Brazilian film fest on West

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Ty Wright / Valencia Voice

WEST CAMPUS — Capoeira, food and film dominated Friday’s 6th annual Brazilian Film Festival.

The festival aims to introduce Valencia students to Brazilian culture by exposing students to five Brazilian films over the course of just one week. Featuring a world premier of producer Elisa Tolomellis’ “Margaret Mee and the Moonflower” along with modern dramas and classic love stories, this film festival had a range of genres to choose from.

Put together by Valencia Portuguese Professor Richard Sansone, this week of cultural enlightenment has been designed to connect the vastly diverse Valencia community to the vibrant Brazilian culture that is continually growing in Central Florida.

Bringing its own dances, music, films and martial arts, the influence of Brazil’s culture is ever increasing in Orlando’s already diverse community.

Brazil has certainly been in the global spotlight of late. With plans to host both the 2014 Olympics and World Cup, Brazil has certainly defined itself as a modern country prepared to share its culture with the world.

Nowhere is this culture showcased more intimately than in Friday’s feature film “Gonzaga,” a story documenting the strained relationship a of folk music icon and his pop-star son.

Luis Gonzaga grew up as the poor son of an instrument repairman in the rural northeastern portion of Brazil. Struggling to overcome cultural barriers, Gonzaga lamented the restrictions of ethnicity and poverty that plagued his young love life and sought out power and prestige in the Brazilian army.

After his ten years had passed, Gonzaga pursued his music career in Rio and became close friends with another musician and his wife. During his time in Rio, Gonzaga met a beautiful lady by the name of Leah who became the mother of his first child.

While struggling to balance his career as a musician, family life and his wife’s developing tuberculosis, Gonzaga turns to his friend and partner to help raise his son.

“This is not an uncommon arrangement in Brazil,” said Sansone. “Children that are raised by someone else’s parents are commonplace because the notion of extended family is far different in Brazil, than here in the US.”

With an estranged father and a lost mother, Gonza’s child finds refuge from the tumultuous world of his upbringing in his guitar, which ultimately propels him to stardom.

When asked about the impression left by this film, students’ reactions were diverse.

One of Sansones’ students, Alexis, said that “as a baby my dad left me with my grandmother, and thats how I was raised.”

From nostalgia to longing, the first installment of the Brazilian film festival has certainly made its mark on the Valencia community and brought two diverse cultures together.

Films run through the week, ending with the premiere of “Margaret Mee and the Moonflower” on Friday April 12 at 7 p.m., preceded by a reception at 6:30 p.m. at West Campus, Building 3 Room 111.

For more information, and film trailers, visit www.valenciabrazilianfilmfest.com.