The Imaginary Brazil in Contemporary Film, Fashion and Design

I. Film

To get at the larger issues related to favelization, I first turn to the fictional film City of God (2002) and the documentary Waste Land (2010). I begin a discussion of favelization by discussing music videos, movies and documentaries because these types of cultural production has been most effective in molding, changing or reinforcing perceptions of the favela in Brazil and abroad. The overwhelming number of movies released since 1996 about Rio de Janeiro’s slums or the city’s history of crime, combined with their far-reaching international dissemination, means that images of the favela reached a large number of people, most of whom have never entered one. Furthermore, movies provide a context for the exploration of three themes recurrent in favelization: interpretation, transcendence, and domination. 

City of God  

Drama. 2002.

Location of Production: Brazil.  

Director: Fernando Meirelles (Brazil).

From top left to bottom right, 

1. Movie Trailer, "City of God", 2002. [Director's name???].

2. Movie Poster, "City of God", 2002. [Director's name???].

3-4. Still Images, "City of God" , 2002. [Director's name???]. 

Waste Land 

Documentary. 2010.

Location of Production: Brazil, UK.  

Directors: Lucy Walker, Karen Harley, João Jardim (Brazil). 

From top left to bottom right, 

1. Movie Trailer, "Waste Land", 2010. [Director's name???]. 

2. Movie Poster, "Waste Land", 2010. [Director's name???].

3-4. Still Image, "Waste Land", 2010. [Director's name???].

5. Website of Phillips (auction house), exhibiting that Marat (Sebastiao) Pictures of Garbage (2008) by Vik Muniz was sold for £34,850.

Music Videos Featuring Favelas 

From top left to bottom right in chronological order (Title, Country, Musician(s), Year):

1. Ratamahatta, Brazil/USA, [Fred Stuhr] (music by Sepultura), 1996

2. They Don't Care About Us, USA, [Spike Lee] (music by Michael Jackson), 1996

3. Beautiful, USA, [Chris Robinson] (music by Snoop Dogg; features Pharell), 2003

4. Don’t Lie, USA, [A&M Records] (music by Black Eyed Peas), 2005

5. Minha Alma (A Paz Que Eu Não Quero) / My Soul (The Peace I Do Not Want), Brazil, [Kátia Lund/Breno Silveira/Paulo Lins] (music by O Rappa), 2007

6. Say Hey (I Love You), USA, Michael Franti & Spearhead, 2009

7. Na Favela / In the Favela, USA/Brazil, [Don Blanquito/Rex Kudo/Idan “Proper” Kalai/DJ F2/Carlos Haynes] (music by Don Blanquito), 2011


Songs Featuring Favela

Real as It Gets, Jay Z (USA), 2009. 

"Uh, close your eyes you can smell

Hovs the audio equivalent of braille

That's why the feel me in the favelas in Brazil

And Waterhouse cause real recognise real"


