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By Phil Hall | June 12, 2001

“Too Much Brazil” is an appropriate title for this directionless documentary on the various socio-economic crises which affect the people of this South American republic. This exhausting and frequently confusing film offers a free-wheeling grab bag of dozens and dozens of interviews with urban and rural folks alike, all of which ultimately leads to a conclusion that Brazil is a fairly dreadful place to live.
“Too Much Brazil” (original title: “2000 Nordestes”) seems to have been made by filmmakers with Attention Deficit Disorder. Interviews and segments fly about haphazardly and recklessly, with some snippets running a bare minimum of seconds, and almost no one who steps before the camera is properly identified. The result is a bewildering experience to sit through, for there is no central figure to follow and appreciate. A crazy collection of street vendors, maids, farmers, fishermen, beach bums, husband hunters, construction workers, religious fanatics, TV repairmen, custodians, street children, chronically unemployed men and women, and young boys paid to stand guard over fancy automobiles offer staccato opinions on the hopeless state of Brazilian society. Black-and-white clips from vintage Brazilian movies pop up at unexpected moments for no clear reason, serving to further disorient the already-baffled viewer.
Much of the film is devoted to problems faced by Brazilians from the depressed, rural Northeast corner of the country when the journey to the urban centers of Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro in search of employment. Whether the setting is barren farmland or the poverty-clogged big cities, the results seem to be inevitably dismal: lack of opportunities, lack of adequate housing, lack of sufficient money to survive, and the lack of a better future except for the vague hope of God answering prayers with a sudden and unexpected swoosh of good fortune. The problem with these interviews is the overwhelming lack of diverse opinions: everyone who steps in front of the cameras seems to be of the exact same mindframe. After some time, this gets mighty monotonous.
“Too Much Brazil” never provides anything that could be mistaken for professional editing, clear production planning, artistic purpose or emotional objective…except for the message that life in Brazil stinks. But we don’t need to sit through an incoherent and annoying 70 minute movie to know that.

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