Screening Room

Brazil in Black and White

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?

One of realscreen's Top Five MIPCOM Picks.

October 5, 2007


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

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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