And They Are All On YouTube (for now)
For many people, the toughest part of learning a foreign language is understanding what people are saying. We aren’t used to different sounds and tones.
One great way to practice your listening comprehension is music. Every language has its own rhythm. So it makes sense that a country’s music would have the DNA of the language in it.
In the future, I will write about a few great Brazilian artists who will have your ear drums buzzing.
This post is about practicing listening through videos. Watching movies is a great way to learn a language because not only are you listening to the language, but you are watching the physical mannerisms of the speakers as well.
Many times, you might not know exactly what someone is saying to you in Portuguese, but based on the words you did understand combined with their gestures, you will be able to make an educated guess.
The popular saying that communication is 85% non-verbal is true.
YouTube has a few great, free Brazilian movies with English subtitles.
When you become more advanced, watching the film with Portuguese subtitles will be the next step. The last goal is to be able to watch the films with no subtitles at all and still getting the main gist of the dialogue.
So, check out these free Brazilian movies with English subtitles that I cosign to the fullest.
Related Article: Semantica Portuguese: The #1 Online Brazilian Portuguese Course
NOTE: Sometimes movies are removed from YouTube, so if you come across this article in the future and a movie is no longer available, leave a comment below and I will try to update it with a new link or maybe even a new movie.
Bus 174 (No longer on YouTube)
Bus 174 is a gritty documentary about the tragic life of Sandro do Nascimento, a young Afro-Brazilian man who hijacked a Rio de Janeiro city bus in 2000.
The film takes a detailed look into the sociological reasons for why Sandro decided to commit the crime. The filmmakers interview his family, childhood friends and people who tried to help Sandro throughout his life.
What makes this documentary so interesting to me is that the entire standoff is caught on tape from beginning to the end; it was broadcast live to the world.
The footage of the hijacking not only showed the despair of Brazil’s poor class and street dwellers, but it also exposed the incompetence of the Rio de Janeiro police department.
2. Proibido Proibir (No longer on YouTube)
Proibido Proibir or Forbidden to Forbid is a tale about three university students and how their lives intertwine with people who are in less fortunate situations.
Actor Alexandre Rodrigues, who played the main character Rocket in City Of God, stars in the film.
Below is a brief plot summary from IMDb.
“The story of three friends in Rio de Janeiro: Leon (Alexandre Rodrigues), a sociology student; his girlfiend Leticia (Maria Flor), an architecture student; and Paulo (Caio Blat), a medical student and Leon’s best friend and roommate.
Although Paulo finds himself attracted to Leticia, his friendship with Leon prevents him from acting on his feelings. When Rosalind (EdyrDuqui), a leukemia patient at the hospital where Paulo interns, asks him to get in touch with her sons, the three friends are pulled out of their relatively tranquil lives and drawn into the violence and police corruption in one of Rio’s infamous favelas.”
Minha Mãe É Uma Peça (No Longer on Youtube)
To lighten the mood, the third movie on this list is a comedy.
Minha Mãe É Uma Peça or My Mother Is A Character, is a 2013 Brazilian comedy starring Paulo Gustavo. While watching this movie for the first time, it was difficult not to compare it to the Tyler Perry movies featuring his popular character Madea.
But it’s a fair comparison.
Minha Mãe follows an average day in the life of Dona Hermínia who lives in Niteroí, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was a huge hit in Brazil; more than 4 million Brazilians saw the film in theaters and made it the most watched film in 2013.
The sequel will be in theaters early February, 2016.
4. Central Do Brasil
A collaboration between France and Brazil resulted in Central Do Brasil (Central Station in the English market), a heart-felt drama about a boy living in the streets who is taken in by a bitter, retired school teacher.
Central Do Brasil is ranked No. 57 in Empire magazine’s “The 100 Best Films of World Cinema” in 2010, according to Wikipedia.
Read below for a quick plot review from Empire magazine.
“An odd couple movie, in essence, Central do Brasil sees a hoary old ex-schoolmarm taking a lost child whose mother has died off for an adventure – an adventure to find his father.
Over the course of their journey they bicker and fight and deal with the increasingly awful setbacks that come their way, all with such heartfelt and genuine delivery that it’s easy to see why the two were showered with prizes after its release.
Its simple premise belies the complexity in this beautiful pair of characters, prickly and authentic. It’s touching, beautifully shot, wonderfully scored, and even has time to show the dark underside of Brazil while it’s at it.”
Bicho de Sete Cabeças (No Longer on Youtube)
I haven’t seen the last film on this list, but I’ve read awesome reviews for it. Bicho de Sete Cabeças or Brainstorm, is a film about the mental institution system in Brazil and how Brazilian society deals with drug use.
It also takes a look at a strained relationship between father and son.
From a foreign review on IMDb:
“A trip to the mental institution hell. This odyssey is lived by Neto, a middle class teenager, who lives a normal life until his father sends him to a mental institution after finding drugs on his pocket.
The marijuana cigarette is just the final drop that exposes the family tragedy. Send to a mental institution, Neto gets to know a completely absurd, inhumane reality in which the people are devoured by a corrupt and cruel institution system.
The documentary type language used by the director give this movie a sensation of realty that increases even more the impact of the emotions Neto goes through. In the mental institution, Neto is forced to mature. The transformations that he goes through change this relations with his father.”