Bye Bye Brasil
Directed by Carlos Diegues
Running time: 100 minutes
Bye Bye Brasil (1979) is talented Brazilian director Carlos Diegues' follow up to his 1978 film Xica da Silva and one of the most popular and successful imports of late 70s and 80s South American cinema. Depicting a rapidly modernising Brazil, it's a road movie masquerading as a sharp, political allegory, as told through the eyes of four wandering minstrels in the 'Caravan Rolidei', a shabby travelling circus. Headed up by a macabre magician named Lorde Cigano (José Wilker), replete with 19th Century cape and moustache, the troupe includes Queen of the Rumba, Salomé, an exotic, raven-haired dancer (Betty Faria) and mute deaf strongman, Swallow (Príncipe Nabor). The circus, and in particular, Salomé, capture the attention of young Ciço (Fábio Jr.) an accordionist who dreams of leaving his small, barren town. Ciço decides to join the troupe, dragging along his pregnant wife but his hopes of success are soon dismissed as they edge slowly towards the country's rural interior. Stopping at small villages to perform along the way, an air of desperation pervades their journey as the troupe lose out to the greater allure of TV, and the fact that the audience can no longer pay for their shows. Eventually forced to accept bartered goods and food – rather than cash – for their performances, they struggle to keep going. Originally received as a typically Brazilian 'carnivalesque' movie, Bye Bye Brasil seems to add complexity to the notion of national identity during a time of great change in Brazil. Nominated for the Palme D'Or at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival, it is a subtle, low-key masterpiece with Fellini-esque elements that, despite the closure that the title suggests, depicts a country still in the process of unity and self-definition.
Reservation is not necessary, but places are limited. Please arrive early to avoid disappointment.