What does Brazil have to do with Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ film? An actress, a waterfall, martial arts and one of Brazilian cinema’s most popular films

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Note from BW of Brazil: So it goes without saying that Marvel’s Black Panther film has been a huge success in Brazil, particularly with the country’s black community. Black Brazilians across the country have been organizing special viewings of the blockbuster film since before the film debuted in the country a little less than two weeks ago. There have been several topics of interest that come out of the release of the film and Afro-Brazilians have written a number of though-provoking articles explaining why the American production, that features an overwhelmingly black cast and a black director, is so important for a black Brazil that is starving for representation in the mainstream media.

The influence of Pantera Negra is quite clear in Brazil having taken in R$30.9 milion in its first weekend across the country and taking 1.71 million viewers to the movies to see it in its debut. It is the highest grossing debut of any film released in Brazil thus far in 2018. Lesser known are the Brazilian elements that are actually in the film. Believe it or not, there are least four pieces of Brazil that went into the making of the film. Discover what they are in the piece below.

The women

What does “Black Panther” have to do with Brazil? More than you imagine

By Natalia Engler of UOL with additional info courtesy of E Mais Estadão

Before you start to imagine things, we’d better clarify: no, Black Panther (Pantera Negra in Brazil) is not happening in Brazil, it does not have any Brazilian character or star that speaks Portuguese or anything like that. But Marvel’s superhero movie does have a relationship with the country, and it has to do mainly with film and martial arts.

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Cataratas do Iguaçu (Iguazu Falls) on the border of Brazil and Argentina was featured in ‘Black Panther’

In fact, the relationship began there in 2016, when the Cataratas do Iguaçu (Iguazu Falls) were used to represent Wakanda, the fictional African country of Black Panther, in a post-credit scene of Captain America: Civil War, when Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) is taken there to be cured of the brainwashing that transformed him into the Winter Soldier. But there is more. There are at least two moments in which the Cataratas do Iguaçu (Iguazu Falls) are used as the background of Panther. It’s in “Warrior Falls” in which the tribal council meet to make decisions about the kingdom where the superhero T’Challa is proclaimed king of the civilization.

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Cover of the film ‘Besouro’ about a capoeira legend. Capoeira was part of the training process for ‘Black Panther’ actors


The star of the film, Chadwick Boseman, drank from a Brazilian source to create T’Challa’s fighting style, albeit indirectly.

“We focused on the maximum fighting styles we could because I felt the Panther needed to have a degree of versatility. He needed to be able to fight from near and far, standing and sitting, flying and hanging on. And he needed an African influence. So, we focused on dambe (traditional Nigerian boxing), Zulu battles, Senegalese wrestling, capoeira from Angola and regional [Bahian],” Boseman explained about his martial arts training during a conversation with journalists.

Scene from ‘Black Panther’

And why did the Panther need to know capoeira blows? “He’s a strategist,” the actor told UOL. “He does certain things because he has the physical ability to do this, but also because he thinks of strategy, so he needs to be able to fight in different ways, at different distances, at different levels. Speaking specifically of capoeira, it has a cheating element of tricks, and ritual, which I think is part of his style of fighting.”

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Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia

Actress Lupita Nyong’o, who portrayed Nakia in the film, also spoke about her preparation. In the plot, she had to go to boot camp for six weeks before the recordings and learn some fights. “We had to train together [she and Boseman], then we had to train individual techniques. Nakia is a street fighter so I had to learn jiu-jitsu and capoeira and also to use some kind of weapon,” she said.

The battles, however, are not a novelty for Lupita. “I have been practicing martial arts my entire life since I was about seven, I think Taekwondo, capoeira, Muay Thai, has always been very interesting to me because in the martial arts there is a relationship between mind and body. “

Note from BW of Brazil: I first saw the third Brazilian element in the scene in the British museum in which Killmonger challenged a museum curator about the artifacts the museum had and how they acquired them. Remember that scene? Well, perhaps you also remember the young lady that was in that scene. What you probably don’t know is her name, where she’s from and who her legendary father is.

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Actress/singer Nabiyah Be was featured in ‘Black Panther’ as Killmonger’s girlfriend. She is from the state of Bahia and daughter of Reggae legend Jimmy Cliff

Brazilian actress is in the cast of Black Panther

Courtesy of Notícias ao Minuto

Nabiyah Be, 26, is the daughter of Jamaican musician Jimmy Cliff and a Brazilian mother. She’s lived in New York for eight years

The daughter of Jamaican musician Jimmy Cliff and a Brazilian mother, psychologist Sonia Gomes, actress Nabiyah Be, 26, is one of the stars of the film Black Panther, which has been breaking box office records in the United States. In addition to elements inspired by Cidade de Deus (City of God), blows of capoeira in some scenes, the Brazilian seasoning of American production is also due to the participation of the actress, born in Salvador, Bahia.

