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DVD Review: Miko Kaurasmaki - Moro No Brasil

For Readers Familiar With Brazilian Music

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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DVD Review: Miko Kaurasmaki - Moro No Brasil

Mika Kaurismaki's Moro No Brazil

Courtesy Magnatel

Finnish filmaker Mika Kaurismaki's Moro No Brasil is a fascinating film documenting one man's search for the roots of Brazilian samba. Covering 4000 kilometers and less known musical styles like frevo, maracatu, coco and embolada, Moro No Brasil is a gem of a travelogue revealing Brazil's rich musical culture and the part music plays in the lives of the Brazilian people.

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Search for the Roots of Samba

Kaurismaki's serach for the roots of samba takes him on a musical pilgrimage that starts in the northeast state of Pernambuco. The first scenes highlight the traditions of the Fulni-O Indian tribe, move on to an interview with a local artisan discussing the craft of making musical instruments and colorful footage of the local population singing and dancing their music. The journey moves on to Caruaru, home of forro, and discussions with Jacinto de Silva and manca master Silverio Pessoa.

From there Kaurismaki takes us to Recife for some primo moments with frevo, then on to Bahia, candomble and some time in concert with Margareth Menezes. Finally reaching Rio de Janeiro, Walter Alfaiate sews clothes and talks/sings about life's experiences in some of the film's most moving segments.

Next up is Seu Jorge, brought up in one of Rio's favelas. He talks about being homeless and aimless for seven years before he decided to be a musician - after all, there was nothing else to do - and started down the path that eventually led to Jorge becoming a household name in his native country.

The Bottom Line

As a travelogue, the film is beautifully shot with National Geographic-type scenes of the Brazilian bush country, dialogues with the local population about their music and their musical world views. Kaurismaki gives us a little bit of everything, from villagers to schoolchildren, country musicians to the concert stage in Rio.

The transitions are a little difficult to follow at times, as are introductions to musicians and musical legends. But it doesn't take long to figure it out and Kaurismaki gives us music and conversation in such natural settings that when the movie is over you feel as if you've been on the trip with him.

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