Macuna?¡ma: An Exciting Film with Magical Elements

Milton Gon?ºalves, acclaimed actor and political activist from Brazil to attend Macuna?¡ma 40th anniversary special screening

By Veronica Jacuinde
Published on LatinoLA: June 15, 2009

Macuna?¡ma: An Exciting Film with Magical Elements

Only a few tickets are left for this year's "Last Remaining Seats" series screening of the 40th Anniversary celebration of Macuna?¡ma, a 1969 Brazilian classic film. Milton Gon?ºalves, one of the stars of the film and one of Brazil's most respected and loved Afro-Brazilian actors will attend the special screening to take place on Wednesday, June 17th at the historical Million Dollar Theatre.

DJ Mochilla will provide the pre-show entertainment with an electric fusion of samba, bossa nova, and batucada while KPFK's "Global Village" producer and Brazilian cultural guru, S?®rgio Mielniczenko, hosts a magical evening which honors the award winning landmark film, Macuna?¡ma, while forging a cinematic link between the rich cultures of Los Angeles and Brazil.

Co-presented by the LA Conservancy and The Latin American Cinemateca of Los Angeles, Macuna?¡ma brings a Latino element to this year's popular and always sold out, "Last Remaining Seats" 2009 series. Before the screening, those lucky enough to attend will be treated to a lively interview of Milton Gon?ºalves, a star of the film and one of the most famous black actors in Brazil having appeared in many television and film productions including Kiss of the Spider Woman, Four Days in September (nominated for an Academy Award) and Orfeu. Also recognized for his political activism as a leader in the Black Movement, Mr. Gon?ºalves will be joined by Dr. Theodore Young, a Harvard Ph.D specializing in Brazilian culture. Moderated by S?®rgio Mielniczenko, the discussion will provide a historical backdrop while highlighting the rich layers of political and social undertones the comedic film incorporates. "I am honored to share the stage with such an important actor in our analysis of a truly monumental film considered a cornerstone work in the Cinema Novo movement," said Dr. Young. "The film is an introspective look at Brazil's cultural and racial heterogeneity, stressing the radical socio-economic differences found between Brazil's three major races - white, indigenous and black."

An exciting film with elements of magical realism, Macuna?¡ma's opening scene begins with an aged white masculine woman (played by Paulo Jos?® who later plays the white version of Macuna?¡ma) giving birth in squatting position to an adult black male (played by Brazil's great black comic, Grande Otelo). What follows is a series of hilarious adventures for the protagonist from finding a pond that magically turns him from black to white, to his marriage to Ci, a solo guerilla fighting the oppressive Brazilian regime. Although a comedy reminiscent of Monty Python fused with elements of Jodorowsky, Macuna?¡ma while wickedly funny is a deeply political film reflecting a dynamic country caught between a harsh military dictatorship (then in full swing) and the anarchic energy of its people.

Adapted from a 1928 M?írio De Andrade novel considered a founding text in Brazilian modernism, Macuna?¡ma was brought to the big screen in 1969 by famed director Joaquim Pedro De Andrade. "We are very excited to introduce Macuna?¡ma to a new audience of film lovers," say's LACLA founder and board member, Michael Diaz. He continues, "We are especially honored to have both Milton Gon?ºalves and Mar?¡a de Andrade, daughter of Joaquim Pedro De Andrade, attending the special screening on the film's 40th anniversary." An official city proclamation from Councilman Jos?® Huizar will be presented in honor of the lasting imprint Joaquim Pedro De Andrade has left on world cinema.

Despite a theater capacity of 1400 at the Million Dollar Theater, the night is almost sold out so make sure to buy your tickets now at: www.laconservancy.org. Don't miss an opportunity to experience a true Brazilian classic film inside an equally regal theater with great sponsors for the evening including the Consulate General of Brazil, Soul Brasil Magazine, ?íLatinoLA!, Brazilian Nites, Brooklyn and Boyle Magazine, and the Latino Professional Network (LPN). Join the fun and buy your tickets online today!

The Latin American Cinemateca of Los Angeles (LACLA) is a cultural/educational organization dedicated to supporting and cultivating every aspect of Latin-American cinema. For more information about the Macuna?¡ma screening or about the LACLA's August outdoor screening of silent Mexican classic film, El Tren Fantasma, featuring an original electronic musical score, please visit www.lacla.org.

About Veronica Jacuinde:
Veronica Jacuinde is the founder of La Luz Public Relations.
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