The Portuguese title roughly translates as "missing the future," the paradoxical notion filmmakers Marie-Clémence and Cesar Paes use to describe the emotional predicament of hundreds of indigent Brazilians who, each year, leave their impoverished, drought-stricken homes in the country's northeast for the hope of a better future in the country's fifth largest city, San Paolo. Like many indigent travelers, the optimism of the Nordestinos is tempered by homesickness and the harsh realities of their lives, including poverty, low-level employment and ethnic discrimination. But along with their dreams of the future, the Nordestinosalso bring a rich musical heritage, in particular an interesting musical form known as the repente. Like rap, the repente is characterized by improvised, rhyming verse that's often tossed back and forth with lightning speed between two repentistas in contests of wit and ingenuity. Accompanied by little more than their tambourines, the repentistas take on a wide range of subjects from romance, heartache and cheating spouses to class difference, homelessness and the national debt all crammed into six-stanza verse and delivered in an ear-ringing hail of heavily accented Portuguese. At the heart of the repentista show, however, is the trading of insults, when (in much the same manner as the African-American tradition of "playing the dozens") the poets fire off one dis after another in a verbal death match. The sounds of the Nordestinos is the focus of this colorful documentary, a smooth blend of sociology and music, but when Paeses aren't spotlighting a particular musician, their restless camera wanders the city like an intrepid tourist. They visit different neighborhoods and meet with Nordestinos from all levels of society, from factory workers and dockhands to a museum curator and the former mayor of San Paolo, a true Nordestino success story who nevertheless faces prejudice on a daily basis. The film doesn't provide any narration or go out of its way to identify the participants, so it's left to the viewer to make connections and draw their own conclusions. Pulling it all together, however, is the music of Nordestinos and their occasionally crude, sometimes rude, always eloquent poetry.
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- Released: 2000
- Rating: NR
- Review: The Portuguese title roughly translates as "missing the future," the paradoxical notion filmmakers Marie-Clémence and Cesar Paes use to describe the emotional predicament of hundreds of indigent Brazilians who, each year, leave their impoverished, drought-… (more)