Affirmative action quotas have come to Brazil, one of the world’s most diverse nations. In a country where almost every citizen traces their origins to radically diverse ethnic pools, people have begun asking themselves what color they are; or are they black enough?
Brazil in Black and White follows the lives of five students of different backgrounds as they try to win a spot at the University of Brazilia, where 20% of incoming students must now qualify as Afro-Brazilian. The quotas are a result of economic disparities between light- and dark-skinned Brazilians, but in Brazil, race is hardly a black and white issue. Color and race are separate issues, and even the lightest-skinned citizens can claim Afro-Brazilian status. ‘Brazil in Black and White captures a unique moment as a nation looks in the mirror,’ as the filmmakers summarize.
This would probably be a hilarious film if it wasn’t so strikingly sad and challenging at times. Forget what you think you know about race, because this film will turn it on its head.
Partners: Robert Stone Productions and Thirteen/WNET New York distributed through ro*co films international for PBS’ ‘Wide Angle’
Aired: September 2007
Length: 45 minutes
Rights available: Worldwide, except US