Thanks to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games being held in Rio de Janeiro, much of the world’s attention is currently focused on Brazil. Unfortunately, a lot of the stories being told by the media tend to be about the various problems Brazil has — both as a country and as an Olympic host. From ongoing worries about the Zika virus and the water quality in Rio, to concerns about the Olympic Village infrastructure and state-sponsored athlete doping, there is definitely plenty of negative stories to be told about this year’s Games.
That being said, there is also plenty to love about Brazil that has nothing to do with the Olympics or even sports in general. For example, Brazilians have made important contributions to the world of cinema. With that in mind, here are five great Brazilian movies — in no particular order — that entertain, educate, provoke, and provide insights into this country’s rich cultural history.
5. Black Orpheus (1959)
Although this Academy Award-winning film was made by French director Marcel Camus, the movie takes place in Rio de Janeiro during the annual Carnaval celebration and was produced with the help of a Brazilian production company. Starring Breno Mello and Marpessa Dawn, this film is a modern retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.
Besides winning an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, Black Orpheus also garnered the prestigious Palme D’Or award at the 1959 Cannes Film Festival. The film is notable for its stunning footage of Rio de Janeiro and its unforgettable bossa nova soundtrack.