Between July 1967 and October 1969 a group of Brazilian musicians created a musical movement known as tropicália. Inspired by Brazilian music, art, literature, theatre and cinema as well as The Beatles and Rolling Stones, they created a style of music that was seen as being so revolutionary that it’s two lead protagonists were forced to leave the country. Tropicália is the first documentary to focus on this period in Brazilian music, a period of just two years that continues to reverberate with new audiences around the world.
Tropicália, the film, is directed by Marcelo Machado (pictured above left), a Brazilian documentary maker and frequent collaborator with Fernando Meirelles (who executive produced Tropicália). I met Machado to discuss why now was the time to make a movie about tropicália, what made the movement so special and why people just can’t seem to forget these two years of Brazilian history.
Machado first encountered tropicália when just a child: “This was the first music that I gave attention to. When I was 10 years old they had this festival on TV [The TV Record Pop Music Festival in July 1967] so I watched Caetano Veloso sing “Alegria, Alegria”, Os Mutantes with Gilberto Gil [singing] “Domingo No Parque”. The first thing that I understand now is that I couldn’t understand the lyrics. At the same time I was listening to The Beatles and Rolling Stones and I couldn’t understand [them] either because it was in English.”
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