Moro No Brasil

While many have attempted to document Brazil’s unmatched musical richness few have succeeded in tapping into the traditional roots of the country’s most popular rhythms like Finnish filmmaker Mika Kaurismäki has. In Moro No Brasil, Kaurismäki sets out to explain the cultural and historical significance of the country’s oldest and most celebrated musical (and inherently religious) rituals, beginning with the few remaining Fulni-Ô Indians at Brazil’s northern tip. From there, the internationally acclaimed director travels south through the North Eastern states of Pernambuco and Bahia, exploring the ceremonial rhythms of Maracatu, Frevo and Coco, a style that utilised rapid-fire lyrical improvisation long before hip-hop stepped to the microphone. What makes this film so interesting, and also a little difficult to digest in one sitting, is the sheer wealth of information contained within, as Kaurismäki gained complete access to some of the most influential names in each of the treated musical genres (a couple of whom passed away shortly after the film’s completion). The story ends up, of course, in Rio’s historic Mangueira favela, where a novice Seu Jorge is just beginning to craft his debut CD, and where samba de mesa is as common as a morning cup of coffee. This film fills in the gaps so many Carnaval news reports often fail to clarify. (Magnatel, www.moronobrasil.com)