One of the fast-growing Brazilian religions, a mix of African traditions and Catholicism, Umbanda is frequently misunderstood and despised. Check this selection of documentaries that shed some light – maybe not enough – on one of the pillars of Brazilian religiosity.
1- Brazilian Spirituality, a basic intro from Global Village Travel Guide:
2 – National Geographic visits two mediums in the Amazon in their daily activities and dilemmas: trying to help a woman who wants her husband killed and another who believes an evil spirit is causing her many health issues. The narrator says they are umbandistas – but I suspect this is rather candomblé, closest to the African origins.
3 – Brazilian TV show Globo Repórter translated the documentary O Poder do Machado de Xangô, produced by the French television somewhere in the late seventies. It was coordinated by Pierre Verger, the photographer that went deep into Brazilian-African culture, and it is probably the best documentary ever made about this topic. Unfortunately, it has no subtitles and I couldn’t find the French version online. This is the first part:
4 – Para Ver a Umbanda Passar shows how Umbanda is practiced in the Southern state of Paraná. On the beach, the community celebrates Iemanjá, the beautiful orixá of the seas. Again, no subtitles.
5 – Na Rota dos Orixás, produced by Pólo de Cinema e Vídeo do Distrito Federal, tells the Black Diaspora story. Of course, religion plays a big part in it. It is pretty great – check the opening “dialogue” between Brazilians and Africans. In Portuguese, no subtitles. This is the first part:
Check also this other post here at Deep Brazil: Iemanjá, the queen of the seas