Carmen Miranda: Bananas is My Business (Helena Solberg, 1994)
During the years of the Second World War, the American government had an official “Good Neighbour Sam” policy to promote good will between itself and its South American neighbours, all in an attempt to keep these countries “sweet” during the War. Carmen Miranda was one of the US’s chief cultural weapons. Unfortunately, some Brazilians (the cultural elite that is) did not approve of the Miranda factor, and felt ridiculed by Carmen Miranda’s screen persona once exported and revamped by Hollywood.
Carmen Miranda is an early example of a transcultural celebrity icon: Brazilian Baiana costume, famed singer of popular Brazilian songs, exoticised foreign movie star in Hollywood, camp. The documentary of Helena Solberg looks at this celebrity icon in transition as it moves and morphs across languages, countries, seas, continents.
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