BRAZIL / 1988 / PORTUGUESE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 100 MIN
The name ‘Natal da Portela’ is historically attached to the cultural identity of Brazil. Natal da Portela created the first escola de samba in Rio de Janeiro. The schools of samba are the soul of carnival in Brazil and major reservoirs of Afro-Brazilian culture. The film depicts the life of Natal da Portela as a young man from the favelas--the slums of the northern part of Rio de Janeiro--up to the creation of “la Portela”, the school of samba he created. The principal role played by Milton Goncalves, one of the major Black actors in Brazil, gives the story an authentic flavor rarely seen in films portraying the contemporary life of Black people in Brazil. This is a film filled with joy, music and laughter. “Natal da Portela” is also a film that narrates the story of contemporary Brazil and the legacy of African people in that country. Several other major actors enrich the story, Zeze Mota well known for her role in “Quilombo” and the dean of Black Brazilian actors, the great Grande Otello much remembered for his major role in Rio Zona Norte and Macunaima just to mention a few titles.