By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – This Wednesday, November 28th, sees the opening of the third annual ‘Festival de Petrópolis’ (Petrópolis Film Festival) which will run until Saturday, December 1st. The festival will be showing fourteen films in four days, all for free.
For the first time in its history, this event will be held within the ‘Natal Imperial’ (Imperial Christmas) program of the city, taking place at the ‘Palácio Quitandinha,’ (Quitandinha Palace) one of the most remarkable tourist attractions in a city filled with stunning European-style architecture.
Petrópolis is famous for being the mountain residence of Emperor Dom Pedro II, and its historic charms have been well-preserved to make it one of the top tourist destinations within the state of Rio de Janeiro. The film festival, which debuted in 2016, is seen as a way to celebrate both the imperial past of the city while also looking to the future.
Produced by Pacheco Monteiro Communications, alongside Daniela Brescianini Monteiro and Luciana Pacheco, the festival promises to bring the best Brazilian and international cinema to the imperial city.
“This is a space for encountering both film-lovers and filmmakers.” comments organizer Daniela Brescianini Monteiro. “It’s a festival that embraces both independent and commercial cinema, besides being an opportunity to bring films to Petrópolis that otherwise wouldn’t come to this city.”
The festival will kick off tonight at 8:30PM with a showing of ‘Charcrinha: O Velho Guerreiro’ (Chacrinha: The Old Warrior), the biopic of José Abelardo Barbosa, who dropped out of medical school to become one of Brazil’s most beloved and revolutionary entertainers.
Thursday will continue the subversive theme, with a showing of ‘Henfil’ at 6PM, a documentary about cartoonist, journalist and Brazilian activist Henrique de Souza Filho, or ‘Henfil’ as he was known.
Another socially conscious film, ‘Dúdú e o Lápis Cor da Pele’ (Dúdú and the Skin-Colored Pencil) will be shown on Friday at 1:30PM. Dúdú is a smart, imaginative black boy attending a middle-class college in São Paulo. During an art education class, his teacher, Sonia, tells them to use what she calls “skin-colored pencils” to color a drawing, awakening an identity crisis in Dúdú.
On Saturday, the festival will close at 8:30PM with a showing of ‘O Grande Circo Místico’ (The Great Mystic Circus), which was also the final film of this year’s ‘Festival do Rio’ (Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival).
The Great Mystic Circus is a Franco-Brazilian production, featuring Brazilian stars such as Bruna Linzmeyer and Jesuíta Barbosa as well as French actor and famous Rio resident Vincent Cassel.
In keeping with this French theme, the festival will also be showing Robert Bresson’s 1959 classic ‘Pickpocket’ on Friday at 8:30PM, as well as 1964’s ‘Les Parapluies de Cherbourg’ (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) directed by Jacques Demy and starring Catherine Deneuve, at 8:30PM on Saturday.
The organizers have high hopes for this incarnation of the festival, looking to build on the successes of previous years. “In relation to the event held last year, our idea is to double the number of attendees in 2018.” comments organizer Luciana Pacheco.
What: III Festival de Petrópolis
When: November 28th – December 1st; individual showing times vary
Where: SESC Quitandinha, Petrópolis-RJ, Av. Joaquim Rolla, n º 2, 25650-160 Petrópolis
Entrance: Free; for more information, check the event page or festival website