Bel Borba Aqui

Bel Borba Aqui

  • Bel Borba
Executive Producer:

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Bel Borba Aqui (2012)

Opened: 10/03/2012 Limited

Film Forum/NYC10/03/2012 - 10/16/201214 days
Downtown Indep...11/16/2012 - 11/22/20127 days

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Home

Genre: Biographical Documentary (English and Portuguese w/English subtitles)

Rated: Unrated

His art transforms a city. No permission asked.


In Foucault's Pendulum, Umberto Eco calls the city of Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, the "Black Rome." The rich culture of Salvador emanates from a fusion of European, African, and Native Indian roots. Today, tattooed onto the skin of the city's 500-year-old urban landscape, one observes the ubiquitous public artwork created by the artist Bel Borba over the past 35 years. The documentary film, Bel Borba Aqui, reflects the intense and intimate relationship between this historically rich city and her beloved native son, Bel Borba. This film shares Bel's ebullient personality through constant acts of creation. We see him in moments of joy and madness, creating large-scale outdoor art at lightning speed and then working alone in deep introspection. Bel's art draws inspiration from his surroundings, and inspires others, particularly people in impoverished neighborhoods, to join him in creating art that improves their environment. Bel, known as "the people's Picasso," is also a man with flaws, fears and struggles, and yet, Bel is a shrewd man who navigates effortlessly from high society to the favelas of the forgotten people. Bel's own voice narrates the film, which, instead of following a chronological order, is composed of a series of short narratives. Interlinked events weave through the film like one of his famed street mosaics, constructed piece by piece. This lyrical journey unfolds Bel and his world into one masterpiece that can only be realized as a whole once it is complete. The film examines a celebrated artist facing his own mortality through cinematic gestures of subtle playfulness that reflect Bel Borba himself, and how he transforms his art to breathe new life into a city he loves.