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The Brazilians and Their Intriguing Movies Are Back in New York

Brazil's Basic Sanitation, the Film From July 17 through 31, New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) will be showing Premiere Brazil 2008, the museum's sixth annual exhibition of contemporary Brazilian cinema. This joint effort between MoMA and the Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival, aims to introduce American audiences to original Brazilian films by both new and established Brazilian filmmakers.

Premiere Brazil takes its title from a sidebar featured at the festival, where many of these films premiered. All films are from Brazil and in Portuguese with English subtitles. Most filmmakers will be present to introduce the first screenings of their films.

The 10 feature and documentary films comprising this year's selection demonstrate the vitality and depth of contemporary Brazilian filmmaking, ranging from Marcos Jorge's Estômago: A Gastronomic Story (2007), a comic fable that also serves as a gastronomic allegory for ambition and survival, to Cao Guimarães' Andarilho (Drifter) (2007), a story of three lonely drifters, the second installment in Guimarães' ambitious trilogy on solitude.

As in previous years, Premiere Brazil also includes a rich variety of vibrant films about Brazilian music and musicians, including the international premiere of The Mystery of Samba and the world premiere of The Man Who Bottled Clouds, director Lirio Ferreira's engrossing portrait of popular songwriter Humberto Teixeira.

Premiere Brazil is organized by Jytte Jensen, curator from MoMA's  Department of Film and Ilda Santiago, director of the Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival.

This year's opening-night films are Marcos Jorge's debut feature Estômago: A Gastronomic Story, a smartly constructed tale of food, power, and sexual betrayal, and veteran director Walter Lima Jr.'s Out of Tune, a seductive recreation of the 1960s music scene in Rio de Janeiro and New York that traces the birth of bossa nova through the ups and downs of a fictional band.

Other highlights include Basic Sanitation, The Movie, a lighthearted tale about the intersection of social activism and filmmaking; My Name Ain't Johnny, in which the familiar perils of drug dealing and drug abuse are explored in a new light through expressive camera movement and inspired direction; and Sign of the City, an evocative ode to São Paulo in which a few lonely strangers find their paths converging in the night.

The flourishing Brazilian documentary scene is represented by Drifter, a hauntingly gorgeous portrait of human transience; The Xavante Strategy, the story of the Xavante tribe's courageous attempts to keep their culture relevant; and Pindorama: The True Story of the Seven Dwarves, the amazing story of the seven dwarves of the Pindorama circus, which tours the poorer reaches of northeastern Brazil.

The exhibition also includes a rich variety of vibrant films about Brazilian music and musicians, including the international premiere of The Mystery of Samba and the world premiere of The Man Who Bottled Clouds, director Lirio Ferreira's engrossing portrait of popular songwriter Humberto Teixeira.

All the Screenings:

Estômago: A Gastronomic Story. 2007. Brazil. Directed by Marcos Jorge
Estômago (Estômago: A Gastronomic Story). 2007. Brazil. Directed by Marcos Jorge. With João Miguel, Fabiula Nascimento. In a dog-eat-dog world, Raimundo Nonato has found an alternative way to move ahead: he cooks. No matter what social strata this deceptively innocent young man inhabits, he hones his skills and sharpens his knives – and then he falls in love. Jorge's nimble comic fable provides a smartly constructed gastronomic allegory for ambition and survival. In Portuguese; English subtitles. 111 min.
Thursday, July 17, 2008, 6:00 p.m., Theater 1, T1
Monday, July 21, 2008, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 26, 2008, 2:30 p.m., Theater 2, T2

Out of Tune. 2008. Brazil. Directed by Walter Lima Jr.
Os Desafinados (Out of Tune). 2008. Brazil. Directed by Walter Lima Jr. With Rodrigo Santoro, Claudia Abreu, Selton Mello. A seductive "biography" of the sublime musical art of bossa nova, as dramatized through the fate of a fictive band, Os Desafinados. The band's success reaches its apex with the discovery of Gloria, an ex-pat singer living in New York, who becomes the band's star – and their downfall. The band's ensuing decline coincides with the political events in Brazil that brought the junta to power, and Lima's film deftly integrates documentary stock footage into the narrative – while adding plenty of bossa nova classics for audiences to groove to. In Portuguese; English subtitles. 138 min.
Thursday, July 17, 2008, 8:15 p.m., Theater 1, T1
Sunday, July 27, 2008, 6:00 p.m., Theater 2, T2

Basic Sanitation, The Movie. 2007. Brazil. Directed by Jorge Furtado
Saneamento básico (Basic Sanitation, The Movie). 2007. Brazil. Directed by Jorge Furtado. With Fernanda Torres, Wagner Maura, Camila Pitanga. The small community of Linha Cristal gets together to dig a pit for sewer treatment, but there is no budget for a sewer. There is, however, money earmarked for the production of an educational video, so a resourceful young couple engages in some creative bookkeeping. Well-acted and willfully unsophisticated, the movie provides delightful lessons in moviemaking and effective social activism. In Portuguese; English subtitles. 112 min.
Friday, July 18, 2008, 6:00 p.m., Theater 1, T1
Sunday, July 27, 2008, 2:00 p.m., Theater 2, T2

