Quilombo | Chicago Reader

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This is almost a by-the-numbers Brazilian film (1984)—the bright colors, bouncy music, teasing eroticism, and political lessons seem like the familiar elements of a formula—but there's some genuine charm and dynamism in it too. It's the story of Palmares, the most famous of the mountain villages (quilombos) formed by runaway slaves in 17th-century Brazil; presided over by the legendary chief Ganga Zumba, it survived for two generations before falling to the Portuguese colonial troops. Director Carlos Diegues (Bye Bye Brazil) does best with the spectacular musical numbers, which seem the work of a Busby Berkeley hopped up on Frantz Fanon; the dialogue passages merely shuffle the usual slogans. With Zeze Motta, from Diegues's Xica. In Portuguese with subtitles. 119 min.

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