11 Brazilian Films To Watch Before Rio 2016

Photo: Everett.
You know about the beaches, the caipirinhas, and the supermodels. But guess what? There's way more to Brazil than Gisele and skimpy swimsuits.

All eyes will be on the South American country as the 2016 Summer Olympics kick off in Rio de Janeiro this weekend. Beyond the fears about Zika and pollution, it's Brazil's time to shine. With the Opening Ceremony slated for Friday night, we thought we'd help shed a little more light.

If a flight to Rio isn't in your immediate future, a movie night may be able to help fill in some of the blanks. Brazilian cinema has produced several award-winning contributions, with subject matters ranging from life in the favelas to political oppression to that old standard: first love. There's a real depth, not to mention performances that have fetched Oscars.

Intrigued? Crack open the cachaça and settle in for some cinematic delights.
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Video: Courtesy of The Criterion Collection.
Black Orpheus (Orfeu Negro) (1959)
This Oscar-winning classic is famed for its bossa nova soundtrack, but its love story inspired by the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice has also stood the test of time.
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Video: Courtesy of Miramax.
City of God (Cidade de Deus) (2002)
This Oscar-nominated crime drama gave international audiences a searing look at life in Rio's favelas, where many of the actors actually lived. The film also spawned a spinoff TV show and second film, both titled City of Men.
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Video: Courtesy of Vitrine Films.
The Way He Looks (Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho) (2014)
The arrival of a new male student gives blind teen Leonardo pause as he questions his sexuality and romantic possibilities in this coming-of-age drama.
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Video: Courtesy of FilmDallas Pictures.
Kiss of the Spider Woman (O Beijo da Mulher-Aranha) (1985)
William Hurt won an Oscar for his portrayal of Luis Molina, a man imprisoned for homosexual acts. The late Raúl Juliá co-stars as the leftist cellmate who slowly develops a friendship and romantic relationship with Molina as political and bureaucratic entanglements threaten their existence.
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Video: Courtesy of Columbia TriStar/Sony.
The House of Sand (Casa de Areia) (2005)
Real-life mother and daughter Fernanda Montenegro and Fernanda Torres play two women stranded in the Brazilian desert during the early 20th century. The story intertwines with scientific phenomena, war, and a dystopian-like emptiness as time passes with no escape in sight.
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Video: Courtesy of Universal Studios.
Trash (2014)
Rooney Mara and Martin Sheen appear in this film, but the real stars are Rickson Tevez (Raphael), Eduardo Luis (Gardo), and Gabriel Weinstein (Rat). The three street kids get caught up in a corrupt government plot when they find a wallet in a favela trash pile.
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Video: Courtesy of Sony.
Central Station (Central do Brasil) (1998)
Fernanda Montenegro received a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her role as a caustic middle-aged woman, who reluctantly takes in a young homeless boy looking for his father. Expect to tear up as their bond grows closer.
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Video: Courtesy of Embrafilme.
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (Dona Flor e Seus Dois Maridos) (1976)
Set in 1940s Bahia, this early Sônia Braga comedy tells the story of a woman who remarries after her first husband dies. And then things get kind of kinky.
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Video: Courtesy of City Lights Pictures.
The Year My Parents Went on Vacation (O Ano em Que Meus Pais Saíram de Férias) (2006)
In 1970 12-year-old Mauro is sent to live with his grandfather in a Jewish community when his activist parents go on the run. When the grandfather dies, his Yiddish-speaking neighbors step up.
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Video: Courtesy of Oscilloscope.
The Second Mother (Que Horas Ela Volta?) (2015)
Tensions rise when a long-time live-in housemaid's daughter comes to live with the family. The film tackles both parental guilt and class differences.
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Video: Courtesy of Focus World.
Adrift (À Deriva) (2009)
This coming-of-age story sees a young girl struggling to accept that her family isn't as perfect as she once thought. Meanwhile, French actor Vincent Cassel manages to convincingly pull off Portuguese dialogue as the teen's philandering father.
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