Brazilian cinema fascinates me because it marries the vibrancy of the New World (including intriguing racial identities and beautiful music) with stark urban realities. I mention a few of Brazilian movies I’ve seen and thoroughly enjoyed in a previous blog post.
Ricardo Elias’ The 12 Labors is as watchable as its peers, and shares thematic elements with Black Orfeu. Like the 1959 “cross-over” classic, the protagonist of The 12 Labors, Heracles, is named after a character in Greco-Roman mythology. The connection to mythology here, however, is not as pronounced. As we slowly learn, the mythical 12 tasks of Heracles (which includes slaying beasts, cleaning a filthy celestial stable in a day, and other impossible errands of redemption) serves more of a symbolic role in the story of a black youth in Sao Paulo.