Thursday, May 29, 2014

BRAFF NY ’14: Casimiro Effect (short)

They appreciate an excuse to party in Brazil, especially when it comes hot on the heels of the military regime’s fall from power. First contact would certainly fit the bill. Clarice Saliby chronicles the would-have been close encounter that turned into a gathering in the short documentary, The Casimiro Effect (trailer here), which screens during the 2014 Brazilian Film Festival in New York.

After years of military authority, the Brazilian media apparently threw out their filters and ran any story that caught their fancy. As a result, a rather rustic gentleman in Casimiro de Abreu got tremendous pick-ups claiming his was the aliens’ advance man. Supposedly, they were coming to Casimiro at an appointed hour. He could even predict some cosmic activity, claiming it was alien reconnoitering.

So what happened? Every Brazilian with a guitar packed up their VW van and headed to Casimiro. Obviously, the aliens never came but it was a heck of a party. Saliby tracks some of the leading witnesses of the party-slash-hoax, who try to keep the extraterrestrial dream alive, but give us a break. Who needs aliens if you have good music?

Even if it takes itself a tad too seriously, Effect is entertaining time capsule, capturing a moment in Brazilian history when hope and joie de vivre were looking for any old outlet. The alien mythology will also interest genre diehards, adding another incident to their grand conspiracy theories. Recommended for fans of UFO Hunters and wild parties in general, The Casimiro Effect screens this coming Monday (6/2), before the feature The Invisible Collection, at the Tribeca Cinemas, as part of this year’s Brazilian Film Festival in New York.