Antonia Tata Amaral

Antonia is the name of the all-female rap group whose story this Brazilian film tells. Set in a slum of Sao Paolo, four friends dream of musical success while they sing back up for popular local rap group O Poder. Their big break comes when they convince O Poder to let them perform one of their original songs as an opening act. They go over well with the crowd and get signed by a promoter but things quickly go downhill for the women. Mayah (Quelynah) gets kicked out of the band for flirting with Preta’s (Negra Li) ex-husband. The trio is pushed into performing more commercial R&B material and one by one the remaining members (Leilah Moreno, Cindy) begin to abandon their musical dreams as family pressures and unforeseen circumstances encroach. The story shows a pretty bleak view of this poor community, rife with discrimination and denigration of women. The film, however depressing it sometimes gets, does offer an overriding message of empowerment through artistic endeavours and the importance of following dreams. The English translation of the script was distractingly bad, with very stilted dialogue that I hope wasn’t a reflection of the original, but my non-existent Portuguese can't say for sure. The music of the film fortunately transcends such barriers. Created by the four leads, who are real rappers, the soundtrack is fantastic and makes the movie a worthwhile watch. (Coração da Selva)