My favorite things Brazil

by on December 23, 2006 at 5:21 am in The Arts | Permalink

1. Painter: Candido Portinari is the obvious choice, try this one, or here, but he is not well-represented on-line.  Jose Antonio da Silva, the naive painter, is a personal favorite; here is one image, here are two more.

2. Movie: Black Orpheus, if seen on a big screen, is splendid from beginning to end.  Imagine Rio with empty, unpopulated hills.  More recently, I am fond of Central Station, and regard City of God as just a bit overrated.

3. Music: This topic needs a post all its own, and you will get one soon enough.

4. Novel: Brazil (or is it the translators?) is oddly weak in this category.  I’ll nominate Jorge Amado’s Dona Flor, or Machado de Assis, his still underrated Epitaph of a Small Winner.  Here are more authors, but I await your guidance.  By the way, I think Paulo Coelho’s Eleven Minutes is a good read but I haven’t been able to finish any of the others by him.

5. Natural wonder: Iguassu is one of the best natural sights in the world.  Imagine a big waterfall 17 km long, and with coatimundis, amazing butterflies, and churrascaria nearby.

6. Non-fiction books about: I love Nancy Scheper-Hughes’s transcendent Death Without Weeping: The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil.  My runner-up pick would be Alex Shoumanoff, Capital of Hope, about Brasilia.  The classic works of Gilbert Freyre are good background on the country, as is Brazil: Once and Future Country.

7. Sculptor: Avant-garde Helio Oiticica is all the rage these days.  They put two of his works out at MOMA, a big Tropicalia show in the Bronx, plus a big solo show is coming to Houston, I hope to see it there.  The on-line images destroy the angles and the content of the boxes, maybe try this one, but best to see it live.

8. Favorite food: The small towns near Curitiba, in the south, have the world’s best beef plus amazing pasta.

The bottom line: Might Brazil be the best place, period?  To visit, that is.

1 Andrew December 23, 2006 at 6:34 am

Novel: You need to read the works of Erico Verissimo, particularly “Incidente em Antares”

Music: Be sure to include the late Elis Regina

Non-Fiction Books About: Perhaps the definitive work about Brazil is the aptly named “The Brazilians” by Joseph A. Page

2 lkatz December 23, 2006 at 9:39 am

Natural wonder: Iguassu (only half Brazilian because it is shared with Argentina) is just one of them. The whole country is beautiful.

3 Cisco December 23, 2006 at 10:33 am

Literature: Coelho is widely regarded as the one of our worst. All of Machado de Assis is great, but methinks you should try the short stories. Tyler would probably enjoy Guimarães Rosa, Lima Barreto, Erico Verissimo (the Time and Wind trilogy, especially) and, as mentioned above, Euclides da Cunha’s Os Sertoes.

Movie: c’mon, it’s Brazil we’re talking about. Tyler should replace this category with “Soap Operas”, even if some people (such as myself) thinks they are all trash. But if he insists on movies, how about “O Homem do Sputnik” (The Sputnik Man) or some other chanchada?

4 Andrew December 23, 2006 at 8:48 pm

Why didn’t I think of Os Sertões. Outstanding story, and it takes place in Northeastern Brazil, where I live. (I live in the hometown of another Brazilian religious demagogue, Padre Cicero)

As for movies, I should have mentioned “O Auto da Compadecida”, although it really has to be watched in Portuguese to be understood. Aside from being hilariously funny, it also provides interesting glimpses into Northeastern Brazilian culture, lifestyle, and even theology.

Cisco menioned soap operas. My favorite to date is “Chocolate com Pimenta”, which is on it’s second run. Interesting for it’s portrayal of southern Brazil in the 1920’s.

5 Ray G December 23, 2006 at 10:47 pm

Brazil just makes me think of coffee and jiu-jitsu. (Outside of the obvious of course, the Amazon, Rio, etc.)

6 Jana December 24, 2006 at 5:30 am

Fiction: Moacyr Scliar is always very refreshing with his kind and perspicaceous humor.

7 André Uratsuka Manoel December 25, 2006 at 3:40 pm

Natural Wonders:
the beaches of northern Sao Paulo state like Ubatuba and Ilha Bela, and southern Rio de Janeiro state like Paraty and Angra dos Reis,
and also
Chapada Diamantina

8 Andrew December 28, 2006 at 1:57 pm

“Come on guys, what about those Brazilian women?”

Married one. Can’t complain.

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