out at you. (Yes, we’ve gone there!) Ah, the cynic in you has already concluded that it will never last but apparently they’ve been at it for as long as, um, five months.

And so, to the event itself. The London Brazilian Film Festival kicked off last night with a bang. In the three short years, the festival has come a long way from making its debut in the cornerstone of Hammersmith to being housed in BAFTA, one of the most prestigious film institutes of the land.

As befitting of the venue’s regular patrons, the festival attracted a sophisticated crowd, seasoned press and a smattering of low-key celebrities such as Tamsin Greig (Tamara Drewe). No rent-a-celeb here – the people in attendance were strictly those who love film. Incidentally, we found ourselves sharing a table with the handsome actor Stephen Billington, more known for his television roles of late, one of which won him the accolade of the British Soap Award Villain of the Year after kidnapping ol’ Sally Webster off Corrie!

The slick video introduction of the upcoming films showed a plethora of movies – features, docs and even short films. Features such as Henrique Dantas’ documentary The Sons of João, and Eduardo Vaisman’s 180° are among the highlights, as chosen by the likes of City of God director Fernando Meirelles and distributor Bianca de Felippe. The programme also includes the Crystal Lens Award Ceremony, for Best Feature Film chosen by the audience, and a WFTV (Women in Film and Television) tribute to producer Paula Barreto.

Shorts featuring but not competing include Alessandra Colasanti and Samir Abujamra’s The True Story of the Ballerina in Red, Robert Guimarães’ Cake, Christopher Faust’s Beard Boy, Bruno Vianna’s Little Ball Satellite, Augusto Canani’s The Bizarre Friends of Ricardinho, Cesar Cabral’s animation Storm, Heraldo Cavalcanti’s The Hours’ Home, Caue Nunes’ 3X4, and Daniela Santos’ One Night. All highly stylized – and of course straight out of Brazil.

The opening night film was Claudio
Torres’
Man from the Future (above photo). Think adult/ Brazillan version of Back To
The Future – full of laughs and many twists and turns to keep the audience
hooked until the end. (Rating 4/5)

You may not get to meet Ana Araujo (tipped
to be the next Bond Girl) but it’s certainly worth checking out the rest of the
festival. For more information go here. And if you can’t make it, watch out for FilmJuice Events Editor Heidi Vella’s daily updates and Tweets!

(Oh, and check out our massive Logo on the
screen loop before each film. FilmJuice is well proud!)


Wednesday 7th September

By Heidi Vella



The second packed night of the 3rd Brazilian Film
Festival in London kicked off with tongue-in-cheek mocumentary short, The True Story of the Ballerina in Red,
directed by Alessandra Colasanti and
Samir Abujamra. It is about a ballerina
who steps out of an Edgar Degas canvas, has a jolly good time as a celebrated
celebrity, dating everyone from Picasso to Warhol until she finally goes
missing at the Rio carnival.
Director Colasanti, who was in attendance, explained how he filmed in
New York, Rio and Paris, mostly without permission, using actors and people he
met on the street.

Next up we were enchanted by the magnificent Uruguay
countryside in Beyond the Road
directed by Charly Braun. A
nostalgic road movie of love and discovery featuring stunning architecture, 35
millimetre camera work and sumptuous images of nature. Santiago, an Argentine,
sets out to find some land he inherited by his parents. Instead he meets
Juliette, a free spirited Belgium, also on her own journey. The subtle nature
and beauty of Uruguay and his budding relationship are contrasted with
Santiago’s champagne quaffing lifestyle signalling a possible new chapter in
his life.

One of the unusual things about the Brazilian Film Festival
is film goers get to vote for each film out five, the scores of which will
determine the winners at the end of the festival. The above were awarded two
well deserved fours from us. Also, showing the night was short The Cake and Head Over Heels, both of which drew a big crowd. The highlight of
the night, however, had to be seeing FilmJuice’s logo proudly displayed on the
big screen. We’ll be back again for more tonight.

Thursday 8th September

By Heidi Vella

Third night in and we’re still loving the Brazilian film
festival, although with all the lovely land and cityscapes we’ve seen we are currently
fighting off the urge to jump on a plane straight to South America.

In another rammed night at Odeon, Covent Garden we managed
to grab a seat at Como Esqueeer’s
drama about love and loss entitled, So
Hard to Forget
. Uptight Julia, who is played by popular Brazilian TV
actress Ana Paula, is trying to come
to terms with the loss of her partner. In doing so she moves from the city to a
seaside home with two friends – both of whom are coming to terms with their own
personal losses. It’s full to the brim with symbols and references to Emily
Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, which mirrors the intense loss of love Antonia is
experiencing. Esqueeer was on hand to dissect her second film. She explained
that she chose to adapt this story, which was originally a book, after
experiencing loss herself, stating that she offers no cure for overcoming bereavement
in her film but that it is something you simply learn to live with. It was
refreshing and touching to see a female director on stage and especially one
with such passion and time for discussing her work. Another resounding four
from us! We can’t wait to see how it fares when the awards are handed out on
Saturday.

Also showing last night was 180 degrees and the Sons of
Joao. Again, we’re looking forward
to heading back tonight!

Friday 9th September

By Heidi Vella

Yesterday, as we headed to the second to last night of the Brazilian festival we were particularly excited. The prospect of viewing guns brash gangster movie, Boca, was the reason for our barely contained enthusiasm. After two very worthy films about love and self discovery we were looking forward to a change of gear offered by Flavio Frederico’s adaptation of the autobiography of ‘The King of Boca do Lixo’, a red light district in Sao Paulo, or Hiroito, as his mother named him. Written while serving a decidedly lenient – considering his crimes – seven year sentence during the late 1960s. Hiroito was an infamous prostitute and drug loving gangster who owned brothels and ran a drug cartel. Daniel de Oliveira – who was due to attend the festival last night but was unable to because of a late flight – depicts Hiroito’s idiosyncrasies convincingly, bringing this rather geeky looking gangster alive on the screen. Oliveira will be there tonight if you also saw the film and, like us, are desperate to see what he looks like without Hiroito’s magnifying trade mark glasses. Also showing last night was Eliza and VIPS. Sadly tonight is the festival’s grand finale’ and it’s expected to be a good one, so if you can’t make it tune in to our blog for all the gossip tomorrow.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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