Tuesday, May 15, 2012

7 Things About Brazil That You Picture Wrong (Thanks to Movies)

With Rockstar launching Max Payne 3, set in the Brazilian city of São Paulo, I bet a lot of people will play the game and put in their heads that Brazil is exactly as portrayed by the game. Except that the game uses so many wrong information that every screenshot I see is reason to laugh. Brazil is a very different country than Hollywood have portrayed since forever. And they make no effort to discover how accurate they are. For example, Brazil...

7. Don't Speak Spanish.

Brazil was colonized by the Portuguese, and Portugal don't speak Spanish. They speak Portuguese (shocking, I know) There fore, if you come here thinking you can say things like 'Buenos Dias' and 'Gracias', you will stand out as the misinformed tourist you are. It is 'Bom Dia' and 'Obrigado'. If you ever hear in a movie Brazilians speaking Spanish, you be sure that everything is wrong from start.

Also, Brazilians don't have typical Spanish-speaking names. There is not lots of Juans, Margaritas, Pablos and Carmens around here. Also, surnames. We have surnames like Souza, Silva, Ferreira, Costa and Lopes with an 's'. Not Herreras, Lopez, Rodriguez or any kind. if you find people with names like Spanish names, they are probably of Spanish heritage.

6. Our Geography are more than Favelas and Jungles.

See the image above? That is a favela in Rio de Janeiro. That is the favelas portrayed in Max Payne 3. Want to see a favela from São Paulo? Here it is:

Pretty different, right? Even if the favelas are real and we have more than we want to, they are just small percentage of the territory and are not as big as they seem. Here is a typical scenario from São Paulo:

See, lots of tall buildings, paved streets, malls and a lot of other 'civilized' things. Most big cities in Brazil are like this, with the favelas only being a small percentage of all the constructions. While the favelas are crime ridden areas, they are not where most people lives, only the poorest.

And don't make me start with the jungle thing. we have some big ass jungles here, but they are not as widespread as movies make it seem. To get from São Paulo to a real jungle, you would need some hours of travel. by plane. We have some woods and some forests, but they aren't as big or wild as the movies seems to be.

And also, we have lots of farms, smaller cities, fields and several other scenarios. We are not just beaches, favelas and jungle, guys. And speaking of jungle...

5. Good Luck Trying to Find Wild Tribes.

Have you noticed something weird in that picture? All of the indios (the word we use for our native population) are using bermuda shorts. that is right, they are not wild people living in one with the nature. Most indios speaks Portuguese, and most of them don't leave in the wild anymore. Damn, many of people who call themselves indios have never lived in the wild.

Indios today are very mixed with Europeans and Africans. You barely could tell if someone is a indio by looking today. They have jobs on cities, many barely know their old traditions and certainly they aren't the wise native who lives in one with the nature that foreigners loves to paint them as.

The indios will only put traditional attires and make up for festivals or to impress the press and the tourists, or to make protests and be seem in a more favorable light by other peoples. There is almost no tribe in Brazil who haven't being in contact with the 'white man', so if you ever find yourself surrounded by indios in the jungle, there is a great chance that they will take you to their village, pull a mobile phone and call someone to rescue you, instead of making you barbecue.

4. We Have Good Transportation Here.

I never saw a plane like the one pictured in my country. Never once. They are usually museum pieces or collector's items, so you will hardly be flying in on of those, no matter where, even in the Amazon Forest. And you can be sure that you hardly will travel in overcrowded buses with live stock or in the back of some animal. We are not that primitive, and even in the poorer places you will hardly be using some kind of junkyard vehicle to travel around.

Even in the Amazon Forest you will be traveling more with planes and motorboats than with some kind of primitive vehicle. Unless you want to, just because it looks nice in pictures. If you ever see a movie where the characters are forced to go to somewhere riding some bull cart, it will be more by option than by the lack of.

3. You Will Hardly Encounter Wild Animals.

You will not wake up with a jaguar staring at you. Or monkeys stealing your clothes. Our an anaconda in the bath tub. Any close encounter with an wild animal is news worth here in Brazil. you will not see people walking with wild animals on collars or with monkeys on their shoulders. You cannot buy them in street markets (it is illegal and you will only find sellers through dangerous means today).

Even if you go to cities near forests, you will need to go inside the forests to see animals who aren't pets in cages. And if you saw any kind of 'jungle hotel' where the animals can be seem by your room's window, be pretty sure that the staff is feeding them, so they are there because they will receive some free food.

2. Carnaval Don't Happen All Year.

You are here in Brazil and want to see the most famous street festival of our country. You are all excited to listen to some music, dance, drink, hit on beautiful Brazilian girls. Except there is no Carnaval happening in the whole country, because it is June.

Carnaval only happens in a very strict time frame, usually between February and March. Some places, specially in the northeast, can have some smaller off season parties. But even them usually happens in our summer, from mid December to March. Any other time of the year and you will have difficulty finding a single party.

So, if you ever wanted to see it, better be sure that you are coming in the right time of the year.

1. Brazilians don't Have a 'Face'.

If you saw The Expendables, there is a good chance that you recognize the girl above, Gisele Itié. She is a Brazilian actress and probably represent how many foreigners picture Brazilians. Tanned skin, dark hair and eyes. Well, guess what? We don't have a typical 'face'.

See the picture? All Brazilians. We are a very cosmopolitan and mixed country. I am, for example, a mix of Jew, Indio and European. You can see someone who looks like a German and is a Brazilian whose mother is Ukranian and the Father is Italian. Or a tanned chick who is in fact a mix of Black and Spanish. All kinds of combinations.

We have the biggest number of Japanese descendants outside of Japan. We received immigrants from all over the world. We don't have a 'typical face'. If everyone in a movie who is supposed to be Brazilian looks the same, then they are wrong.

In the end, Brazil is in fact a very well known country everybody knows something(wrong). Part is our own fault, by doing very little to combat stereotypes. But Hollywood and people who never have being here does not help either by using some very old tropes in depicting my country.

1 comment:

  1. You're absolutely right about Brazil. I hate when films and the media in general portray Brazil like some sort of Baghdad with a jungle.


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