Time has passed by like a speeding train. We have spent close to a month here in Curitiba, a small city in the south of Brazil that sits inland about 100 miles from the lovely ocean that littered our blog before. The beautiful dream-like atmosphere of Rio is far different from the concrete jungle of this city. Influenced heavily by Europe, Curitiba seems like a different country from my experience in Rio.
We have spent much of our time with Rob's huge, incredible family. A mix of Italian and Brazilian backgrounds, the many branches of his family contain pockets of charisma, beauty, and guile that is new to me given my smaller American family experience. The bonds that connect them also pale in comparison. A talk with some family friends one day at lunch turned into an interview, where they described their family dynamic as a group dynamic; where the individual identity disappears and each person becomes a part of a larger family identity. If one member has a problem, the responsibility is not solely on that individual to fix it, but on the family as a whole to fix it together. In the same vein, the success of one is the success of all.
Now, I know this exists back home, but I tell you, my friends, it is much different here. In the US, we rarely sit down and have dinner as a group anymore -- let alone come together many times a week to share stories, issues, and achievements. Back home, it is the expectation of the individual to go out and make a name for themselves, in order to create another family to keep the name going. Here, it feels more like the mentality of "family" in our social groups, but within the context of the immediate family.
These concepts will be weaving their way into the story of our film, as we explore the unique deeper cultural qualities of this country and its society. To be honest, it has been difficult for me to work through everything I am living through here, and to figure out what it is that we are truly doing. It seems every corner I turn opens a new chapter, which could be an entire new film. The last few weeks, however, have been slower. We have major budgeting concerns, schedule conflicts, and other issues that every film production must confront, and -- as we have done many times -- we will battle through and prevail. I awoke this morning with a renewed energy and optimism. There are some incredible people here with whom we have worked over the last few months. We found a couple of projects here and there to help put bread on the table. Through all of this I realized -- possibly for the first time -- the true magnitude of what we set out here to do (which may be why it has been so scary the last few weeks). But when I think about what we have done (under budgeted and under planned), then I feel relaxed. This is the life of the independent artist. The dreamer who will fight till the end until the big break... right! DAMN RIGHT.
Here is a little snippet of a Video we shot the last night in Rio. Subtitles will be added when we create a larger cut of the film. Please enjoy, share and comment.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
|Fishing ship washed ashore.|
|This ship sat on the beach for a few days, it was an incredible sight.|
|The chandelier which hung above a Portuguese style venue. The building was an old shipping warehouse, about 4 stories tall, each level was designed with rustic style furnishing, finally a small courtyard on the top.|
|A band from the northern part of Brazil provided the music for the evening, as people of all ages danced and celebrated to a saints day.|
|View from the 3rd level, was a magical evening.|
|During a Bossa Nova jam on the beach, Rob and Jim joined the musicians and played a collection of Brazilian and American favorites.|
|Daniel Lobo, our Director of Photography, plays an enormous quica made out of a tree trunk. It comes from Africa, and resembles the sound of the Jungle. In the courtyard of Maracatu drumming school.|
|Jim meets with Bolao, an incredible Samba bateria player. He literally wrote the book on how to transfer Samba onto the drum kit. There will be a video series coming soon from Bolao!|
|Our team with the keeper of Bip Bip. A small cultural hub a block away from the beach of Copa. The history of this place in connection with Bossa made this night one of the best of the trip.|
|Roberto inside Simente, a small club in Lapa.|
|Zé Paulo Becker, with Bernardo Aguiar in Simente.|
|Daniel Jobim grandson of Tom, showing Rob a Jobim song book after a small jam in the studio in his family house.|
|World class Pandero player and friend, Bernardo Magic, showing us the salt hill. This was the center market for the slave trade in Rio Dijenero, and the location of the start of the Samba movement.|
|The Pig House! Originally a place for prostitution it is now a music and artistic complex, surrounded by small venues all sharing one space.|
|Alexandre Garnizé percussion teacher, player and leader. He is a legend, brought us to see his band Abayomy Afro Beat, at the Pig House.|
|Trumpet solo during Fela Kuti's Zombie.|
|Abayomy Afro Beat horn section still. They blasted off that night.|
|3 different shoots in one night. Tired but thrilled. Our last night in Rio.|
|Another incredible Brazillian musician, at a Beach Cafe on the Copa sidewalk.|
|Roge playing in the Lagoa area in Rio. These next are screen stills from the live video edit.|
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Since we have been in Brazil we have been asking locals about Bossa Nova and how it is received today, we have gotten some mixed responses. It seems that the Bossa Nova from the 50's & 60's is dead. However, most musicians believe that the movement is something that lives on in the soul and without it the culture of Brazil would not be what it is today. Obviously it was important and is still alive in some ways. We met a very important samba player named Bolao who talked about Bossa Nova from a "sambistas" perspective. In his mind Bossa Nova drumming did not impact the evolution of samba on the drum set. He did mention that Bossa Nova changed the way the guitar is played by giving it that samba "batida" or beat but that this rhythm was already being played by samba players on a cavaquinho, which is a four stringed instrument kind of like a ukulele. Since a guitar has six strings the chords that were involved in Bossa Nova were important to the style. It became a mix between American jazz chords/harmonics and a Brazilian samba beat. Bolao believes the best way to hear Bossa Nova is instrumentally or with just a guitarist/singer. Bolao has been instrumental himself in the evolution of the drum set. He has been developing new ways of adapting the samba school rhythms onto the drum set. His use of the the double bass pedal is singular. He has written a book whose english translation read the privlage of playing the the samba or batucada. If you have time please check him out online Oscar Bolao. If you have any comments or input on the subject feel free to throw in some comments. THANK YOU
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Dear friends.... it has begun! Over the last 2 weeks we have been making connections, seeing Rio culture, interviewing artists and musicians, shooting, editing, discussing... and walking down the beach to sugar loaf as you can see from my mobile photo uploads. Here is a collection of stills, a mixture of production stills, and screen shots from our first 2 shoots. We will continue to update these posts as we move along, in an effort to quickly update the blog. But our experience has been too rich to just post quickly. We have been working with an unbelievable collection of musicians, videographers, photographers, producers, managers, and as we update we will explain who they are. For now peep these images.
Cast of- Na Rotina dos Bares
Cast of- Na Rotina dos Bares
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
Random thoughts and entries:
Our first week in Rio was incredible. We connected with the Journal do Brazil, a major newspaper here in Brazil since 1891. We are spending this next week working with them and searching through their archives of articles, pictures and stories creating the landscape for the Bossa Nova movement and the culture at the time. Friday we took a cab to see a friends show in Tijuca at the Sao Clemente samba school. They were performing their 10 songs to pick for Carnival. They started the night playing last years song, the Queen of the school came out with their flag, and as she spun around the room, building the energy of the crowd. The colors of the school, black and yellow, littered the place like confetti. 30+ people were on stage banging away each with an individual drum and piece to play, not skipping a beat. 500+ people in the audience, women dancing like a dream, men showing up dancers from the lord of the dance as if they were born to dance.... they were. As the queen danced and pulled energy from the band into the crown the building we were in ignited, (figuratively). I began to cry as the beat of the bateria, and the force of the energy took over my body. It was a life changing experience. It was wonderful. We later found out not only were we in the wrong place, our friend never played there that night, but Sao Clemente was the Samba school that threw a party for Nara Leao as a backlash to Bossa Nova, when she turned her back on the movement. Had we known Sao Clemente had celebrated the death of Bossa Nova, and the rejection of the movement by Nara, I may have not been touched as deeply. It is amazing how things happen as they are meant to be.