two stroke hose

Carlos Zilio, PRATO, 1971, industrial ink on porcelain, ø 24cm


Comment on the film by Ana Maria Magalhães.

“Inhabited by simple people and so poor / who only have the sun that covers them all, / how can you, Mangueira, sing?”, asks Cartola in the opening verses of “Reception Room”. This fruitful paradox is also at the center of the documentary two stroke hose, by Ana Maria Magalhães, screened at Festival do Rio and now scheduled for the 28th and 29th of June (Sunday and Monday) at Itaú Play premiere festival.

The documentary “device” is simple and ingenious. From the short film hose of tomorrow, from 1992, the director investigates what happened to the boys and girls from the junior wing of the samba school that she filmed at that time. It was a kind of school within the larger school.

In the first part, with the help of the memories of the musician and cultural activist Ivo Meirelles and the singer Alcione, both supporters and mentors of Mangueira do Amanhã, we get to know some of those boys and girls who emerged in the school almost three decades ago.

Two of them became respected professional musicians: Wesley do Repique became Mestre Wesley, director of drums at Mangueira since 2019. Buí do Tamborim, in turn, settled in China, where he performs Brazilian music shows in nightclubs and steakhouses .

The girls had a less shiny trajectory – and that says a lot about the social and cultural conditions of the environment where they grew up. The then strongly sexist tendency of the school (and of all the others) prevented a girl from playing on the drums, which reduced her possibilities of participation to two: she would be a passista or a flag bearer. Several of them had children at fifteen or sixteen and began to struggle to support them, often alone. Some became evangelical and distanced themselves from drumming. One of them says that today she only sambas alone, at home.

But the boys' fate wasn't much rosier. Wesley, whose father, also a drum master, became a drug dealer and died a violent death, recalls that many of his generation mates succumbed to the bullets of drug dealers or the police. One of them, a virtuoso of the repique, appears playing in the images from 1992, with a smile the size of the world. He died as a teenager. How can you, Mangueira, sing?

And yet he sings, and that song is rich beyond compare. In this unstable place, between harsh reality and the most sublime popular art, is where the moving documentary by Ana Maria Magalhães is installed.

Another tenuous border that the film depicts is that between tradition and invention. Born in one of the most splendid cradles of samba, Wesley went through Funk'n'Lata, a group formed by Ivo Meirelles in the 1990s, and today, as well as being a master of drums from Mangueirense, he plays with top-notch avant-garde musicians, as we can found in the documentary. There are no insurmountable barriers to music.

The game between tradition and invention is present in the school's drum set, as explained by the musicians and fully demonstrated on the avenue, a moment of apotheosis in which all this whirlwind of energies and knowledge comes to the fore and, at least for a moment, the joy overcome the pain.

*Jose Geraldo Couto is a film critic. Author, among other books, of André Breton (Brazilian).

Originally published on CINEMA BLOG


two stroke hose

Brazil, 2019, documentary, 90 minutes

Directed by: Ana Maria Magalhães

Trailer on youtube []

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