Fabricating Tom Zé is a documentary that portrays the life and work of one of the most controversial Brazilian musicians, having as its backdrop Tom Zé's 2005 European Tour. The documentary... See full summary »
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Credited cast:
David Byrne
Gilberto Gil ...
Gilberto Gil
Neusa Marthins ...
Neusa Marthins
Caetano Veloso
Kid Vinil ...
Tom Zé ...
Tom Zé


Fabricating Tom Zé is a documentary that portrays the life and work of one of the most controversial Brazilian musicians, having as its backdrop Tom Zé's 2005 European Tour. The documentary mixes different video, film and animation formats in order to show a detailed vision of Tom Zé's personal musical universe, in which a guitar and a vacuum cleaner have the same melodic importance. In intimate interviews, he narrates different parts of his life and tells us about his musical debut in the early 60s, his downfall during the 70s and his 90s comeback. The film carries interviews with Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, David Byrne and others. Tom Zé, at his 70th anniversary, continues to produce highly original music. Written by Decio Matos Jr.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis





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Release Date:

13 July 2007 (Brazil)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Tom Zé: My band is composed of negroes, of ugly people, no one speaks English... this is prejudice! He was humiliating the Brazilian. Humiliating the poor man. All those good looking young men, beautiful; the typical explorer. I have no problem with this. I find pretty people pretty; as long as they don't start acting evilly. As long as they treat me respectfully. They have more knowledge, they stole from us; I accept the rule. But don't act evilly; evil like a son of a bitch. That I don't accept.
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Parque Industrial
Written by Tom Zé
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User Reviews

Confusing, unambicious and disappointing
15 November 2009 | by (Brazil) – See all my reviews

Tom Zé is a very creative Brazilian musician, whose work is unique, very sophisticated and one that deserves a great deal of attention (some have called him "the Brazilian Frank Zappa", not because they sound alike _they don't!_, but because the two of them studied classical music but composed popular music). Unfortunately, this documentary (that follows a somewhat cowardly and lazy trend in the contemporary Brazilian "film industry", documentaries about popular musicians _they're cheap and easy to make and have an almost guaranteed audience) fails to be as ambitious and rigorous as the artist it portraits.

Basically, we see Tom Zé on tour in Europe (France, Italy and Switzerland), to show us how he works with his band (with a great deal of improvisation _his concerts frequently seem like rehearsals, which sometimes is fun, sometimes not) and his wife and manager, but also to rub in our faces that an anti-commercial and under-appreciated artist from the backlands of a poor country in South America can "make it" (the tone is obviously hagiographic).

Then there is a quick (and therefore failed) attempt to biograph him. Then he is shown as a misunderstood genius and the film tries to answer why it took so long for him to get his well-deserved (although not big) recognition (citing old grudges that are unexplained) but, again, it fails to do so. Basically, it is a very poor, confusing and disappointing film _very differently from Mr. Zé's music. Sadly, it doesn't do him and his work justice. But check out his albums, though _specially his masterpiece, "Estudando o Samba".

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