THE beguiling "Saudad do Futuro" is a
rare Brazilian film to reach this country that does not wax
romantic about Rio de Janiero; it is a musical tribute to
bustling Sao Paolo, the world's sixth-largest city.
Saudad, a word with no exact English translation, is
a kind of sorrowful nostalgia for the past, which in Sao Paolo
invariably seems to be combined with an anticipation of the
There is no narration in Cesar Paes' kaleidoscopic,
impressionistic view of the city. There are brief interviews
with residents who are not specifically identified - including
a former mayor, a disc jockey, a housekeeper, a famous
sculptor, a cab driver, a couple gyrating sexily at a night
They are all Nordestinos, among the tens of
thousands of refugees who have streamed to Sao Paolo from
Brazil's drought-stricken northeast. So are the street
troubadours - repentistas - peasants whose
lively performances, nimbly translated to rhyming English,
form the backbone of this documentary.
Their improvised, lightning-fast refrains - a forerunner of
rap music - comment daily on politics, philosophy and their
audiences, usually in a humorous and sometimes vulgar manner.
It's the repentistas - particularly the endearingly
mocking duo of Sonhador et Peneira - who make "Saudad do
Futuro" a summer delight that also provides a quick cultural
SAUDAD DO FUTURO
Tuneful Brazilian musical
Running time: 94 minutes.
with English subtitles.
Not rated (vulgar lyrics).
Film Forum, Houston Street, between Sixth Avenue and Varick