A lovely yet slight overview of the explosive musical traditions in Bahia and Rio de Janeiro, Jesse Acevedo’s “Everything Blue” places Brazilian samba in the context of racial politics. Strategy is intriguing, and especially gutty for a non-Brazilian documaker like Acevedo (who’s based in Mexico), but his survey hardly encompasses the vast subject. A fine, revealing look at Bahia is followed by a mere surface account of Rio’s Carnival. Beautiful images and sound, however, make pic an irresistible package for globe-hopping fests.
Samba star Virginia Rodrigues, singing her plangent tunes on musicvids, guides a tour of her Bahia hometown, while describing the severe segregation and social repression still felt by blacks. Film star Fernanda Montenegro and singer-superstar Caetano Veloso echo Rodrigues’ deepest concerns, which in turn echo U.S. racial and music history. A visit to Rio in the film’s second half disappoints, with a quickie overview of the Carnival, nutty interludes with transsexual performer Rogelia and sweet glances at the lady Carnival singers in the so-called performing “school” of the poor Portela neighborhood. Medeiro Schultz’ docu “Empress of Carnival” reps a much richer study of the Rio Carnival in action.