By Maíra Amorim, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – Caetano Veloso, one of the greatest musicians from MPB (Brazilian Popular Music), is now on the big screen in the documentary “Coração Vagabundo” (Wandering Hearts), which opened in theaters across Brazil last week. The film is directed by Fernando Grostein de Andrade, a 28-year-old first-time filmmaker, son of the journalist Mário de Andrade, Playboy Magazine’s editor in the 80s, and half-brother of Luciano Huck, the TV Globo presenter.
Fernando followed Caetano on the artist’s tour in the United States and Japan, during the promotion of the album “A Foreign Sound” (2004), his only work recorded in English, and unveiled a Caê unknown to the public.
The very first scene of the film illustrates this idea of revealing the artist: Caetano appears naked shaving in a hotel bathroom. And Fernando continues to undress him throughout the documentary while speaking to him in a relaxed, conversational manner. Caetano chats, makes jokes, sings, and is very much himself.
So far, the reviews have been positive. But the question everyone is asking (and trying to answer) is who is this young man who managed to make a documentary about one of Brazil’s greatest singer/songwriters?
In 2000, Fernando met Paula Lavigne at a party. At the time, she was married to Caetano – they are now divorced but she still manages his career. Paula is also a film producer and owns the company Natasha Produções. Andrade was then finishing his business degree in São Paulo, but was always interested in the film industry.
He had produced a short film called “De Morango” (Strawberry Flavor), which he sent to several production companies. Paula Lavigne liked it and decided to invite the 24-year-old to direct Caetanos’s video for the song “Lisbela e o Prisioneiro”, part of the soundtrack of the film of the same title. Fernando was then called to direct the DVD “A Foreign Sound”, which he shot at a bar in São Paulo.
He seized the opportunity and traveled with Caetano and his band to the US to film shows at Carnegie Hall, in New York. The venue was asking US$10,000 for one minute of footage, which was totally out of budget. So Fernando decided to record his conversations with Caetano, which took place in Japan. The 57 hours of raw material were transformed into a one-hour film in which Fernando travels with Caetano, getting to know the iconic artist.
Caê declared that Fernando is “lovely and cute”. He is also very persistent. He managed to arrange a meeting with Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni in what is a very touching sequence of the film, recorded before he passed away in 2007.
Antonioni had an accident and was not able to speak at the time of the shoot, but gets emotional when watching parts of his own films. Pedro Almodóvar, personal friend of Caetano, musician David Byrne and top model Gisele Bündchen also appear in the documentary.
The trailer can be seen at Caetano’s official website.