Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Nutty Boy, by Ziraldo

"The Nutty Boy" - movie and book

This week I watched "Menino Maluquinho" [The Nutty Boy] again. This 2007 movie is based on a very popular homonymous children book published for the first time in 1980. My mom gave me this book (not exactly the one in the picture - I bought this one some time ago in a "book machine" in a subway station in São Paulo) when I was 7 or 8 and I remember to have enjoyed it a lot.

The book was written and drawn by Ziraldo Alves Pinto (he's known simply as Ziraldo), a very known Brazilian cartoonist. His biography can be read here (in English).

That's what the Nutty Boy look like:

"Once upon a time there was a nutty boy."

And that's Samuel Costa, the actor who played the role of the Nutty Boy in the movie:

Samuel Costa and Ziraldo

The Nutty Boy is a very lively boy. He's loved by his parents and all of his friends. He enjoys playing soccer and other games. All the girls are in love with him because he's very romantic - he writes poems for them and also draws flowers in their notebooks and hearts in the trees.

"For some people he was a uirapuru*"

* "uirapuru" is a kind of bird that sings very well

"for others he was a saci**"

** "saci" is a character from the Brazilian folklore (it's a black boy with a single leg who smokes a pipe and wears a red cap). More about saci can be read here.

The movie is very well adapted and the story is set in the State of Minas Gerais (region where Ziraldo, the author, was born). The era is the 70's, when children played a lot in the streets - and less with videogames and electronic games.

Homework on Brazilian History made by the Nutty Boy

I think this book is a great homage to children and to the time they have before being a grown up. Even after more than twenty years I still like it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Way He Looks, by Daniel Ribeiro

Yesterday I went to the movies to watch "The Way He Looks", a Brazilian movie directed by Daniel Ribeiro. In Portuguese its title is "Hoje eu quero voltar sozinho" [Today I Want to Come Back Alone].

The session was crowded, something very uncommon for a Brazilian movie on a Tuesday night. And the audience laughed, commented, sometimes shouted something about a scene and at the end many clapped their hands - something REALLY unusual in Brazil.

Daniel Ribeiro

A couple of years ago I watched the shortfilm called "I Don't Want to Go Back Alone" (2010), also directed by Daniel Ribeiro, because other cinema lovers commented it was very good in the social community Filmow (nowadays it's the greatest community for cinephiles in Brazil). And it was great to see the trailer of "The Way He Looks" at the movies at the beginning of this year. I was anxious to watch it.

The shortfilm can be watched on YouTube (with subtitles in English):

The movie presents the same plot, but the characters (Giovana, Leonardo and Gabriel) are more developed, which makes the story even more interesting.

Leo(nardo) is a blind teenager and his best friend is Gi(ovana). They study together in a common school for not blind people. In some cities there are schools only for blind people.

After summer vacation, a new student enters the classroom, sits behind Leo and soon they three become friends.

At school Leo has to deal with some silly classmates, who are always trying to make a fool of him. And at home he has to deal with his overprotective mother.

Some typical issues of adolescence are also portrayed: Leo has never kissed anyone yet (and seems to be curious about it); Leo and Gi have a struggle; Leo wants to be more independent; how some people can be stupid on dealing with blind/different people (bullying); the discovery of love and sexuality.

The plot is simple, but the movie is very very beautiful! Little by little Gabriel shows Leo different things (like going to the movies, "seeing" an eclipse, how to dance, how to ride a bike) and Leo tries to tell him how it is to be a blind. I think love comes (also) from this effort of both of the boys trying to understand each other's world and make this something special and pleasant.

 Gabriel and Leo dancing to the sound of Belle and Sebastian

What amazes me is that Leo could not see Gabriel, but he falls in love with him - he loves the way Gabriel makes him feel. Leo could have fallen in love with Gi (who is a really lovely girl too), but it didn't happen. Who explains love?

Maybe this movie is being very successful because many of us (Brazilians) are lacking "simpler" and more beautiful national movies. On the other hand, some of our other national cinema choices are: movies with violence and poverty; very silly comedies with popular actor/actresses from TV; very dramatic (and sometimes really good) movies. So "The Way He Looks" is kind of different of everything that is being produced in the country nowadays.

I recommend it a lot! ;)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

June 12 – Dia dos Namorados / 'Valentine’s Day'

Different from other countries where ‘Valentine’s Day’ is celebrated on February 14, ‘Dia dos Namorados’ (equivalent of Valentine’s Day) is celebrated on June 12 in Brazil. Couples generally exchange gifts and have a romantic dinner. 
Why June 12? It is been said the date was stated by tradesmen, who wanted to increase their sales, and because it is related to Saint Anthony’s Day (June 13), known as a marriage saint in Catholic Church.

Today Google chose two famous child characters to illustrate its ‘doodle’: Mônica (Monica) and Cebolinha (Jimmy Five – because he has only five strands of hair). 

Mônica was created by Mauricio de Sousa in the 60’s and was inspired by one of his daughters, and in 1970 she got her own comic book. 

Monica's Gang first edition, 1970

Nowadays ‘Monica’s Gang’ comics still can be found in newsstands and bookshops and there is also a teen version of the gang – Monica’s Gang Teen - since 2008, which is designed in manga style.

