‘O Pai da Rita’ with Ailton Graça, Simple Comedy – 05/21/2022 – Illustrations

As said earlier, a difference in Lázaro Ramos’ “Medida Provisoria” is that it’s made of black people and not black people. The difference is subtle, but it makes sense. The movie “With Blacks” is of interest to any spectator, black, white, Indian, Japanese, Javanese, whoever it is. He tackles racism, but shows instances of acute authoritarianism and capitulation. But also of resistance and dignity.

In “O Pai da Rita” we are initially in another area, the area of ​​”about black” films. We at Saracura – you can also call it Bexiga or, more technically, Bela Vista – are around the Vai-Vai samba school. The composers Pudim, performed by Ailton Graça, and Roque, Wilson Rabelo, live there. Joel Zito Araújo focuses in particular on the first film, which reached Bohemia, the bars in the area, and courtship.

Everything leads us towards the scenic views, like the Italian accent of a restaurant owner in the area, the somewhat submissive personality of the waiter, or even the understanding priest. For scenic as well as traditional. Strictly speaking, it is not about black personalities, but about a large family, where people can quarrel or express different opinions, but in the end everyone understands each other. There is no racism or anti-racism, because whites hardly show up.

In this world of basically a humble and happy middle class, sometimes a beautiful image appears, like the street painting of the face of murdered councilman Marielle Franco, where a figure suddenly appears. These are moments when the film vibrates and lives on.

In the midst of this, the central issues of the plot emerge. The first, endless heartache for Pudding’s abandonment of his beloved Rita. For decades he mourned the disappearance of his beloved from the map – he was not a very loyal man. The second, unexpected appearance on Rita’s stage, the role of Jessica Barbosa, Rita’s first daughter, whom she very much resembles. This is a good result for the text, by the way.

Pudding does the math and soon realizes that he must be the girl’s father. But this paternity is not certain, other candidates present themselves. Then doubt arises. Who will be Rita’s father? The problem will mobilize the entire Saracura community, but for movie purposes it may come a little late.

Prior to that, the film seems, at several moments, to confuse basic and accessory. It is interesting, for example, the liturgy in which Catholic and Umbanda meet in the same rite. But since it doesn’t relate to anything else, it ends up being just as interesting, curious, and even informative.

In addition, there are a lot of conversations between the characters that do not favor the development of the plot. But, think about it, this isn’t just an accessory—it’s as much a part of life that the movie aims to show as it is a part of the central issues.

It gets a little awkward, but never annoying. It just stops and distracts the development of conspiracies. Personally, I missed the working world of the movie. Pudim and Roque live for samba, bohemia, friendship, women. But what do they do? It is an uncomfortable question, but one that cannot be dispensed with.

In “O Mistério do Samba”, a documentary by Carolina Gabor and Lola Poark de Holland, for example, all the Sambestos talk with the same focus about their compositions, samba school life, and the activities they do—one being a wall painter, another railway inspector and so on.

In any case, it is not realistic that Joel Zito seeks to impose his own comedy. What matters in them is, on the contrary, simplicity, the concept of a poet-scientist, of pure people, whose goal in life is only to preserve their belonging to a neighborhood, a samba school, a group of people.

This intention is finally embodied, when the old guard of Vai-Vai appears in force, as if to bless the intents of the film, which seem to coincide with those of the samba schools themselves, which represent an important part of the contribution of blacks to Brazilian culture (such as syncretism ).

The purity that exudes from the characters of “O Pai da Rita” is almost unlike anything from the American Frank Capra films. Despite its limitations, and they do exist, this “about blacks” production wants to do good to those who watch it, black or not, and it would be hard to argue that it does not meet his aspirations.

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