Brazilian Cinema Part II Posted by on Oct 9, 2015 in Brazilian Profile, Culture, Video

Olá a todos! (Hey, everybody!)

Mês passado (Last month) we discussed how important movies can be in shaping your understanding of a certain culture and aperfeiçoar (perfecting) your language skills. As a part of this ongoing series on Brazilian cinematic achievements, today’s selection foi baseada (was based) on the Academy Awards. Embora (Though) several Brazilian movies have been indicados (nominated) for the category of Best Foreign Language Film, nosso país (our country) has only won the statuette once for Orfeu Negro (Black Orpheus). As for 2016, the celebrated Que Horas Ela Volta? (The Second Mother) has been elected para concorrer (to run for) next year’s award. Logo (Therefore), my post will talk about these two movies, an Oscar-winner and a possible candidate, and hopefully inspire you to assisti-los (watch them). Peguem a pipoca e vamos lá! (Grab the popcorn and let’s go!)


Orfeu Negro (Black Orpheus) – 1959

A co-production between Brazil, France and Italy and dirigido por (directed by) a French filmmaker named Marcel Camus, Orfeu Negro is widely considered to be a classic of international cinema. Baseado em uma peça (Based upon a play) by the notable escritor e compositor (writer and composer) Vinicius de Morais who, in his turn, adapted it from a Greek legend. The movie retells the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in modern times.

Colorful and visually fascinating, the movie is set in the favelas (slums) of Rio de Janeiro during the frenzied Carnival times. The plot is a story of amor e tragédia (love and tragedy): Orpheus is a streetcar conductor who se apaixona por (falls in love with) the enchanting Eurydice, a woman from the countryside. She is being chased by a mysterious man and eventually disappears. Orpheus must descend into the underworld to encontrar e resgatar (find and rescue) his lover. The film’s compelling and pulsating musical score was composed by the famous Brazilian musician Tom Jobim. Além do Oscar (Besides the Oscar), the movie also won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and is even listed as one of Barack Obama’s most influential films in his book of memoirs.

Que Horas Ela Volta? (The Second Mother) – 2015

This outstanding dramatic comedy conta a história (tells the tale) of the captivating nanny and housekeeper Val, who works for an upper-class family in the city of São Paulo. Val has moved from the north of Brazil – as it typically acontece (happens) with many trabalhadores (workers) that go to the southeastern region of the country in search for melhores oportunidades (better opportunities) – and lives in a quarto pequeno (small room) at an isolated corner of the family’s large house. Her life takes an unexpected turn after a chegada (the arrival) of her estranged filha (daughter), Jéssica, an outspoken and highly intelligent girl, whom she hadn’t seen in mais de dez anos (over ten years).  Jessica comes into town to take the admission exam for a respected university in SP. Her presence alters the dynamics of their household and disrupts the order of master and servant.

Que Horas Ela Volta? is a thought-provoking and beautifully executed movie which addresses the issue of social inequality with a touch of humor and affection, without never attempting to be sermonizing. It is written and directed by the distinguished Anna Muylaert, who also made the great and hilarious Durval Discos (2012).

Keep learning Brazilian Portuguese with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it


  1. Carlos R, Barron:

    I saw the movie last week in Milwaukee aque hora ela volta , “The second Mother” . every body liked it the they applauded after it was over.
    Since I am learning Portugues, in my cel “word of the day”.
    I did not understand too much, but I gor the idea in Portuguese , it was with English sub titles.
    Anyway it was a great drama, I enjoyed a lot.
    Carlos R. Barron

    • carol:

      @Carlos R, Barron Wow! It’s really great to hear that, Carlos.
      I had no idea they were showing it in the movie theaters, it’s nice knowing that.
      I’m glad you enjoyed it!