"Saudade do Futuro" takes a fun and affectionate look at street musicians in Brazil, especially those practicing a kind of traditional rap poking fun at themselves, the audience and the sadness of life itself.
By JOSHUA TANZER
"Saudade," so we're told, cannot be translated from its original Portuguese into any other language it means something like sorrow combined with nostalgia.
And the musical documentary "Saudade do Futuro" looks at the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and its street musicians just this way, with a mixture of commiseration and fondness.
|SAUDADE DO FUTURO|
|Directed by: Marie-Clemence and Cesar Paes.|
Featuring: Sonhador and Peneira, Dona Erundina, Fran, Assis Angelo, Ze Honorio, Emanoel Araujo, Banda de Pifanos, Lindalva & Terezinha & Palito, Luiza.
In Portuguese with English subtitles.
Related links: Official site
Sao Paulo appears to be one of those special cities like New Orleans, Havana and, oh yes, New York where the music is as thick in the air as the humidity.
And that's what "Saudade do Futuro" is about not only the music of the streets but the music of life itself. Traffic noise, crowd noise, subway noise, factory noise, construction noise, restaurant noise, the sound of a woman singing while rhythmically doing laundry the film deliberately intersperses these among the music to create a medley of daily life.
And this music is not necessarily the slinky sambas you might be expecting it includes a number of wonderful surprises, particularly a brilliant traditional style called "Repente." (Hear a sample from the film in RealAudio.)
The repentistas sing a quick-witted improvised rap in which they poke fun at themselves, each other, people in the audience, politics, the weather, the city, the life of the poor, whatever.|
The sound of this music, with the steady beat of tambourines under the rhythmically shouting voices, is distinctly African inspired, but it will also remind Americans of rap music and the African-American streetcorner game of "the dozens," in which competitors trade good-natured insults to see whose are the cleverest. Onlookers gather around these singers and laugh at every outrageous line, especially when they become the subject themselves.
"Saudade do Futuro" also includes interviews about music and interviews with regular folks about daily life and what makes Sao Paulo special. It's a wistful romance about people who endure the hardships of life and a celebration of the ubiquitous staccato of sound that makes this city sizzle.
|JUNE 20, 2001|
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