Rio, Zona Norte

(Rio, Northern Zone)


Grande Otelo, Malu, Jece Valadão, Maria Petar,

Race, class, and samba collide in dos Santos’s powerful radicalization of Brazil’s widespread chanchada musical genre. The charismatic actor/singer Grande Otelo (himself a popular cabaret icon and performer) stars as a working-class composer trying to succeed in the samba business, with his talents constantly ignored or exploited by those richer and more connected than he. Dirtying up the chanchada’s idealized view of Brazilian culture, dos Santos uses music to unveil the racial and economic fault lines at the heart of his nation. “For dos Santos,” noted Kathleen Murphy, “popular culture, as the people’s art, is of paramount importance, even a political force for reform.”

Jason Sanders
  • Nelson Pereira dos Santos
  • Hélio Silva
  • Portuguese
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • DCP
  • 90 mins
  • Regina Filmes