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Brazilian film week captures country's latest cinematic vision

Walter Salles' "Central Station" and Fernando Meirelles' "City of God" have helped catapult Brazilian films into the world arena. Seven recent titles, including comedy, drama, documentary and a children's film, will be showcased during "Brazilian Film Week" from June 28 to July 4.

Jointly presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the Consulate General of Brazil, the screenings will take place at the Theatre of the Hong Kong City Hall and the Lecture Hall of the Hong Kong Space Museum.

The Brazilian cinema industry has gone through many changes during its long history. The launch of the Cinema Novo (New Cinema) movement in the early 1960s brought in radical stylisation and the creation of a "decolonised" national cinema that reaffirmed the country's cultural and religious heritage.

New talent has proliferated since 1994. Brazilian filmmakers are now more sophisticated, with many having experience in television and advertising production. Instead of the political Brazil which the Cinema Novo filmmakers wanted to reveal, it is an intimate Brazil that they inspire to portray, with emphasis on individual characters.

The opening film, "The Man Who Copied" (2002), is an intriguing work with a mix of fiction, archive images and animation. It is also a collage of genres: comedy, drama, chronicle, romance and tragedy. It tells how a photocopier operator comes up with a murderous plan to make money.

With Lazaro Ramos in the lead role, "Madame Sata" (2002) is based on the legendary life of Joao Francisco dos Santos, one of the most fascinating figures in Brazilian urban folklore. It depicts how Joao Francisco becomes Madame Sata the cabaret star by reacting to the world with rage, violence and creativity. The film won Best Film at the 2002 Chicago International Film Festival, the Special Jury Award at the 2002 Sao Paulo International Film Festival and Best First Work and Best Art Direction at the 2002 Havana Film Festival.

The film, "Up Against Them All" (2004), depicts violence and despair as a way of life. Set in the hazardous suburb of Sao Paulo, it is an urban drama of lies, treachery and revenge, with a shocking and unexpected ending. It received the Silver Firebird Award for Young Cinema at the 28th Hong Kong International Film Festival (2004).

The Brazilian version of "Harry Potter", "Castle Ra Tim Bum" (2000), portrays how a little sorcerer's apprentice makes use of his limited magic power to save the castle and his beloved aunt and uncle. The film won awards at the 2000 Chicago International Children's Film Festivals, the 2001 Cinema Brazil Grand Prix and the Carrousel International du Film de Rimouski 2000.

"A Dog's Will" (2000) is the box-office sensation of Guel Arraes, one of Brazil's most innovative TV directors. The film follows the adventures and misadventures of two young men, who in the course of finding a better life in faraway Spain, encounter romance, hardship, murder and even match their wits against the devil. It won four awards at the 2001 Cinema Brazil Grand Prix, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Actor.

"Santo Forte" (1999) is another masterpiece of Eduardo Coutinho, Brazil's undisputed master of documentary film. It features the religious rituals and customs of the inhabitants of a shanty town south of Rio de Janeiro. Rare footage of the visit of Pope Jean Paul II and the Christmas celebrations make this a fascinating and memorable documentary.

It is not easy for a poor, unmarried mother to find a spouse who can provide financial security, and is also a good cook and a good lover. Inspired by the real life story of a village woman, the sexual comedy, "Me You Them" (2000), tells how Dorlene hooks three husbands who share the roles under the same roof.

All films are in Portuguese and all, except "Castle Ra Tim Bum", have English subtitles.

Tickets priced at $40 are available at URBTIX outlets. Half-price tickets are available for senior citizens, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. There will be a 10% discount for each purchase of six to 10 tickets and a 20% discount for each purchase of 11 or more tickets.

For programme information, call 2734 2900 or visit . Reservations can be made by phone on 2734 9009 or on the Internet at .

Ends/Monday, June 14, 2004
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