Friday, October 9, 2009

For the first time ever, the Olympics will be held in South America. Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro took home the honor, and it got us thinking: If one only knew of Brazil through the movies, what impression would one have?

1. City of God — Set within Rio, this gritty film follows a group of slumdogs as they grow out of poverty and into gangsters, ruling the streets with an odd sort of carefree menace. Odds are this wasn’t screened for the International Olympic Committee during the lobbying efforts.

2. Bye Bye Brasil — Following the travels of a circus troupe in the hinterlands of Brazil, this sexy road comedy discovers that escape from modern life is not always easy to find.

3. The Boys From Brazil — Not strictly about Brazil, this international thriller posits South America as some sort of enduring Nazi stronghold where war criminals fled at the end of World War II to escape justice for their misdeeds.

4. Wages of Fear — Set in an unnamed South American town, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s tale of a stressful mountain crossing by a team of nitroglycerine-hauling truckers was largely influenced by the director’s time spent in Brazil.

5. Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands — The most successful box-office attraction in Brazilian history at the time of its release in 1976, this sex comedy starring Sonia Braga revels in Rio’s uninhibited ways. What else would one expect from the home of Carnival?

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