In the film directed by Ryan Coogler, Be plays Linda, who is the lover and partner in crime of Erik Killmonger (played by Michael B. Jordan), a villain with mysterious connections with Wakanda – the fictional African country, land of the Black Panther. “My character is kind of like Bonnie for Michael’s Clyde,” she said in an interview with Uol.

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Nabiyah Be is a scene from ‘Black Panther’

As the portal reports, Cliff met the mother of Nabiyah Be, the São Paulo psychologist Sônia Gomes, during a spiritual celebration on the beach. The actress grew up in Bahia, raised by her mother, but always had contact with her father, the reggae star. For eight years she has lived in New York, where she has performed in theater and in the musical Hadestown, which also showed in Canada. “Black Panther” is her debut film.

“It’s great to know that if it’s part of something that has a commercial weight, but it also brings to the surface important debates about identity complexities and how this is reflected in trans-generational traumas. This was the coolest thing. But I won’t lie that the little child inside of me did not jump with joy to know that this would be my entrance into cinema!” revealed the actress to Uol, about the production in which she participates.

Note from BW of Brazil: Yet another curiosity about Black Panther was the inspiration of one Brazil’s greatest films and biggest successes outside of the country. The film Cidade de Deus, released as City of God, was groundbreaking in Brazilian cinema and captured the imagination of many people outside of Brazil who may have known the country only for its Carnaval or superstar futebol players. Below, the director and one of the stars of the Panther discuss the influence Cidade had on their creativity in developing the Marvel film.

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The 2002 film ‘Cidade de Deus’ (City of God) also had an influence on the making of ‘Black Panther’

What do “City of God” and “Black Panther” have in common? Director explains

By Natalia Engler of BOL

After the cancellation of the Black Panther producer Nate Moore’s arrival for CCXP (Comic-Con Experience) in São Paulo, Marvel was able to prepare a surprise for the audience that came to São Paulo Expo on Saturday (9). The director of the film, Ryan Coogler participated live, by video, from Los Angeles, and revealed that he wanted very much to speak with the Brazilian public for a special reason.

Coogler revealed that he has a special adoration for Cidade de Deus (released as City of God in the US) and that the Brazilian production was one of the first international films that he watched when he was a youth, while living in Oakland, USA. More than that, he learned something from the film directed by Fernando Meirelles and is trying to put it into practice in Black Panther (released as Pantera Negra in Brazil).

“I really traveled to that place. I felt like I was there in that city,” he said of watching City of God. “I wanted to do this with Wakanda [the Black Panther kingdom],” revealed Coogler, who is the first black director of the Marvel Film Universe and directs nothing less than that the film of the first black superhero in history.


Also participating in the panel was actress Danai Gurira, who plays Okoye, the head of Wakanda’s royal guard. She pointed out how significant this film is to black fans. “I grew up in Zimbabwe, watching films made from the continent, and seeing that young people from these countries will be able to see superheroes speaking African languages, with a story close to theirs. It’s really cool that people from all over the world from all backgrounds are excited to see this movie, which is something we have not seen before,” she said.

“I’ve never seen such a film in Africa,” Coogler agreed. “And for me, as a black man, I saw it as a great opportunity to make this film and get involved with this world through this film. I wanted to find the best characters of a story so rich to work on, find the best collaborators. And show the continent of Africa, which is part of my heritage.”

“I know that Brazil has a large Afro-Brazilian population, and they also have to deal with what that identity means, just like T’Challa (the Black Panther), who has to decide what kind of king he is going to be after his father died,” he continued.

Actor Michael B. Jordan reveals inspiration of the film Cidade de Deus in preparation for Black Panther.

Courtesy of Papel Pop

Speaking of the 2002 film released as City of God in the US, Jordan told the O Globo newspaper:

“When we did ‘Fruitvale Station’ we saw the movie several times. And we thought about how we, the fruits of the ghetto, could understand, even without sound, the characters of Rio de Janeiro. I did research for my character watching the Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund movie, and it became one of my favorites in life. When Ryan said that he wanted the City of God boys to see each other on the screen in “Black Panther” he summed up in a very raw way sum of our chat.

Source: E Mais EstadãoPapel PopBOL, Legado da Marvel, UOL Cinema, Notícias ao Minuto, Gazeta do Povo

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.


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