i saw beyond ipanema as part of the nw film center’s reel music festival. i’ve been a fan of brazilian music for sometime, it started with astrud gilberto and samba which i discovered in high thanks to a salvation army record purchase. a few years ago i was drawn to the tropicalistas thanks to a tom ze album i randomly got one day. thanks to diplo i found out about baile funk and the sounds of the favelas. over the years i’ve learned a good deal about brazilian music, mainly i wanted to see this movie because i was hoping for footage of the greats.
beyond ipanema is a good starting point to learn about brazilian music but is a letdown in the information department. they had a lot a ground to cover, mainly i don’t think they used their time wisely. we saw the same montages a couple of times, and the talking heads (david byrne, arto lindsay, css, m.i.a., diplo, and a butch of record nerds) went on way too long at times. i will say i could have listened to tom ze talk for hours, he was interesting and funny. there wasn’t enough background information about how the sounds developed, they essentially just skimmed over the history by naming names. another unfortunate thing is that they must not have been able to get the rights to use a lot of the songs. instead we got so so covers or acid jazz remixes.
beyond ipanema, while far from being the encyclopedia of brazilian music i wanted it to be, was still good to see. i did get frustrated by it at times (why spend so much time on nyc’s fredierick douglass academy?), and i didn’t really learn anything new, but i did get to see tom ze. i would still recommend it because of the range of talent it exposes, you’ll end up spending time reseaching the musicians. i only hope one day that all the genres will get their own documentaries. if only i was a film maker.