Long before the so-called global village came into existence, and the Internet made it easy to spread your name around the world, Brazil was already global. It is a country which is culturally cannibalistic by nature, in which the new and the old, the foreign and the indigenous, not only lie side by side but are mixed, assimilated and recreated day in day out. What sort of country is it, in which, at the height of the 60’s, a capoeira song, played with the aggressive drive of rock’n’roll, found its way into thousands of homes, entitled ‘Sunday in the Park’? What do you call this huge melting-pot? Tropicalism!
And, what exactly is Tropicalism? It is this simple, yet complex, question that a Portuguese TV host puts to an exiled and downbeat Caetano Veloso right at the start of Marcelo Machado’s film. The director, who grew up listening to the ground-breaking sounds of Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, the Mutantes and Tom Zé, and who did not understand lyrics in English, though had a passion for some- thing called rock’n’roll, takes the audience on a tour through sounds and images and into the history of one of Brazil’s most iconic cultural movements. In an affectionate panorama, built up from a miscellany of references, interviews, material dug from archives, images and, of course, songs, the viewer travels through the fertile, controversial and violent years of 1967, 1968, 1969.
“4 stars. A reaction to political oppression and cultural assimilation, Tropicalismo impacted upon all Brazilian artforms between 1968-74… Concentrates on the music of Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil and its influence both home and abroad” Empire
“In the late 1960s, Brazil’s revolutionary spirit revitalised music, art and film”
“Tropicália wasn’t a style or a movement as much as an atmosphere, a rush of youthful, cosmopolitan, liberationist optimism that broke over Brazil like a sun shower and soaked into everything: art, music, fashion, film, theater, literature”
“The Tropicalia movement had straw beds, paddling pools and even its own parrots. What a great way to fight the Brazilian dictatorship”
Technical: Origin: Brazil / Year: 2012 / Audio: Portguese with English Subtitles / Aspect: 1.78:1 / Running Time: 87 Mins / Rating: 12