During the Carnival in the historical site of Pelourinho (Salvador, Bahia, Brazil), we follow the lives of the tenants of a falling-to-pieces tenement house who try to get by using creativity, irony, humor and music.


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Credited cast:
Dira Paes ...
Stênio Garcia ...
Seu Jerônimo
Luciana Souza ...
Dona Joana
Emanuelle Araújo ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jamile Alves ...
Cidnei Aragão ...
Peixe Frito
Lyu Arisson ...
Merry Batista ...
Érico Brás ...
Edvana Carvalho ...
Felipe Fernandes ...
Mateus Ferreira da Silva ...
Natália Garcez ...


During the Carnival in the historical site of Pelourinho (Salvador, Bahia, Brazil), we follow the lives of the tenants of a falling-to-pieces tenement house who try to get by using creativity, irony, humor and music.

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Comedy | Musical



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30 March 2007 (Brazil)  »

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Did You Know?


Part of the shooting was made during the Carnival in Salvador, including the parade of the "trios elétricos" (sound cars where the big bands perform). See more »


Ilha de Maré
Written by Lupa & Walmir Lima
Performed by Mariene de Castro
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User Reviews

Ó Paí Ó: Ô Ba-hi-ai-ai!
12 April 2007 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

Based on Márcio Meirelles' 1992 hit regional play, "Ó Paí, Ó" (pronouced aw-pah-EE-aw, meaning "look at that" or "dig that" in the slang of Salvador, Bahia) uses a decrepit tenement house in the heart of Pelourinho -- the historical site in Salvador where black slaves used to be publicly tortured and now is its major tourist attraction with its beautifully preserved colonial architecture -- as the scenery to parade dozens of "typical", colorful and "exotic" characters. They're supposed to be the embodiment of the pains and delights of the (mostly black) lower classes in Salvador, as they struggle through their tough, unassisted but undeniably eventful lives.

It's true the characters in "Ó.P.Ó" may seem caricatures -- but if you've ever spent some time in Salvador, you've probably met some people just like those on the screen, with their peculiar gift for irony and self-mockery, their ever-ready sensuality, their vocation for laughter and hedonism, their aversion to strictness and rigid morals. If there's a place in the world where people have an effortless vocation for carnal AND spiritual joy, it's definitely Bahia (everybody should go there at least once in their lifetime to check it out). No wonder the funniest moments of the film come from the inimitable Bahia "dialect" and its uniquely mellifluous delivery (which probably won't be grasped by non- Brazilians) more than from the situations or one-liners themselves.

"Ó.P.Ó" is a film with an identity crisis: it's alternately a comedy, a drama, a tragedy, a musical, a documentary (the Carnival scenes), a TV sitcom. The script flutters superficially from politics to racism, from social and sexual prejudices to religious conflicts and fanaticism, from poverty to police violence and corruption, to drug dealing, international prostitution, unemployment, the music business, predatory tourism, Bahia's legendary sexual permissiveness, you name it -- all of it toe-deep. It's also technically problematic, with an excess of close-ups, a rather static camera (enhancing the staginess of the material), many involuntary out-of- focus shots, an overabundance of (poor) songs in the non-stop musical soundtrack, an unbalanced sound mix, bad lip-syncing in the musical numbers. The worst aspect is probably the awfully contrived turn the film takes half-way through, from light comedy into "socially-aware" tragedy; it's not only forced, clichéd and underachieved, but it denies the lesson Aristophanes taught everybody ages ago -- that comedy can be even more effective than tragedy when it comes to social and political comment. I guess the schmaltz finale is part of the original Márcio Meirelles' play, but it betrays all the film's previous interest, style and charm.

This is an actors' film, and most of them deliver accordingly (with the exception of lovely singer Emanuelle Araújo's embarrassingly amateurish performance). Lázaro Ramos proves once again that comedy is his right game; we can tell he's really enjoying his role (he's also associate producer), galaxies away from his often immature dramatic performances. Lázaro's only faux-pas is his off-key, terrible singing: OK, he's supposed to play a mediocre singer (I got it) but did he have to sing FOUR songs to prove it? The usually thrilling Wagner Moura can do very little with his impossible role of a racist/drug dealer/dope-head white guy (the white guys are, naturally and deservedly, the villains here). Dira Paes resorts to some of her well-known tricks, but when you're that sexy, who minds? The real standouts are Luciana Souza as the prissy religious hag, Rejane Maia as the irrepressible acarajé-seller Baiana and Tânia Tôko as butch lesbian bar-owner Neuzão. Singer Virgínia Rodrigues has a hilarious cameo as Biocentão (a Bahia caricature version of Beyoncé Knowles).

It's been recently announced that "Ó.P.Ó" will become a TV sitcom series (if negotiations succeed) and that's just fair enough: it's typical TV sitcom material all the way. If you're aware of that fact when you see the FILM, you won't have any undue expectations and you won't be disappointed -- except for the terrible denouement and the most shameless, in-your-face pieces of merchandising you EVER saw in any movie.

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