Wednesday, December 01, 2004

SEE: Bossa Nova (2000)

I saw Bossa Nova for the second time. It's one of my sentimental favorites. It's a Brazilian romantic comedy that takes place in Rio de Janeiro. Oh, Rio! How I want to go there! I let out a gasp each time a random scenic shot appeared feautring different parts of the city, mainly the coastal views. So friggin' beautiful.

Anyway, I love this funny, entertaining and endearing film about the chance meetings between men and women. It's a great ensemble movie that is both in Portuguese and English. The film centers around Maryann who is an American ESL teacher working in Rio. She's surrounded by a colorful cast of Brazilian characters, most of whom are her students. Pedro Pablo, an attorney who is divorcing his wife, sees her by chance in the elevator and is instantly attracted to her. He enrolls himself in her English class and the fun ensues.

The other characters are Pedro Pablo's half brother who falls for Sharon, Pedro Pablo's law intern. Then there is Nadine, one of Maryann's pupils, who is carrying on an Internet romance with a man in the U.S. Finally, there is Maryann's other private English student, Acacio, who puts the moves on Maryann.

Coming back from Argentina caused me to enjoy this movie even more. I could understand and appreciate the Latin American culture that underlies the film that before I didn't recognize. Surprisingly, one of the minor characters was Argentine, which I never realized the first time I saw it because I couldn't tell the guy was speaking in Spanish. That's how clueless I was about Spanish - I couldn't tell it apart from Portuguese. Anyway, it was comforting to see and recognize Latin American culture. I mean where else in the world would it be normal to wear a black strapless dress to a funeral? The little details such as the way people dress, greet each other, and express emotion stood out to me, making me think, that is so Latin American. When you notice cultural things like that it just makes watching movies a more enriching experience. Well, at least for me. It's that anthropology degree again.

Another highlight of this movie, besides the fun storyline, is the music. Needless to say, the soundtrack was mainly bossa nova. You get your expected dose of Tom Jobim and Getz. The sensual, ethereal quality of bossa nova is fitting for this romantic comedy.

::5 stars::