Praia do Futuro

16 09 2014

Praia do Futuro is a slick, stylishly-filmed gay romance from Brazil which falls curiously flat. On paper it would seem to tick all the boxes, for me at least: gay sex, Brazil, stylish cinematography and an exotic arthouse director, Brazilian-Algerian Cannes juror Karim Ainuz. But in the event, I found the relationship between a moody Brazilian life guard and German motorcyclist oddly uncompelling. We knew so little about either character (dialogue is sparse) that in the end I didn’t really care if they ended up together or not. Shame. Plus, some scenes seemed rather forced – like when the lovers strip off and stand on rocks watching waves breaking while they laugh. Who does that?

The film was on as part of Hong Kong’s Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, on now.

Jaloo’s Downtown

13 09 2014

The Lady Gaga of the Amazon, androgynous synth-shaman Jaloo rocks his Rio Xingu-meets-Downtown-DIY look on new single, Downtown.

Read an interview with him here.

…. and Marli’s black magic

5 09 2014

Tecnobrega, the colourful style of music from Brazil’s Para state mixes Amazonian rhythms with analogue beats and a cheerfully tacky (or is it ¬†sophisticated?) pop sensibility. The genre has been on fire lately, producing a whole new generation of some of Brazil’s most interesting artists. First there was Gaby Amarantes, then Jaloo – and now Marli.

Marli is a former domestic helper and now lo-fi underground electro artist, who according to, writes songs about “love, nature and satanism.” Her sound is all raw, ragged-y vocals over DIY beats. Her look is even better – a brazenly cheap tumlbrrific style popularised by a million teenage bloggers, and yet also uber-hip style bible SuperSuper.

Tacky, or tasteful? The tecnobrega connundrum in a nutshell.

Here is her old band, O Olho do Tarado.

Brasil retro

18 08 2014

Three of the country’s indie “divas” look to the sixties for inspiration:

The under-rated talent of Fernanda Takai:

Mallu Magalhaes:

And Barbara Eugenia:

Barbara Eugenia: Dropping (hipster) bombs

9 08 2014

An eye-catching new video, and breathy new sound, for Brazilian singer Barbara Eugenia (above) and below, from her last album.

31 nights in Brazil in Melbourne

8 08 2014

To mark the World Cup celebrations in Brazil, Australia’s government-funded, free-to-air “multicultural channel”, SBS, programmed a killer month-long selection of Brazilian films, organised by region no less, from Sao Paulo and Rio to Minas Gerais and the relatively obscure Para and Maranhao. Impressive work ! Above, Rodrigo Santoro in “Behind the Sun” and below a clip from “Cidade Baixa” (Lower City) featuring the now-Hollywood star, Alicia Braga, both representing Bahia. Following on from the recent discovery of “Neighbouring Sounds“, I would like to check out more Brazilian flicks

Industrial Park

19 07 2014

Patricia Galvao, known in her day as “Pagu”, was a Brazilian rebel, poet, author and Communist agitator. In 1920s Sao Paulo, she wore purple lipstick and mini-skirts, married (and divorced) Oswald Andrade, a leading light of the Brazilian “cannibalist” intellectual movement, went to China, interviewed Freud, protested at a dock dispute where a worker died in her arms and was (later) arrested and tortured for four years by the Vargas military regime.

She also wrote ¬†“Industrial Park: A Proletarian Novel”. Its a short and easy read, if rather simplistic to modern tastes. Characters – manual workers in Sao Paulo factories – are thinly sketched and speak almost exclusively in passionate, propagandistic dialogue like “our daily sweat becomes the champagne they throw out!” Despite this, ¬†the book does provide an opinionated window into the lives of factory worker immigrant women in the Brazil of the rapidly industrialising ’20s, and touches on surprisingly modern themes of rape, abortion, lesbianism and racism as well.

Although she rejected the term herself, it is apparent that Pagu was as much a feminist as a Communist, with sexual (and other) exploitation of women forming the central topic of the book. Sexuality is presented as a trap, a means by which women can be undone but also something that women actively seek out and deserve. Its an interesting and quite modern (in some ways) and regressive (in others) take on the topic. Likewise on the topic of racism, her black characters occssionally voice strong views, but this is rather undone by the peripheral relation they have to the story as a whole which mostly focuses on European (Italian and Lithuanian) immigrants to the city.

A progressive puzzle.

I read this interesting time capsule at the ironically-named “Workers’ Club”, a pub in Fitzroy (the former Rob Roy) while waiting for friends.


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