Inspired by the legendary tenor's popular 1995 concert on Miami Beach (literally on the beach), Dutra has arranged for a 20-by-40-foot screen, plus gargantuan surround-sound speakers, to be set up in the sand behind the now-defunct Cadillac Hotel at 39th Street and Collins Avenue. The Rio de Janeiro native is hoping to arrange a marriage between Brazil's outdoor-party tradition and this nation's love of cinema. The idea "is to create a showroom for Brazilian film in Miami," she explains. And to call attention to young filmmakers who represent what she terms "a new moment in Brazilian film." This year's festival offers a program of twelve features and ten shorts -- to be screened at the Colony Theater and Alliance Cinema -- as well as the first-time presentation of the Lente de Cristal (Crystal Lens), a juried award given out in traditional categories such as best director and best actress. Also, audiences will vote to determine a best of festival award for both shorts and feature-length entries.
Although Dutra likes the populist notion of enticing American filmgoers with a blockbuster-style screening, she resists the idea that the Brazilian film industry -- which produces approximately 100 films per year -- is going to mimic Hollywood. "With the money that Hollywood spends [on one movie], we could do at least five films and they would be better," she notes. "Hollywood films are just ready-made products that you put the people into. In Brazil, cinema is not like that. We talk about ideas."
To prove Dutra's point -- or perhaps to dispute it -- the festival will include panel discussions with twenty-odd Brazilian directors and actors. For film buffs, however, the real treat may be a chance to see works such as At Midnight with Glauber, a stream-of-consciousness tribute to renowned Brazilian producer Glauber Rocha.
And if Dutra is right, no one will miss that certain ship bearing Leonardo DiCaprio.
-- Robin Dougherty
The Brazilian Film Festival of Miami begins Saturday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m. on the sand at 39th Street and Collins Avenue in Miami Beach. Admission is free. Subsequent screenings take place April 6 through 12 at the Colony Theater ($7), and April 6 through 9 at the Alliance Cinema ($6). The closing ceremony and party begin at 9:30 p.m. April 12 at the Colony ($40). Films are presented in Portuguese with English subtitles. Panel discussions in English, Spanish, and Portuguese follow most screenings. Call 859-9467.