October « 2007 « [Pelada] Movie Blog
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October 29, 2007
The Day We Found Paradise
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All of a sudden, we found ourselves standing on top of a sand dune. There were mountains, a winding shoreline, and a harbor with fishing boats lilting to the right. The water was teal and there were islands in the distance. It was as picturesque as the Virgin Islands or any other top tourist destination, only it was empty–except for the horse cart in the distance and the dog at our side.

We’d taken an all night bus ride to Curitiba, a four hour bus ride to Floripa, and another two hour bus ride on a local bus down dirt roads, stopping every so often to pick up school kids. We knew we were headed for a pousada in a fishing village where they have pick up games on a sand bank formed where the diverging river meets the ocean. We did not know it would feel like paradise or that a small tan-colored dog would follow us everywhere: when we went to the grocery store, she patiently waited outside the door; when we played and filmed within the yellow goalposts further down the beach, she sat beside our camera bags; when we returned from a day out, she ran down the beach to greet us.

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October 17, 2007
Sâo Paulo: Nenê's Court and Pelé's Supermarket
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In São Paulo, we search for Nenê, who played with Gwendolyn for Santos Futebol Club. We take a ten-minute taxi to the metro station, ride for fifteen-minutes, change lines, take another thirty-minute ride, exit at Jabaquara, have an hour-long bus ride to Ferrazópolis, meet Nenê at the station, and catch a bus to her house. “If this were Europe, you’d have gone through three different countries,” Nenê’s mom says. “Here, you are still in São Paulo.”

Her family–mother, father, eight brothers and sisters, and a dozen or so nieces and nephews–live in the two houses next door to each other. When they ask about our families and we convey that they are spread out, they ask us, puzzled, “Why?” We all feel kind of stumped.

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October 10, 2007
Santos: Long Walks and Old Men
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In Santos, we worry our movie will be about us getting fat around the world: here we are in Trinidad, all fairly lean, here we are in Brazil, showing signs of being fed extravagantly by unbelievable hosts. To combat the massive intakes of food, we nix taxis and buses and go on 6 or 7 km walks between destinations. Santos is divided into regions by seven canals and we count each of them as we walk along the beach garden, ranked by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest of its kind. Gwendolyn steps in wet concrete, literally leaving her footprint on Brazil. Ryan’s stepping-in-something story is worse: as Rebekah starts shooting a game, Ryan walks off to scout out a wide-angle shot. He stands there for some time, pondering different angles of the quadra, questioning the inclusion of a tree, studying the light. He turns to walk back, feels his foot slip, and realizes that for the past ten minutes, he’d been standing in a pile of dog poop, the only pile of dog poop anywhere around.

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October 2, 2007
Brazil, Part 2: Nicknames & The Never-Ending Cab Ride
Filed under: Brazil |

For the next three days, we go in and out of Rocinha. A gunman greets us at the entrance one day in English. “Hello my friends. Welcome to Rocinha, the most beautiful place in the world.”

Around 9pm on Friday night, Ferg and Ryan take establishing shots of Rocinha while Gwendolyn and Luke wander over to the field. Luke scratches the back of his neck and asks the group of guys sitting by the fence if they are about to play. One burly guy in a green and blue striped t-shirt seems to be the center of the show. He wears a long gold chain and a bright pink stopwatch around his neck and everyone calls him The Boss. This guy, Anderson, is the leader of Família Valão. Valão, which means both “big sewer” and “common grave” in Portuguese, is the name of the street in Rocinha they all live on. Anderson divides the guys into three teams by tossing out red pennies, blue pennies and jerseys that say Família Valão in a font made to look like dripping blood. We play until midnight. The lights are dim and it is too dark to film.

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