You may question the narration and its predictable cliches and prejudices, but these historic footages are true gems. Tough to choose a favorite (ok, if you insist, the 1932’s and the 1955’s are the best).
1932 – Includes a pretty disgusting scene where the narrator mentions the “infinite variety of tropical animals” found downtown, while the camera closes on a cute little Black girl. Also to be noted the comment that carioca’s resent the monopoly of the word Americans by those born in the States. Pay attention also on the explanation about the “butterfly industries” and the ornamental black and white stone pavements.
“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→
If you remember the 70s, you were not really there, right? What about a little revival of those crazy, sparkly years?
Brazil began the decade with the iron years of torture and dictatorship, and finished it with a draft of the democracy that would consolidate in the eighties. So, this period reflects the tension caused by censorship and the relief felt by the artist community when censors began to relax.
In the 70s:
Sonia Braga (actress of international fame) wore glittery socks, high heels and nylon boxing pants in the dance floor in Dancing Days soap opera.
Counterculture bands Mutantes and Secos e Molhados wore the most outrageous stage outfits. In this video, a rare early Secos e Molhados:
Samba goddess Clara Nunes ruled (here performing in a Japanese TV show)
Only two Brazilian rock bands really made it abroad. Heavy-metal Sepultura and psychedelic Os Mutantes.
Os Mutantes’s success is peculiar in the fact that the band had its heyday in the late sixties and early seventies, when it was instrumental in shaping counterculture in Brazil. It was dismantled for decades, till the nineties, when it was progressively brought back to life, championed by Kurt Cobain, Beck and David Byrne.
Initially formed by brothers Arnaldo Baptista and Sérgio Brito, and red-haired-enfant terrible singer Rita Lee, it blew the country’s mind with its experimentalism and funny, surreal performances, that mixed bridal dresses and Napoleon outfits. Their free and crazy attitude was particularly striking in the tense period of censorship and political restrictions the country faced at the time. Continue reading Reborn Mutantes→