- Title: BRAZIL: Film about President Lula kicks off Brasilia festival on political note
- Date: 20th November 2009
- Summary: BRASILIA, BRASIL (NOVEMBER 17, 2009) (REUTERS) BARRETO AFTER FILM SCREENING (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) DIRECTOR OF "LULA, THE SON OF BRAZIL", FABIO BARRETO, SAYING: "Today, Lula is a global personality. He is a man who used to drink water with the cattle from a water well and now, when he opens his mouth to speak, everybody listens. So we have to benefit from this, explore this film internationally. There are many requests for premieres from several chiefs of state and it is very important that we show the life of this Brazilian man out there. I truly believe in the global success of the film."
- Embargoed: 5th December 2009 12:00
- Location: Brazil
- Country: Brazil
- Reuters ID: LVA96ZVXRGSQ8Q81NAA01E96YJPN
- Story Text: A new movie about the rise of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva premieres at film festival - charting his rise from extreme poverty to the presidency.
"Lula, The Son of Brazil" - a new movie that tells the story of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's rise to political power - made its public debut on Tuesday (November 17), with audiences giving the film a rapturous reception.
The movie, by Brazilian director Fabio Barreto, opened Brasilia's 42nd Film Festival in a screening packed with government officials, but missing the main star, Lula himself. First lady Marisa attended on behalf of her husband.
The premiere, which gathered several members of the ruling Workers' Party and the opposition, seemed more like a political event than a cultural one.
Having cost a little over $10 million dollars, the film tells the story of the charismatic leader's early life in rural poverty and his rise to become Brazil's first working-class president in January of 2003.
Actor Rui Ricardo Dias, who stars as the adult Lula, said he was very pleased to play the role of an ordinary Brazilian who became one of the world's top political figures.
"This story is a story of a Brazilian like many others. This is what pleases us, this is what interests me the most, to be able to tell an ordinary story of Brazilian like many others, a story that we can connect with while watching," he said.
Born to a penniless, semi-literate family in Brazil's wretched northeastern desert, Lula moved as a boy to Sao Paulo state, the country's industrial hub, to look for work.
He rode 13 days across the country in the back of a flatbed truck with his mother and siblings before arriving in Sao Paulo. After completing elementary school, he started working in a dry cleaning shop. By 14 he was working in a screw factory and attending vocational school to become a lathe operator.
Barreto said many countries have sent him requests to screen his film in festivals around the world because everyone wants to know his story.
"Today, Lula is a global personality. He is a man who used to drink water with the cattle from a water well and now, when he opens his mouth to speak, everybody listens. So we have to benefit from this, explore this film internationally. There are many requests for premieres from several chiefs of state and it is very important that we show the life of this Brazilian man out there. I truly believe in the global success of the film," he said.
The film also chronicles the death of Lula's first wife and baby during labor, shortly before he was elected to the union leadership, the first in a series of important posts he held in Sao Bernardo do Campo, the birthplace of Brazil's automobile industry.
After watching the movie, Brazilian director Jose Araripe said he was moved by the film's portrayal of the country's period of military dictatorship.
"It (the film) is very nice because it shows moments that were important, that he (Lula) took part in and that I also took part in, that everybody took part in. These (referring to military dictatorship period) were important times for Brazil and I think the film has the merit of showing it in a very nice and skillful way," he said.
As a fiery union leader, Lula led huge strikes against the 1964-1985 military dictatorship and was briefly jailed. Soon after, he founded the Workers' Party, or PT, turning it into the most potent left-wing political force in Latin America.
Towards the end of the film, Barreto chose to use real scenes of Lula's inauguration, showing him with a trimmed beard and a suit next to his wife in front of the presidential palace in Brasilia.
Two other screenings are set for the upcoming weeks - one in Salvador and another in Lula's political birth town Sao Bernardo do Campo, where the president is expected to attend.
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