Monday, June 15, 2015

Cinematic World Tour: Black Orpheus

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Greetings from Rio! 

I had gotten an invite from my pal Le to a party to celebrate her new book. So my pilot re-fueled the jet, loaded up the bar, and we flew down to her neck of the woods in Brazil!

The party was great! I was really excited to meet Le in person for the first time. But then she told me that Carnaval was about to go down in Rio in a couple of days.* I said, well, hey, as long as I'm already down here - let's go!

Incredible city, Rio. As bustling and full of life as NYC - and those mountains!

Le has a cousin in town, so we hooked up with her and arranged to spend the night at her place. (I don't even wanna think about what hotels must cost during Carnaval.) While we waited for her cousin to return home, we played tourist. Le had been here before, so I let her lead the way. At one point we got on a streetcar. I tell ya, as crowded as New York City buses can be, they've got nothing on a Rio trolley!

We went all the way to the end of the line. As we got off, I noticed a young lady, maybe about Le's age, who looked kinda lost, but the conductor and his co-worker seemed to point her in the right direction of whatever it was she was going. Not that I understand Portugese. It just looked that way.

The conductor was joined by another girl, who looked like she was his girlfriend. She seemed the jealous type.

Le's cousin invited us to a pre-Carnaval party she knew about that night, and man, was it swinging!

All of a sudden we heard a scream - and it didn't sound like a good-time scream, either. It came from that girl from the streetcar again. Le, translating, said she was raving about somebody coming after her, trying to kill her. She ran away in a hurry...

...but wouldn't you know it, here came the streetcar conductor again. He charged to the rescue like an avenging angel, taking off to find whoever it was that was after the girl. We figured things were under control, so we went back to the party.

Le and I stayed with her cousin for the night, and the next day we all came out to Carnaval!

Imagine New Year's Eve in Times Square, Halloween, and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade all rolled into one. Now add a liberal dose of T&A. Then multiply the whole thing by ten. That's Carnaval, more or less. Dancers and musicians and revelers everywhere - and the noise!

One of the dancers was the conductor fella. He was pretty good, too. Had his own little troupe.

But then there was a scuffle of some sort. I think it was the conductor's girlfriend - she got into a fight of some kind with what looked like the girl from the streetcar. There were too many people around, so I couldn't see what was happening, and neither Le nor her cousin heard enough to translate...

...but I think maybe whoever it was that the girl thought was after her might have shown up.

Anyway, the three of them disappeared, and after awhile, we drifted from the parade too. It was all too overwhelming to someone like me, who had never been to Carnaval before. We walked down a quiet side street and once again, there was the streetcar conductor! Some old guy was leading him into a building, guarded by a dog.

The conductor looked pretty down and out. I think something must have happened to either the girl or his girlfriend and he was probably looking for one of them.

I hope he found whoever it was he was looking for.

Who knows what can happen in a city as big as this.

As for me, my pilot and I are gonna fly Le back home tomorrow and then we're headed back to the States. I'm tired as hell and all I wanna do is sleep for a week. I think I'm getting too old for these all-night parties...

Wish you were here,


* - Yes, I know Carnaval is in February. I'm fudging with the timeline here. Just go with it.

Look for more in this series throughout the summer.

Cinematic World Tour is inspired by the blogathon created by All Good Things.


  1. Aw, that was fantastic! Charming and surprising!
    As for Black Orpheus, it passes the image all foreigners have of Brazil: a land where there is no sin during Carnaval, and relationships mean nothing during the party. But it's interesting!

  2. Him. Well, I figured there had to be more to the city and country than what we see in the movie, which is, after all, only a tiny part. Perhaps you can recommend other Brazilian movies?

    Glad you liked the post at least.

    1. Stop what you are doig and go watch The Given Word (aka O Pagador de Promessas). Cannes Palme D'Or + an universal theme.
      By the way, if Orpheus is the driver of the St. Therese trolley (I'm not sure, it's been some years I saw the movie), the trolley is still standing and can be seen in the animation Rio.

  3. I'll add it to the list. Thanks.


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