All posts by Regina

Tragicomic film translations

a mulher que morreu duas vezes“Vertigo”, the Hitchcock masterpiece with James Stuart and Kim Novak, had its title translated as “A Mulher que Viveu Duas Vezes” (The Woman that Lived Twice) in Portugal – a massive, humongous spoiler. Also, I heard more than once that Portuguese christened “Psycho”, another Hitchcock’s, as “O Assassino era a Mãe” (The Killer was the Mother), an even worse spoiler, but I suspect this one is pure urban legend.

Ah, the bizarre mistranslations cinephiles have to endure!  These are my two favorites:

  • At some point, in the Spanish version o “Pixote”, the 1980s Brazilian classic about homeless kids, someone says that one of the children’s mom lives “en la sombrereria” (a literal translation of “na casa do chapéu“, an expression that means “really, really far away” in Portuguese). So, the translator understood that the lady lived in a hat shop. Later, in the same movie, a transvestite boy asks the main character if he thinks they might have a better future. In the original, Pixote says, no, we are doomed, while in the subtitles he says something like: “sure, Lilica, I am sure we will have a bright future”. This one was certainly a volontary mistranslation that intended to give the scene a more cheerful tone.
  • In the Brazilian translation of “Au Revoir les Enfants”, by Louis Malle, a war story where a Jewish boy hides in a French boarding school, another kid offers him a ham sandwich which the Jewish boy refuses. “Jambon” (ham in French) was translated as “geléia” (jam), destroying the logic of the scene. Continue reading Tragicomic film translations

Brazilian batucada around the world

Batucada in Paris. Photo by Melanie M/ Flickr
Batucada in Paris. Photo by Melanie M/ Flickr

Batucada, the joyful, noisy, fast pace percussive ensemble, capable of speeding up one’s pulse, is gaining the world. You can watch performances of local batuqueiros from Birmingham to Singapore. Check here how very different cultures interpret this African Brazilian tradition.

in Kobe, Japan (Bloco Feijão Preto)

Continue reading Brazilian batucada around the world

Study reveals the personality of Brazilian soccer teams

Flamengo's blazon by George Vale/Flickr
Flamengo’s blazon by George Vale/Flickr

If the main Brazilian soccer teams were people, Corinthians and Flamengo would be a brave and joyful youngster, while Botafogo and São Paulo would be reliable, polite, sophisticated middle aged men.

GfK, an important market research specialist, interviewed 1.000 Brazilians in 12 major cities for the study “Patrocínio de Futebol e Personalidade de Marca” (Soccer Sponsors and Brand Personality). They had to associate a list of qualities to the name of the main 11 teams – Atlético Mineiro, Botafogo, Corinthians, Cruzeiro, Flamengo, Fluminense, Grêmio, Internacional, Palmeiras, Santos, São Paulo and Vasco. They were supposed to describe both the teams they supported and others. Continue reading Study reveals the personality of Brazilian soccer teams

Dzi Croquettes – Rio’s revolutionary cabaret

936full-dzi-croquettes-poster “Not men, not women. People”, was their revolutionary motto. They were the Dzi Croquettes, an irreverent androgynous theater company directed by Broadway chorus line dancer Lennie Dale that defied the dictatorship and inspired a whole generation of carioca artists. The so-called besteirol theatre (anarchic, hilarious and politically incorrect) and several slang words and expressions ( Tá boa, santa?) are remnants of their influence.

They became so popular that their performances were finally forbidden, and they decided to tour Europe, where they conquered Paris and even appeared in a Claude Lelouch’s movie. “When I die, I want my show substituted by the Dzi Croquettes”, said legendary diva Josephine Baker. Continue reading Dzi Croquettes – Rio’s revolutionary cabaret

Brazilian meme – Brazil cannot live without honor


A meme is an iconic idea or image, a concept that spreads within a culture. It is sort of a summary of a concept or moment. This post is the first of a series of Brazilian memes. If you have suggestions of similar images, please, let me know.