The Man Who Bottled Clouds. 2008. Brazil. Directed by Lirio Ferreira
O homem que engarrafava nuvens (The Man Who Bottled Clouds). 2008. Brazil. Directed by Lirio Ferreira. Written by Ferreira, Denise Dummont. A host of personalities reminisce about the life and work of songwriter, lawyer, and congressman Humberto Teixeira – aka "Baião Doctor" – the author of such classic Brazilian popular songs as "Asa Branca (White Wing)." This beautifully produced film brilliantly captures the feel of Brazilian life in the 1940s with musical performances, archival footage, and lively conversations. In Portuguese; English subtitles. 110 min.
Friday, July 18, 2008, 8:15 p.m., Theater 1, T1 (World premiere)
Saturday, July 26, 2008, 5:00 p.m., Theater 2, T2 (World premiere)
Monday, July 28, 2008, 6:00 p.m. (World premiere)

Drifter. 2007. Brazil. Directed by Cao Guimarães
Andarilho (Drifter). 2007. Brazil. Directed by Cao Guimarães. Between the cities of Montes Claros and Pedra Azul, three lonely drifters follow different paths, each establishing intimate relationships with various elements of a transitory world. This second installment in Cao Guimarães's planned trilogy about solitude continues his daring visual exploration of existential themes. The filmmaker captures the relationship between thought and movement, geography and introspection, through breathtaking shots of human forms against the surrounding landscape. In Portuguese; English subtitles. 80 min.
Saturday, July 19, 2008, 4:00 p.m., Theater 1, T1
Sunday, July 27, 2008, 4:00 p.m., Theater 2, T2

O signo da cidade (Sign of the City). 2007. Brazil. Directed by Carlos Alberto Riccelli. Screenplay by Bruna Lombardi. With Bruna Lombardi, Juca de Oliveira, Malvino Salvador. Gil is married but alone, Lydia flirts with danger, Josialdo was born to be a woman, and Mônica only wants to be successful; on her late-night call-in radio program, astrologer Teca ties these disparate lives to her own. Actor-turned-filmmaker Riccelli's second feature, in which richly evocative steadi-cam shots linger over both the Altmanesque ensemble cast and the city spaces they inhabit, is a valentine to São Paulo and its lonely denizens. In Portuguese; English subtitles. 95 min.
Saturday, July 19, 2008, 6:00 p.m., Theater 1, T1
Thursday, July 24, 2008, 6:00 p.m., Theater 2, T2

O mistério do Samba (The Mystery of Samba). 2008. Brazil. Directed by Carolina Jabor, Lula Buarque de Hollanda. The Mystery of Samba captures the rich lives – and astonishing vivacity – of a group of veteran musicians and composers from one of Rio's most revered samba schools, Portela. The magic of this birthplace of singers and poets is brought to vivid life with guest appearances by samba luminaries Marisa Monte, Paulinho da Viola, and Zeca Pagodinho. In Portuguese; English subtitles. 85 min.
Saturday, July 19, 2008, 8:00 p.m., Theater 1, T1 (North American premiere)
Saturday, July 26, 2008, 8:00 p.m. (North American premiere)

The Xavante Strategy. 2007. Brazil. Directed by Belisario Franca
Estratégia Xavante (The Xavante Strategy). 2007. Brazil. Directed by Belisario Franca. The film portrays the attempts by the indigenous Xavante nation to preserve their territory and traditions, following the touching personal stories of young men sent to study the customs of urban Brazilian society in order to become spokespersons for their people. In Portuguese; English subtitles. 86 min.
Sunday, July 20, 2008, 2:00 p.m., Theater 1, T1
Thursday, July 24, 2008, 8:00 p.m., Theater 2, T2

Pindorama: The True Story of the Seven Dwarfs. 2007. Brazil. Directed by Roberto Berliner, Lula Queiroga, Leo Crivelare
Pindorama: A verdadeira história dos sete anões (Pindorama: The True Story of the Seven Dwarfs). 2007. Brazil. Directed by Roberto Berliner, Lula Queiroga, Leo Crivelare. Charles, Zuleide, Gilberto, Cleide, Rogério, Claudio, and Lobão are the seven dwarfs, children of the mythical Pindoba, the smallest and funniest clown in Brazil. Together, they form the Pindorama Circus, going from town to town in northeastern Brazil. The filmmakers capture the spectacular routines and travails of a family of entertainers while simultaneously cleverly tackling the ethical dilemmas of their particular circumstances. In Portuguese; English subtitles. 75 min.
Sunday, July 20, 2008, 4:00 p.m., Theater 1, T1
Friday, July 25, 2008, 6:00 p.m., Theater 2, T2

Meu nome não é Johnny (My Name Ain't Johnny). 2007. Brazil. Directed by Mauro Lima. With Selton Mello, Cleo Pires, Julia Lemmertz. Lima's morality tale chronicles the true story of João Guilherme Estrella's descent into the clichéd excesses of drugs and drug trafficking. Lima's camera movements brilliantly reflect Estrella's travails – images float and roam as if complicit in the bohemian abandon of the drug lord's lifestyle, only to quietly change pace as he embraces self-reflection and rehabilitation. In Portuguese; English subtitles. 124 min.
Sunday, July 20, 2008, 6:00 p.m., Theater 1, T1
Friday, July 25, 2008, 8:00 p.m., Theater 2, T2

MoMA – www.moma.org

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