Brazilian cult teen classic
For any thirty-something Brazilian, Tizuka Yamasaki needs no introduction. Director of the big hits Gaijin (1980) and Parahyba Macho-woman (Parahyba mulher-macho) (1983), the filmmaker is one of the country’s best-known names as a producer of cult teenage cinema. 25 years ago her film Crystal Moon (Lua de Cristal) was a box-office sensation that made the name of children’s TV show hostess Xuxa Meneghel. Following this success, Yamasaki and Meneghel continued to work together in Xuxa Gets Down (Xuxa requebra) (1999) and Xuxa popstar (2000).
To celebrate the film’s 25th birthday, the Festival do Rio is screening the Crystal Moon tonight, at midnight, at the Estação NET Botafogo 1. Yamasaki and other guests will be present to introduce the iconic work.
We jumped on the opportunity to have a few words with the director while she is with us at the festival.
25 years on from the film’s initial release: what are your thoughts?
At the time, in the cinematographic circles, people were somewhat hesitant about making a film with Xuxa. I accepted the challenge. I was curious about the child-star, how she had conquered the children’s popular culture scene. 25 years later and the film is a classic. I’ve been invited to take part in a homage to its success. Things have a funny way of working out, don’t they?
Crystal Moon was the first of a series of films you did with Xuxa. Today, looking back, how do you feel about this partnership?
It was great! Not just with Xuxa, but also with the producer Diller Trindade and the executive producer Cacá Diniz. And my team of technical helpers (Yurika Yamazaki, Edgar Moura, Lael Rodrigues, Yoya Wursch, Favilla, Ana Diniz, Jessel...) Everyone was determined to make some really high-quality cinema. The dedication of this team enabled us to produce something that would really impact hundreds of people. The film had a simple but powerful message: even the superstar Xuxa had to overcome adversity to achieve her dreams.
What do you think of the cinema directed at today’s Brazilian youth?
basically nothing being made for this age-group, which is a shame. Today’s
adolescents and children are becoming more and
more distanced from the cinematic production of their own country of origin. They're growing up on a diet of purely Hollywood cinema.
The film held the record for the highest ticket-sales for 16 years, with over 920,000,000 spectators going to see it in the first week alone (the record was broken by the film Two Sons of Francisco (2 filhos de Francisco) in 2006). Do you think that cinema directed at the Brazilian teenage market would still be able to produce numbers like this?
Yes. There’s the public for it. All we need now is the support from distributors. Brazil has great cinematographic potential. What we’re lacking is the financial resourses to make these pipe-dreams a reality.
So what’s next?
At the moment we’re working a couple of new projects due to come out this November. There’s also something on the cards for next year, but it’s still too early to give anything away. Ask me later...