I'm very much in debt to Ana, from the Rio Gringa Facebook group, for sending me this amazing documentary called Olhar Estrangeiro. While the title on the video was translated as "The Foreign Eye," I think a better translation would be "Through a Foreigner's Eyes."
A Brazilian filmmaker, fed up with the ridiculous stereotypes foreigners have of Brazil, set out on a mission to discover the origins of these cultural misconceptions, tracing them to Hollywood, European cinema and beyond. She based the movie on a book called O Brasil dos Gringos, (note to self: find this book), which studies Brazilian cliches in foreign films. In a way, this documentary justifies all of my griping about stereotypes, because you'd be amazed how just a few movies - even ones that many young people haven't even seen - have shaped people's visions of an entire country.
The film, which is a mixture of English, French, Spanish and Portuguese, covers the main stereotypes: beautiful women, hypersexuality and sensuality, African and indigenous influences, party culture, the Amazon, and Carnival. Though the movie seemingly sets out to show just how uninformed so many foreign filmmakers and actors are, there's a few surprising characters who are not only more informed, but are actually fluent in Portuguese. Also, Michael Caine is great fun to watch talking about Brazil.
It's a must see - watch it now!