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! ;)