Last night a group of cinema lovers and enthusiasts of Brazilian culture showed up at the Brazilian Embassy for the fourth DMovies screening this year. Previous titles included the off-kilter Batguano (Tavinho Teixeira, 2014), the provocative Dead Girl’s Feast (Matheus Nachtergaele, 2011) and Rat Fever (Cláudio Assis, 2011). Rat Fever was followed by a debate on sexual freedoms and anarchy, with Brazilian member congressman Jean Wyllys, BFI Flare‘s programmer Brian Robinson and professor of cinema studies Lucia Nagib – click here in order to see a video of the debate.
In Neighbouring Sounds (2012), the then debutant filmmaker Kleber Mendonça Filho explored the dull urban cacophony that ties together middle-class neighbours in Recife to outstanding results. The New York Times voted it one of the top 10 films of the decade.
Unlike other Brazilian films such as City of God (Fernando Meirelles, 2002) and Elite Squad (José Padilha, 2007), Mendonça Filho chose not to denounce violence and corruption in a graphic and tantalising manner. There is no armed gun fighting, car chases, electrifying music and sadistic murders in Neighbouring Sounds. Yet the film is at times excruciating to watch: the violence and the corruption here are much more subtle, yet no less powerful. They slow their ugly face in events so banal in Brazil that they hardly cause any commotion: a car radio being stolen, a juvenile delinquent forced down a tree and beaten up by the local security staff.
Kebler Mendonça Filho’s second film Aquarius was part of the official competition of the Cannes Film festival earlier this year. The film’s crew protested at the steps of the Promenade against against the recent political developments in Brazil by holding signs that said “Stop the Coup in Brazil” and similar messages, an event that attracted international media attention. There are rumours that the film will premiere in the BFI London Film Festival in October, so stay tuned for the programme in early September
Click here in order to read DMovies‘ five-splat review of Neighbouring Sounds.
The last session of DMovies at the Brazilian Embassy will take place on August 31st, with the audacious Neon Bull (Gabriel Mascaro, 2015). The film, which has never released in the UK, before portrays the naked and raw life of Brazilian vaqueiros (cowboys) in rich graphic and sensorial detail.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Hayle Gadelha, Fernanda Franco, Andrzej Pierce and everyone else at the Brazilian Embassy for their continuous support.