Films Showing Favelas Released Between 1934 and 2012

Year Original Title Title in English Genre Country Director(s)
1934 Favela Dos Meus Amores Favela of My Loves Drama Brazil Humberto Mauro
1939 Favela Favela Short/Musical Brazil Luiz de Barros
1954/5 Rio 40 Graus Rio 100 Degrees Farenheit Semi-documentary Brazil Nelson Pereira dos Santos
1957 Rio Zona Norte Rio's Northern Zone Drama Brazil Nelson Pereira dos Santos
1959 Black Orpheus Black Orpheus Comedy/Drama/Romance France Marcel Camus
1960 Favela Favela Drama Brazil/Argentina Armando Bo
1962 Cinco Vezes Favela Five Times Favela Drama Brazil Miguel Borges, Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, Carlos Diegues, Marcos Farias, and Leon Hirszman
1976 Otália da Bahia Otália from Bahia Drama French Mercel Camus
1988 Brasilianische Protokolle Brazilian Protocols Documentary West Germany Detlef Gumm and Hans-Georg Ullrick
1992 Brasilianische Protokolle 2 Brazilian Protocols 2 Documentary Germany Detlef Gumm and Hans-Georg Ullrick
1992 Boca de Lixo The Scanvengers Documentary Brazil Eduardo Coutinho
1994 Solo, de wet van de favela Solo, the Law of the Favela Documentary Netherlands Jos de Putter
1996 Ratamahatta Ratamahatta Music Video Brazil/USA Fred Stuhr (music by Sepultura)
1996 They Don't Care About Us They Don't Care About Us Music Video USA Spike Lee (music by Michael Jackson)
1999 Babilônia 2000 Babylon 2000 Documentary Brazil Eduardo Coutinho
1999 Notícias de uma Guerra Particular News From a Personal War Documentary Brazil Kátia Lund and João Moreira Salles
1999 Orfeu Orpheus Drama Brazil Carlos Diegues
2000 Palace II Palace II Short Brazil Kátia Lund and Fernando Meirelles
2002 Cidade de Deus City of God Drama Brazil Fernando Meirelles
2002 Gaudí en la favela Gaudí in the favela Documentary Spain Sergio Oksman
2002 Uma Onda No Ar Something in the Air Drama Brazil Helvécio Ratton
2002 Cidade dos Homens City of Men TV Series Brazil Regina Casé, Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund, Paulo Morelli, Paulo Lins, and Philippe Barcinski
2003 Beautiful Beautiful Music Video USA Chris Robinson (music by Snoop Dogg; features Pharell)
2003 Ônibus 174 Bus 174 Documentary Brazil José Padilha, Felipe Lacerda
2005 Don't Lie Don't Lie Music Video USA A&M Records (music by Black Eyed Peas)
2006 Surfing Favela Surfing Favela Documentary Argentina Natalia Bacalini and Mazimiliano Ezzaoui
2006 TV Morrinho TV Morrinho TV Series Brazil Four episodes created by TV Morrinho for Nickelodeon (Brazil)
2007 Cidade dos Homens City of Men Drama Brazil Paulo Morelli
2007 Manda Bala Send a Bullet Documentary Brazil/USA Jason Kohn
2007 Minha Alma (A Paz Que Eu Não Quero) My Soul (The Peace I do Not Want) Music Video Brazil Kátia Lund, Breno Silveira and Paulo Lins (music by O Rappa)
2007 Mos Def in City of God Mos Def in City of God TV Series Canada Shoshana Guy and Josh Thome
2007 Tropa de Elite Elite Squad Drama/Thriller Brazil Jóse Padilha
2008 Favela on Blast Favela on Blast Documentary Brazil/USA Leandro HBL and Wesley Pentz
2008 The Incredible Hulk The Incredible Hulk Action/Science fiction USA Louis Leterrier
2009 Only When I Dance Only When I Dance Documentary UK Beadie Finzi
2009 Dancing with the Devil in the City of God Dancing with the Devil in the City of God Documentary UK John Blair
2009 Say Hey (I Love You) Say Hey (I Love You) Music Video USA Michael Franti & Spearhead
2010 Favela Rising Favela Rising Documentary USA Matt Mochary and Jeff Zimbalist
2010 Tropa de Elite 2: O Inimigo Agora É Outro Elite Squad 2: The Enemy Within Drama/Thriller Brazil Jóse Padilha
2010 The Expendables The Expendables Action USA Sylvester Stallone
2010 Waste Land Waste Land Documentary Brazil/UK Lucy Walker, Karen Harley, and João Jardim
2010 5x Favela, Agora por Nós Mesmos 5x Favela, Now For Ourselves Drama Brazil Cacau Amaral, Cadu Barcelos, Luciana Bezerra, Manaira Carneiro, Rodrigo Felha, Wagner Novais, and Luciano Vidigal
2011 Fast Five Fast Five (a.k.a. Fast & Furious 5 or Fast & Furious 5: Rio Heist) Action/Thriller USA Justin Lin
2011 Mais X Favela More X Favela TV Series Brazil Luciano Vidigal
2011 Na Favela In the Favela Music Video USA/Brazil "Don Blanquito, Rex Kudo, Idan ""Proper"" Kalai, DJ F2, Carlos Haynes"
2011 Rio Rio Animation USA Twentieth Century Fox Animation & Blue Sky Studios
2011 Rio Breaks: a story about surfing and survival Rio Breaks: a story about surfing and survival Documentary USA Justin Mitchell
2011 Urban Survivors Urban Survivors Documentary USA Global Roach (production company)
2011 Suburbia Suburbia TV Series Brazil Luiz Fernando Carvalho for Rede Globo

Background image by Adriana Kertzer. All rights reserved.