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Discovering my Brazil    

(not another documentary about fooball)

Related to this project: 

Brazil conservatism

"Our Lady of Fatima free Brazil from Communism"

Key words:  Brazil, politics, identity, society, ideas.

Discovering My Brazil is a story about a Swiss-Brazilian soccer player uncovering the dark shadows that haunt the origins of his heritage to this day.

Short Synopsis: Henry Siqueira grew up in Switzerland hearing stories of Brazil’s cheerful, welcoming culture from his mother. Despite his infrequent visits to the county, spending time with family and listening to Brazilian music helped him to feel connected to his roots. However, in June 2013, he begins an emotional journey that changes everything.

Heading to South America prior to Brazil's 2014 World Cup intending to cheer on his former Swiss National soccer teammates, Henry finally has a chance to discover the country for himself. As he explores São Paolo, he encounters a whole host of new characters, including the man who, if not for Brazil’s independence from Portugal, would be the country’s king. The deposed royal heir bends his ear about the state of the nation and tells him how great he thought slavery was for enslaved people in the time of the monarchy. Shocked by these words, Henry is increasingly confronted with example after example of the casual classism that colors the rhythm of daily life and, just when he thinks he has seen it all, comes face-to-face with one of the largest social protest movements in Brazilian history. Stumbling upon one of these demonstrations, he encounters people whose worldview, divided between the “pure” and “impure,” defends the use of violence and advocates the return of a dictatorship to crush their opponents. These alarming experiences lead Henry to question and ultimately reject the cultural heritage he had grown up admiring.


Years later, Henry watches with growing trepidation as this formerly small, caricatural fringe of society crusades into the spotlight of current Brazilian politics. In 2018, Bolsonaro came to embody the dissatisfaction of a huge number of Brazilians, but after his election, he identifies primarily with this radical group, technically maintaining the democratic order even as he tacitly encouraging their cries for a dictatorial coup and leverages their almost cult-like, sacrificial devotion to their Messiah. The frenzy of the political atmosphere is a tug of war between two poles: the helpless anger of those who want to return to the Brazil of the former dictatorship, and the frustration of those fighting to bring to fruition the country’s democratic ideals, fearing a future where those values disappear completely over the horizon.

As Henry wrestles with this new cultural landscape, he uncovers parts of his family history that he had never known before, beginning with the post-slavery memories of his grandmother's life. As he hears the stories of the violence, oppression and hardship the women in his family have lived over the past 90 years, he realizes that the Brazilian music he listened to as a boy, so full of upbeat melodies and energetic percussion, contains protests against centuries of slavery and class oppression coded throughout the lyrics. Slowly, he begins to see that the current radical movement is merely the most recent pain of the wound of violence, opened at the country’s birth, never treated, and never healed, that has silently afflicted countless generations. Pondering what Brazilians have done to each other, Henry recognizes in himself the same weariness and melancholy he hears in the voices of the people he loves. As he comes to terms with this reality of what it means to be Brazilian, he realizes that the country’s grief is the cost of the pervasive silence. He prepares to break the cycle and finally talk freely with his mother.

Rough version of the introduction

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