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There is life within the crisis

brasilobserver - May 19 2015

(Leia em Português)

Casa Grande, by Fellipe Barbosa, opens wide directly, and still beautifully, the inequality in Brazil


By Ricardo Somera

The class struggle has existed forever – or since Marx and Engels coined the term. Thus, this issue has been discussed for a long time by scholars, politicians, artists and every one. The theme is also common in Brazilian cinema, but rare are the times that social inequality in our country is transmitted so directly and beautifully like in Casa Grande, directed by Fellipe Barbosa, on cinemas in Brazil.

First of all, there’s no way to read the name of the movie and not remembering the classic published in 1993, Casa-Grande & Senzala (The Masters and the Slaves, in English), by Gilberto Freyre, about the importance of the relations between the “big house” and the “slave quarters” in the political and socio-cultural formation of Brazil.

In the film, Jean (Thales Cavalcanti), a white and rich upper-middle-class teenager from Rio de Janeiro, due to circumstances discovers a new world out of his armoured car and gated private community. Due to a financial crisis in the family – caused by investments in shares of Eike Batista’s companies – Jean’s routine is transformed and enlarged. Out the particular driver and enters the bus stop; out expensive parties and uninteresting girls and enters forró in Lapa.

But beyond the transformations in the life of a young man, the film shows how Brazilian society sees itself and behaves in 2015. Neither the award-winning O Som ao Redor (Neighbouring Sounds, in English), written and directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho, was so clear to throw open wide the veiled prejudice that we live daily in Brazil.

Racial quotas, domestic workers treated “as if they were family”, the relationship of a young white man with a young black woman and a culture of appearance are some of the issues portrayed. Everything we can see daily in workplaces, bars, schools and universities.

Fellipe Barbosa presents us with one of the best Brazilian films of the year, in which the script, direction and performance of the actors impress us from beginning to end. The actors are a sideshow with its unique features and new latent talents. I left the theatre without knowing whether I was more in love with Clarissa Pinheiro – whose character Rita loves having her ass kissed – or Bruna Amaya, who plays Luiza and in the first scene already makes you want to learn forró and/or live in São Conrado to find her on the bus stop.

In times full of Avengers and Fast and Furious, it is good to remember that life, even in a crisis, is a large and great discovery.