Another repost of a blog entry I made for Provisions Library (from June 29, 2011):
The documentary attempts to capture the beauty of capoeira while exploring the art forms history, myth, and symbolism. The theme of this documentary is freedom. Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art developed amongst African slaves of Brazil. The modern form of this art is influenced by the streets of Salvador, a large city in the northeast of Brazil.
The film features three renowned capoeira mestres and their work in neglected communities in Salvador. The producers wrote:
“In order to better understand the present state of Capoeira the film traces it back to its African roots. In so doing, we encounter the African gods of Candomble (the indigenous animistic religion of Brazil), Christianity as well as the slavery from which Capoeira has emerged. We hear mythic stories of the legendary Besouro, (the flying capoeirista); as well as accounts of the historical man behind the tales. We meet a young student as she navigates the dangers of her neighborhood by turning to the art of Capoeira.”
For me there are two important connections to the film. First, Mestre Cobra Mansa. I am studying capoeira angola with his group, the International Capoeira Angola Foundation, in Washington, DC. M. Cobra is actively researching the roots of capoeira and shedding light on some of the myths and believes within in capoeira. His research primarily focuses on Angola, a region many of the Brazilian blacks trace their genealogy to. Many capoeira songs also make references to Angola.
Second, one of the students featured in the film, Roque Batista, is someone I have had an opportunity to meet during my trips to Brazil. Capoeira is one of the many art forms used as a vehicle to empower children living in poor neighborhoods and on the streets. Roque was one of many children who live on the streets of Salvador when he found capoeira. He was part of a social projects that taught children capoeira. Through its teachings he pulled himself out of his desolate situation.
Contact the producers to see if you can screen this film for an event.