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Antonia

Set on the outskirts of São Paulo, this engaging, female-centric melodrama concerns four streetwise Afro-Brazilian women, backup singers for a male hip-hop group, who dream of making it on their own. With talent to spare, their biggest obstacles prove to be poverty and violence—twin perils that threaten to offset the energy and vitality that equally distinguish Brazilian culture. The music, rhythms, and vibrant colors of the city are beautifully woven into cinematographer Jacob Sarmento Solitrenick's unobtrusive handheld camera work, while director/co-writer Tata Amaral reveals a deft hand with actors. The largely nonprofessional cast is headed by Brazilian rap star Negra Li and pop singer Leilah Moreno, so authentic that they seem to be acting out their own life stories—and very well may be.


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