Note from BW of Brazil: Well, judging from the first few days, the new Marvel super hero action film Black Panther (released as Pantera Negra in Brazil) looks like its going to be a blockbuster, or would that be blackbuster (?) across the country. Today, I received a photo from a movie theater in Salvador, Bahia, in the northeast, and a news story from a movie theater in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, in the south of the country, and the results the same: hundreds of thrilled black Brazilians, photographed standing, fists held high in the air like, well, the Black Panthers. Bahia is state that is recognized as the country’s center of African culture with a capital city that is about 80% black. Porto Alegre is located in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, in the country’s south, a region that is overwhelmingly white due massive European immigration starting in late 19th century.
Today, Rio Grande do Sul’s population is about 80% white, as such, it is noteworthy when its black population organizes an event around a film release. As predominantly widely distributed majority black cast films are almost non-existent in Brazil, black Brazilians organizing by the hundreds to watch American films with majority black casts is starting to become a standard in many cities with sizable black populations. We saw this a few years back with 12 Years a Slave and recently the film Hidden Figures. Reading comments in social media, many people expressed the idea of how inspiring it was to see such a high production film with a mostly black cast, something they never see in Brazil, which is an obvious factor as to why they flock to see black films coming out of the United States. Some people were already speaking of watching the film again so it will be interesting to see how much the film ends up grossing in Brazil.
Below, I present two stories in regards to audiences that organized in advance to make the showings of the film all or nearly all-black affairs. Tomorrow, a similar organizing endeavor will fill a theater in São Paulo. Let’s get to it…
Cine Victória receives special session of Black Panther for black community entitled CinePreto POA, an event in the capital of Rio Grande do Sul that packed the movie theater
By William Mansque
On Thursday night (15), the Cine Victória received a special session of Black Panther, released as Pantera Negra in Brazil. Marvel’s production had a show targeted at the comunidade negra (black community) of the Metropolitan Region, which practically filled the movie theater. Throughout the country, sessions of the feature film are being held especially for the público negro (black audience). Entitled CinePreto POA, the event in the capital of Rio Grande do Sul was organized by three friends: Luciana Dornelles, Kenia Aquino and Flavia Lemos.
“The purpose of the session is to give the black people of Porto Alegre and surrounding areas the opportunity to watch together a movie that is already marking history for us. A super production with mostly black cast, and a protagonist who, for the first time in theaters, is not only a superhero, but also an African king,” explains Luciana.
The organizers of the event also said that the announcement was made only by word of mouth.
“We made a list of interested people who paid by deposit. We wanted to make a chain, to mix groups! We called representatives of some collectives and we offered X amount of tickets. We created a network,” Luciana says.
The organization of the event estimates that 185 people attended the session. Among those present was Jordão Farias, 25 years old. The publicist from Cachoeirinha highlights that more than 90% of the cast of Black Panther was formed by black actors.
“This is very important, even more so in a film that has had such a huge investment, it will have a huge repercussion, and a lot of people will watch it. We feel part of what we are seeing on the screen – it stands out.”
For Cinara Ribeiro, from Porto Alegre, the experience was very worthwhile.
“I thought the movie was great. It portrays a very interesting story of a black character. It’s grandiose. I felt so excited to see a black man with such great power. It gives us great excitement,” reports the 40-year oral health technician.
The photographer Josemar Afrovulto, from Alvorada, pointed out that he was still absorbing the film, but, like Cinara, he was also moved.
“As soon as the first scene of Wakanda (where the plot takes place) appeared, I was very happy to see that place and see black men and women showing their strength. I felt really good watching the movie with other pessoas pretas (black people). It was very powerful. I think even for the understanding of the jokes this was important. It was all very aligned.”
Afrovulto also talked about the time he waited to see a hero like the Black Panther.
“I am 31 years old. I had to wait 31 years to see a black superhero, king of an advanced African nation. I keep thinking about the reflex that this will have for the youth that will see it now.”
Cléber Pereira from Viamão and Kdoo Guerreiro from Porto Alegre, debated the historical reflection of the film after the session.
“It shows a different perspective even for those who study history. What would an African country without colonization be like? Who guarantees that the country will not develop? We start thinking differently, says Pereira, 36, an IT trainee.
“Exactly. Africa is a very rich continent, full of natural resources that can supply the African population very well and turn it into an overdeveloped continent, but this has not happened due to European exploitation and other invasions. Wakanda is what Africa would be if it had not been invaded by Europeans.”
Guerreiro also spoke from the geek point of view:
“It’s one of the best surprises in recent years in terms of superhero movies. Marvel has always been a cinematic universe that has supplied me as a fan of comics and as a person who consumes this art. Now, they have stopped supplying and have started feeding people with their own identity,” the 43-year-old businessman says.
Pereira also adds that everyone should watch the film, regardless of ethnicity.
“It’s a film directed at everyone, especially for blacks. Representativeness counts a lot,” he says.
Note from BW of Brazil:
Pantera Negra: Community organizes to enegrecer (blacken) cinema in São Paulo
By Silvia Nascimento
For black people the release of the film Black Panther is much more than a new movie. The character in Marvel created in 1966 will be the first black hero of African origin to hit the big screens being one of the biggest bets of the brand. For the children of the Diaspora this is very powerful, even more so in the present day where the question of identity and representativeness is so latent. There has never been a team of black stars starring in an African-themed action film.
With a debut scheduled for February 16 in Brazil, the film that has as a backdrop, Wakanda, a fictional African kingdom, is already sold out in various cities around the world.
In São Paulo, the group about blackness on Facebook, Intelectualidade afro-brasileira (Afro-Brazilian Intellectuality), decided to organize to watch Black Panther in a cinema in the south of the city.
“The showing of this film is most welcome to the afro-diasporic people for a number of reasons: the film puts Africa at the center of the plot, the cast is predominantly black, the characters’ representation, by what everything indicates, mixes the traditional with the modern and it’s already possible to perceive a good protagonism of the black women in the plot. So, you can see that it’s a movie that has demolished several paradigms about our people and our cultures. The overall expectation of our people is very great. WAKANDA FOREVER!” celebrates the writer and English teacher Durval Arantes, who is organizing the film event, which takes place on the 17th, the day after the premiere.
It will be a closed session for the participants of the event and probably the blackest of the city.