Map of the sounds of Boa Viagem

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Noise is the guiding thread in the multitude of stories that O som ao redor uses to depict an upper-middle neighborhood in Recife, Northeastern Brazil. A neighbor’s barking dog drives crazy a sleepless housewife, who figures out how to recover silence: she feeds the animal with a steak filled of sleeping pills, uses a high-frequency sound whistle and even firecrackers. There are also the confusing sounds of voices, cars and electrical appliances added to claustrophobic images of security bars in doors and narrow corridors inside tower buildings. The robbery of car radios on the streets and the fear of the other will cause the opportunistic arrival of security guards, who will secure the streets day and night with blackjacks and walkie-talkies but who will also be the community secrets’ guardians. In this Brazilian movie chosen for competition to the Oscars 2014, we have a pessimistic view of a Brazil far from the touristic postal of social harmony and paradisiacal beaches, more in line with Luiz Ruffato’s’ recent speech at Frankfurt’s Books Fair. Here, neighbors and even family fight each other, beaches are infested with sharks, and racial and social tensions are constantly present. However, not everything is dark in this ensemble movie: the positive contrast is given in the form of a love story, of a young rich man caring for the underdogs, of the former housewife’s creative and comical ways of pleasing herself and of a Brazilian laidback comradeship.

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Habaneceres

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