Simonal: ninguém sabe o duro que dei
Brazil, 2009, 83 minutes
Fri, Apr 23 / 6:45 / Kabuki / SIMO23K
Sat, May 01 / 9:45 / Kabuki / SIMO01K
Tue, May 04 / 3:15 / Kabuki / SIMO04K
When Wilson Simonal sings, “Girls in miniskirts are cool,” and a colorful photomontage splashes tropical club-hopping 1960s Rio de Janeiro across the screen, you’ll want to jump up and dance. But a drama of classical proportions ultimately unfolds in this exploration of the spectacular rise and infamous fall of the undisputed king of Brazilian popular music. A towering and much-beloved presence—no other black entertainer in Brazil had his own television show or performed so many concerts—Simonal held his (mostly white) audience in the palm of his hand. Archival footage shows Simonal—smooth, satirical and sarcastic—as he sings and hobnobs with a stream of celebrities, including memorable moments with an evidently smitten Sarah Vaughn. But a military dictatorship ruled his country ruthlessly, with daily arrests, torture and murder. Simonal enlisted the dreaded National Information Service to resolve a dispute with his accountant and then, whether from arrogance or naïveté, declared he was one of them. True or not, his career was finished. Family members, musician contemporaries like Paulo Moura and Tony Tornado, football legend Pelé, journalists, editors and television producers all give voice to the cultural and political complexities of the period, while addressing vital questions: Was Simonal a tropical happy face for repression and censorship? Were his critics ideologues and racists? Was he self-destructive? Even the abused accountant weighs in. From this masterful, multifaceted account emerges a modern-day Icarus, his downfall coming only after ascension to the dizziest heights of fame.
GGA Documentary Feature Contender.