This litograph – “O Brasil não Sabe, não Pode e não Quer Viver sem Honra” (Brazil Cannot, Would Not, and Will Not Live Without Honour) – belongs to the London Imperial War Museum’s collection. It suggest that men should learn how to shoot to defend their homeland. The museum’s website doesn’t offer any context for this image, but it is easy to guess it was published during the First World War, because the title is a quote of W. Braz, president Venceslau Brás, Brazil’s president between 1914 and 1918 (the country had multiple orthographic reforms since then, so the original stands for Wenceslau Braz), who declared war on the German Empire.



Four brilliant TED conferences on Brazilian sustainability

Zé Claudio Ribeiro at TED Amazonia, 2010, months before being murdered
Zé Claudio Ribeiro at TED Amazonia, 2010, months before being murdered

Animal trafficking, New Urbanism, habitat conservation, the Amazon…This is a wonderful selection of TED conferences that offer an overview of the main essential environmental topics and issues in Brazil, according to people that understand deeply the main interests and angles involved. All of them have English captions (in case of need, just hit the cc touch on the bottom right of the screen).

1 – Amazon anti-logging activist Zé Claudio Ribeiro describes his struggle and reveals that he was as menaced as Chico Mendes and Sister Dorothy, both killed by loggers and landowners due to their social and environmental activism. Last may, six months after this conference, Zé Claudio and his wife, Maria, were murdered in Nova Ipixuna, a small town in the state of Pará. I understand the police still didn’t identify the murderer.

2 – Paulo Saldiva, that I had the pleasure of interviewing a few times, is one of the main Brazilian specialists in air pollution and its health impacts, which affect in different ways the many layers of society.

3 – Biologist Juliana Machado Ferreira explains how the pet market feeds the illegal wildlife trade in the country, compromising the lives of 38 million animals every year in the country. She is working in a doctorate in Conservation Genetics at Universidade de São Paulo.

4 – Renowned urbanist and serial former mayor of Curitiba, capital of Paraná state, Jaime Lerner discusses the reinvention of metropolitan spaces and how this can improve the quality of life.


Also check these other cool TED conferences: 10 brains you will love

The weirdest Brazilian names

Ever wondered why famous Brazilian satirist Millôr Fernandes got such a bizarre name?

Here is the story, told by Millôr himself: his parents wanted to call him Milton, but the notary, semi-literate, like so many, misunderstood their writing. Everything went well in the first three letters. Then, because the T was not properly cut, he interpreted it as an L. The cut of the T became the accent over the O. And the N became an R. MILLÔR.

In my own family I had a few such stories. The best one: my aunt was registered in Porto Alegre as Guinda, when her name was supposed to be Gilda. The family would say, as a consolation prize, that there was effectively somewhere in Europe a type of prune called guinda…

Naturally, notaries are not the only ones to blame for bizarre christenings. Some Brazilian families are way beyond creative. Take the Rosados, influencial in Rio Grande do Norte state in the first half of last century. Patriarch Jerônimo Rosado, a pharmacist, decided to number his many, many boys, in French. First boy, Un Rosado. Second, Deux Rosado. And so on till Vingt-un, the 21st.

Also, let’s not forget the Brazilian saint patrons of bizarre names, guitar player Pepeu Gomes and singer Baby do Brasil, formerly known as Baby Consuelo, that conceived and named ‘Riroca, Nana Shara, Zabelê, Pedro Baby and Krishna Baby (previously mentioned in the post What’s in a Brazilian name?)

A Brazilian blog, Rei da Cocada Preta, made a list of absurdities, found mainly in public records and books. Some are really tough to believe. Among them:

Abrilina Décima Nona Caçapavana Piratininga de Almeida (a lady obviously born in Caçapava, a city of the state of São Paulo, on April 19).

Aeronauta Barata (Aeronaut Cockroach)

Agrícola Beterraba Areia (Agricultural Beet Sand)

Amável Pinto (Adorable Chick/Penis)

Amazonas Rio do Brasil Pimpão

Amin Amou Amado

Antonio Manso Pacífico de Oliveira Sossegado (a very, very calm and pacific man)

Antônio Morrendo das Dores (dying of pain?)

Antônio Querido Fracasso (dear unsuccess?)

Antônio Veado Prematuro (premature deer?)

