“As Tom Jobim says, “Brazil is not for beginners…”,
how come you live in a place where stamps come unglued,
sopa melts almost before you can use it,
rivers run too fast to the sea?
I would like to understand this unbearable joy Brazilians have,
this constant urge to celebrate,
and there is your melancholy, it’s drama,
it’s flamboyance, it’s abandon.
To a North American, in particular to one like me,
it is… out of proportion, excessive.
Kennedy’s assassination, such mourning,
such outpourings of grief.
The doormen, cab drivers, cleaning ladies…
Why? What is it you lost?
But when the military coup happened
and you lost your freedom,
I was there, I saw it;
you went on playing soccer on the beach.
The longer you stay in one place,
the less you understand it.”
I don’t really know if Elizabeth Bishop wrote this about Brazilians… but that is how is portrayed in “Flores Raras”, the movie about her years in Brazil living with Lota Macedo Soares. True or not, it is a very good picture about Brazilians to the eyes of a North American (as to my own eyes).