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José de Abreu
Fantasies and clichés about Brazil and Brazilians as reinforced by international films, even those actually shot in Brazil. This documentary features interviews with non-Brazilian directors, writers and stars who have been involved in some of those films. Written by
"Olhar Estrangeiro" is a documentary about Brazil mostly for foreigners, but I do not believe that there is an international distribution of this DVD based on the number of votes in IMDb (51) and the absence of the "Buy it at Amazon" button. The exceptional Lucia Murat exposes the clichés and stereotypes of the cinema industry about Brazil and Rio de Janeiro through footages of about eighteen movies entwined with interviews of personalities related to them, and the effect of this wrong information in ordinary people. It is funny to see that most of these movies have not been even shot in Brazil, and actors, actresses, directors and producers have not even visited Brazil but at least they are aware of the fantasy they make.
The documentary shows hilarious footages of "Blame it on Rio" (with women in topless that is forbidden in Rio and with a little monkey on the beach); "The Champ"; "L'Homme de Rio"; "Sällskaps Resor" (a.k.a. "Sällskapsresan"); "Next Stop, Wonderland" (where the character performed by Hope Davis is invited to go to the beach in São Paulo, an industrial city that has no beaches); "Si tu Vas à Rio tu Meurs" (with the transsexual Roberta Close); "T'empêches Tout le Monde de Dormir"; "Samba" (that was canceled and never released); "Wild Orchid"; "The Forbidden Dance" (a.k.a. "The Forbidden Dance is Lambada"); "Anaconda"; "Brenda Star"; "The Burning Season"; "Le Fils du Français"; "Le Grabuge"; "The Thomas Crown Affair"; "Svarta Palmkronor"; and "The End of the River". Further, in more than forty foreign movies, the outlaws flee to Brazil. Lucia Murat did not mention, but it certainly is a side effect of the British criminal Ronald Arthur "Ronnie" Biggs that escaped from the Wandsworth Prison in 1970 after participating in the Great Train Robbery of 1963 and found a sanctuary in Brazil since he could not be extradited because the United Kingdom did not benefit from reciprocity of extradition to Brazil.
Lucia Murat interviews Tony Plana, Bo Jonsson, Charles Peters, Michael Caine, John Voight, Hope Davis, David Weisman, Gérard Lauzier (that speaks an excellent Portuguese), Zalman King, Edouard Luntz, Greydon Clark, Larry Gelbart, Philipe de Broca, Philippe Clair and Robert Ellis- Miller and most of them admit that the studios are the main responsible for this wrong look of Brazil.
Lucia Murat does not forget to show that during the period of the Good Neighbor Policy of the United States of America with Latin America to gather allied to fight in World War II, Carmen Miranda was invited to move to America where she built a successful career and is partially responsible for the exotic view of Brazil. In the same period, Walt Disney released in 1942, Zé Carioca. During the Dictatorship of Getúlio Vargas, Orson Welles was invited by RKO Studios to make a documentary on the Brazilian carnival but it has never been released since the great director and actor showed the reality of Brazil and not what the studio wanted him to show.
Summarizing, "Olhar Estrangeiro" is an interesting work of research and highly recommended to people interested in improving their culture and, who knows, come to Brazil on the next vacation to see "in loco" the real country and Brazilian people. My vote is nine.
Title (Brazil): "Olhar Estrangeiro" ("Foreign Look")
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