Gilberto Gil is among Brazil's most famous musicians, having influenced an entire generation in South America and beyond. Now in his seventies, he has recently served as Brazil's first black Minister of Culture. Preoccupied with many contemporary realities such as racism and poverty, he embarks on a tour through the southern hemisphere— from aboriginal communities in Australia and the townships of South Africa, to the Brazilian Amazon— seeking to promote the power of cultural diversity in a globalized world.
Viramundo delves into marginalized societies via the unique intersection between music, politics and culture. Pierre-Yves Borgeaud's fifth documentary premiered at Rio and Visions du Reél.
In an exclusive essay for Filmatique, Dr. Paula Halperin discusses consequences of colonialism in nations as diverse as Brazil, South Africa and Australia, disparate experiences of the black diaspora and the unifying role of music in Viramundo.
"This leisurely Franco-Brazilian documentary takes the celebrated Brazilian musician Gilberto Gil, now in his 70s and a former minister of culture in the government of President Lula, on a tour of the southern hemisphere, talking and playing with fellow composers and performers in Brazil, South Africa and Australia. It's a heartwarming experience, a little reminiscent of Wim Wenders' Buena Vista Social Club, and the music is attractive and authentic"
"Brazil's most famous musical export Gilberto Gil is a pioneer whose long career has fused Brazilian grooves with rock and reggae. He virtually embodies the term 'world music' and here fronts a globe-trotting doc in search of authentic musical traditions. Visiting indigenous peoples in Australia, touring South African townships and Brazil's troubled Amazonia, the sprightly 71-year-old brings the gift of listening— encouraging us to listen too"
"Viramundo is an amiable, meandering account of his visits to Africa and Australia seeking the joy and hope in the music of indigenous cultures experiencing a renewed sense of self-worth in a post-colonialist era"
"Far from focusing solely on Gil's musical qualities, the documentary (directed by Pierre-Yves Borgeaud) looks to continue the work that Gil began as Minister of Culture in Brazil, where ideas of his, like Pontos de Cultura (Culture Points), looked to provide access to culture, technology and means of creating art to people all across Brazil, breaking down sociological and economic barriers in the process"