Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Summer of the Gods [2015]

MPAA (UR would be PG-13)  Fr. Dennis (4 Stars)

IMDb listing

Official Website (Aker Sherese) review
Indie Wire (Sergio) review

The Summer of the Gods [2015] (a 21 minute short, written and directed by Eliciana Nascimento) played recently as one of two entries about Afro-American (Afro-Caribbean/Afro-Brazilian) religion at the 2015 (13th annual) Chicago African Diaspora Film Festival organized by ArtMattan and hosted by Facets Multimedia in Chicago.   The film can be purchased online for download/streaming for $10 USD at its official website.

The film's semi-autobiographical story by the first time director is about a (North) American-born eight year old girl of Afro-Brazilian ancestry named Lili (played by Isabella Santos) who travels with her mother (played by Carolina Su) to visit her grandmother (played by Rosalina Santos) in her family's long ancestral village in rural Bahia, Brazil.  In the course of the visit, Lili is introduced and initiated into the traditional Orisha-based Afro-Brazilian religion which helps her better understand who she is, where she and her family/people come from, and even a few special gifts/abilities of hers that would have been perhaps harder to understand outside the context / language this her ancestral faith tradition.  

Set in an arguably tropical paradise along Bahia's coastline, the cinematography is lush / lovely to behold and helps one to appreciate the roots of this faith tradition that came to the Western Hemisphere with the African slaves from West Africa and has remained quite strong in regions wherever the descendents of the West African Slaves remain in fairly large numbers -- along the coast of Brazil, throughout the Caribbean, and then in many cities across the United States, especially in the South (New Orleans, Savannah, Charleston...).

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