The fourth Brazil Film Fest (not to be confused with the Brazilian Film Festival of Toronto -- I know, it's confusing) kicked off with the movie Besouro, an action-packed historic reenactment of the life and adventures of former slave and capoeira legend Besouro Mangangá.
Besouro was believed to have special powers given to him by the Orixás, the deities of the Candomblé regilion of Brazil and Africa. Some of the best scenes are the ones depicting the Orixás in their natural elements.
Kind of a Brazilian Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, this could be a straight up kung-fu western, with capoeira standing in for martial arts and evil farmhands for cowboys.
The best movie of the festival was Time of Fear (Salve Geral) in which Andréa Beltrão gives an amazing performance as a mother trying to free her jailed son the day that São Paulo was seized by criminals (which really happened in 2006). This movie would be a stronger contender for the Oscars than Lula, but maybe not as good PR for Brazil.
On the other hand, Elvis & Madona, one of the more promising movies in the festival was rather disappointing. Unconvincing performances, a weak script and no shots of the beach made this Copacabana-based feature a little disappointing.
The Fest ends on Sunday with the screening of two Brazilian Music documentaries.