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Weekend Recommendation: Favela Rising

June 7, 2007

Anderson Sa of AfroReggae & Life in the FavelasAnyone who knows me will tell you that Brazil, her music and people, hold a very special place in my heart. I have been either involved in, or been developing film projects related to Brazil since my first trip there in 1999.

There are a number of wonderful films out there which will give you fascinating insight into the culture, but none that will amaze you more than Favela Rising.

Forget Remember the Titans. Forget Rocky. Hollywood screenwriters seldom make up stories as good as the one you’ll hear in Favela Rising. It’s the true story of rapper, musician, community leader and cultural icon, Anderson Sá and his band & community movement, AfroReggae.

It would likely do the film an injustice if I were to try to summarize Jeff Zimbalist & Matthew Mochary’s film. To a certain extent it warrants going into this documentary without too much of an idea of what it is about. But let’s just say this, the favelas of Rio de Janeiro are often the home of stories of great violence and poverty not only in movies such as City of God (Cidade de Deus) but in daily news coverage. Often the stories are harrowing and seemingly lack any heroes, only victims.

Favela Rising is the story of not just one hero, but a community of heroes led by the powerful example of Anderson Sá. The music is powerful, the personalities vibrant and if you aren’t left with a lump in your throat by the end, check your pulse. This is one film to be played loud and shared with family and friends.

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