Monica’s Gang was part of my childhood and most of children from the 70’s and 80’s probably read their stories too. These stories had to do with our own lives - Brazilian culture was (and still must be) present in every comic -, so it was really great to read them.

To know a bit more about this lovely gang, click here (in English) or here (in Portuguese).

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Portuguese Language Museum

Museu da Língua Portuguesa [Portuguese Language Museum] is  one of my favorite places in São Paulo. I’ve gone there several times – in general with friends to present it to them – and I always see something new, a detail, an angle, a word, beyond the exhibitions on the first floor that change from time to time. In 2007 it hosted a really beautiful exhibition on Clarice Lispector – one of my favorite Brazilian writers, maybe my favorite one. I remember there were some ‘furniture’ with drawers that could be open (sometimes you needed a ladder to reach these drawers) and then you could see hand-written texts or personal letters. The last exhibition I saw there was Oswald de Andrade’s – comparing to other exhibitions it was not so good.

Fernando Pessoa (Portuguese poet), temporary exhibition, 2010

The museum was inaugurated in March of 2006 and is placed in the building of Luz [Subway/Train] Station, built in 1867, remodeled in 1901 and restored along the last century. It presents a British architecture of the beginning of the 20th century, so the similarity between its clock tower and the Clock Tower [which people call ‘Big Ben’] in London is not a coincidence. As the subway/train station still works, the best way to get to Museu da Língua Portuguesa using public transportation is taking the subway train to Estação da Luz (Luz Station – blue line).

Luz Train Station

As you leave the elevator on the second floor (the first one are dedicated to temporary exhibitions), you can see and hear projections of people speaking about Brazilian culture in Portuguese – these images are projected along a 106-meter [348-feet] screen on the wall. On this floor you can also play with words in Beco das Palavras [Words Alley] – if you and other players are able to join syllables projected on a table and form a word you can read/hear its meaning and curiosities; there are several syllables ‘swimming’ on the table. Another great thing to see is an area where you can hear different accents spoken in Brazil and in other Portuguese-speaking countries like Angola and Mozambique.

Entrance of the 2nd floor 

Beco das Palavras [Words Alley], 2nd floor

On the third floor, the most amazing experience of the museum: Praça da Língua [Language Square], where famous artists read Brazilian and Portuguese poems and small texts while words, sounds and images related to the text being read are projected on the ceiling and walls – as the room is dark, it seems you’re looking at a wonderful night sky full of shining stars-words. At the end of the projection these poems and texts can be seen/read on the floor. Even if you don’t speak Portuguese this is an amazing experience.

Praça da Língua [Language Square]

We can only live near another one,
and know another person without fearing hate,
if we have love.

Any love is already a
little of health,
a rest in the crazyness.

~João Guimarães Rosa, Brazilian writer (1908-1967)

The museum is in a central area of São Paulo and other interesting nearby places to visit are: Pinacoteca (Art Museum in front of the Portuguese Language Museum) and Estação Pinacoteca (Art Museum Station). Next to Pinacoteca there’s a garden/park with sculptures but nowadays there are prostitutes working there.

Tip: the central area is not the safest place of the city, so avoid carrying great amounts of cash, credit cards, jewelry and expensive belongings.


Museu da Língua Portuguesa
Praça da Luz, Centro
São Paulo,SP - Brasil

Opening Hours
Ticket office: Tuesday through Sunday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Museum: Tuesday through Sunday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Closed: On Mondays throughout the year (including holidays); January 1st; Carnival Tuesday; December 24th, 25th and December 31st.

Ticket Sales/Admissions

Payment can be made only in cash.
Full price: R$ 6,00 (around US$ 3)
Half-price: R$ 3,00 (around US$ 1.50)
On Saturdays admissions are free.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

'If I catch oh my God'

Brazil was ‘discovered’ by Pedro Álvares Cabral, a Portuguese navigator and explorer, in 1500, when he was sailing to reach India (from Portugal), according to a teacher I had when I was 7. [I had to memorize this information because she would ask it in our History test later.] It was a colony of Portugal, that’s why we speak Portuguese and not Spanish like other countries in Latin America.

Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world but its population is distributed irregularly – sometimes it seems 90% of the population (whose total was around 191,000,000 in 2010) live in the city of São Paulo, mainly when you have to take the subway train during rush hour.

Even if Rio de Janeiro is our most famous city, it’s not the capital – Brasília (Distrito Federal) is. I guess Rio is now more widely known because of the animated film Rio (2011), directed by Carlos Saldanha. Places we see in the film really exist – it’s amazing. And maybe people are more interested in Brazil because we’ll host the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016.

As I’m not a big fan of soccer, samba, Carnival and Michel Teló (incredibly one of the most famous Brazilian singer nowadays, here and abroad – have you ever listened to this: ‘Wow Wow / This way you’re gonna kill me / Oh if I catch, Oh my God, if I catch you / Delicious, delicious’? If not, I’m sure you will – it doesn’t matter if you’re in Hawaii, China or Bangladesh), I’ll try to show you Brazil as I see it. See Brazil through my eyes.

Reference sites:
- Biblioteca Virtual (data of the city of São Paulo)
- IBGE - Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (population statistics of Brazil)
- Espaço Educar (map of Brazil)
- IMDb (animated movie Rio)
- YouTube (music video by Michel Teló, song 'If I catch you')