With 30 years of dedication to cinema, São Paulo-based director from Minas Gerais, Joel Zito Araujo, 67, has more of a documentary than a fictional one. He made his fictional debut only in 2004, with “Filhas do vento”, about two sisters reuniting, decades later, in a city within the state of Minas Gerais.
As a young girl, dancer Phi Phi charmed her friends. First the pudding, then the rocky. He left, with plans, bad mistakes, 20 years old and a heart, says the song “A Rita”, which Chico Buarque released on his debut album, in 1966. Himself in the story.
The dynamic between the two protagonists is one of the highlights of the film. “I wanted to put them on as fat and skinny,” says the director, who waited nearly a year for filming, until Elton Grassa had time in his schedule to shoot the movie. “I haven’t seen another guy do Pudim, because he’s an actor who switches easily between comedy and drama and he’s also a samba dancer.” The cast also includes actresses Léa Garcia and Elisa Lucinda as mother and daughter.
Joel Zito tells the story in documentary style. The feature was filmed at Bexiga and in the full presence of Vai-Vai members. “I was born as a black neighborhood. Its DNA is Córrego do Saracura, where the blacks who worked in the Paulista area live. Then there are several waves of immigration. Jews, Italians, Northeasters and now Koreans came.”
This mix of cultures is present in the film. “It has brought many things from reality to fiction. The black mass in (Igreja Nossa Senhora) Achiropita, for example. The mixture of Afro-religious happenings in the Italian Saint Church. Vai-Vai was born in Bexiga. But as is customary in Brazil, traces of it have been erased.” Black Origin. I am trying to make this visible.”
For the director, the nearly two-decade gap between his fictional features is due to racism. “It took a long time to consolidate my name. The situation today is more comfortable, but I have always had a hard time raising money. The script for this movie has been around since 1988. Since then I’ve been chasing money. I’ve always been called the ‘Brazilian Spike Lee’ and it didn’t help That never, companies always want the distance.”
For him, the situation has changed dramatically. “This has a lot to do with what my generation has planted. Today, people are becoming aware of the racial issue, and the quota fulfillment has brought in a large number of conscientious and educated black professionals,” he points out.
“Above all, black women have helped a lot in changing Brazil’s self-perception. There is the far right and the longing for slavery, but today there is a much bigger side to this. Diversity has become a real value for most Brazilians.”
(Brazil, 2021, 101 min, by Joel Zito Araujo, with Aylton Graça and Wilson Rabelo) – Premiere at UNA Cine Belas Artes (Room 1, 8:30 p.m.) and at the Centro Cultural Unimed-BH Minas (Room 1, 7:00 M).
series on CCP
Joel Zito is also directing the documentary series PCC: The Secret Power, which premieres on Day 26, on HBO Max. In four episodes, the production is based on the book “Irmãos: Uma História do PCC” by Gabriel Feltran, and presents the historical path of the criminal faction.
Originating in São Paulo, First Capital Command (PCC) has criminal dominance in Brazil’s largest state and continues to expand across the country. Episodes provide an unprecedented overview of the faction in chronological order, from its founding to the present day.