Arquiteclínio Petrocoquínio de Andrade

Ava Gina (an homage to Ava Gardner and Gina Lolobrigida – and also to the feminine anatomy)

Barrigudinha Seleida (A girl with a somewhat prominent belly)

Baruel de Itaparica Boré Fomi de Tucunduvá

Bizarro Assada

Cafiaspirina Cruz (inspired by the caffeinated aspirine)

Caso Raro Yamada

Céu Azul do Sol Poente (this one would be popular in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I lived till a few days ago, a hippie haven where you meet girls called Sunday Peaches and Sunset)

Chevrolet da Silva Ford

Colapso Cardíaco da Silva

Comigo é Nove na Garrucha Trouxada

Disney Chaplin Milhomem de Souza

Estácio Ponta Fina Amolador

Éter Sulfúrico Amazonino Rios

Faraó do Egito Sousa (yes, you got it right: Egypt’s pharaon)

Finólila Piaubilina

Flávio Cavalcante Rei da Televisão (a reference to a famously bad tempered TV host)

Graciosa Rodela D’alho

Himineu Casamenticio das Dores Conjugais (delicious name that refers to the marital pains)

Holofontina Fufucas

Hypotenusa Pereira

Ilegível Inilegível

Inocêncio Coitadinho

Janeiro Fevereiro de Março Abril (January, February of March, April)

João Cara de José (he is João, but looks like a José)

Joaquim Pinto Molhadinho

José Casou de Calças Curtas (José married in short pants)

Letsgo Daqui (Let’s go away)

Manoel de Hora Pontual

Marciano Verdinho das Antenas Longas (Greenie martian of long feelers)

Maria da Segunda Distração (Second distraction Maria. I suppose the parents forgot to use a condom for the second time)

Maria Privada de Jesus (Jesus toilet Maria)

Maria Tributina Prostituta Cataerva


Naida Navinda Navolta Pereira

Napoleão Sem Medo e Sem Mácula

Natal Carnaval

Necrotério Pereira da Silva

Olinda Barba de Jesus

Orlando Modesto Pinto

Otávio Bundasseca

Pacífico Armando Guerra

Padre Filho do Espírito Santo Amém

Pália Pélia Pólia Púlia dos Guimarães Peixoto

Penha Pedrinha Bonitinha da Silva

Peta Perpétua de Ceceta

Plácido e Seus Companheiros

Primeira Delícia Figueiredo Azevedo

Primavera Verão Outono Inverno

Produto do Amor Conjugal de Marichá e Maribel

Rolando Caio da Rocha (Rolling fell from the rock – Rolando is indeed a name, but also the verb to roll)

Rolando Escadabaixo (Rolling down the stairs)

Rômulo Reme Remido Rodó

Rodrigo Falecido de Brasil

Simplício Simplório da Simplicidade Simples

Soraiadite das Duas a Primeira (from Two, One)

Última Delícia do Casal Carvalho (Last Delight of the Carvalho Couple)

Último Vaqueiro (Last Cowboy)

Um Dois Três de Oliveira Quatro (One Two Three Oliveira Four)

Veneza Americana do Recife (Recife, the American Venice)

Vicente Mais ou Menos de Souza (more or less)

Vitória Carne e Osso (flesh and bones)

Free Brazilian roadmaps of all Brazilian states

Are you going to drive on Brazilian roads? Need a map? Sure, you could certainly use Google Maps, but there are other map options easier to print and full of information essential for the travelers. They indicate, for instance, where you will find unpaved roads, tollbooths, National Parks or Native Reservations etc.
Your first option would be to download state maps in zip format found on the  website of the DNIT, the federal department of transportation infrastructure. Full of details, they are a great resource.

But, if you prefer a JPEG or PDF map, try these links, created by  Guia Geográfico Brasil:






Espírito Santo

Minas Gerais



Pernambuco: in JPEG or PDF.

Piauí: in JPEG or PDF.

Rio de Janeiro

Rio Grande do Norte

Rio Grande do Sul. Also, try the many versions in JPEG and PDF offered by state Tourism Authority.


Roraima: in JPEG or PDF.

Santa Catarina

São Paulo

Sergipe: in JPEG or PDF.



Read also: Practical tips for driving in Brazil