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In memory of Hector Babenco

Still from the movie Pixote

RIP Hector Babenco, my favourite South American film director (Pixote, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Carandiru). I was lucky enough to hear him talk in the London Film Festival when he presented Carandiru in 2003. Most people – including myself – first came across Brazilian cinema with the 1981 film Pixote, a Cannes Festival stunner. […]

Chapada Diamantina: Brazil’s adventure playground

Swimming in the Poço do Diabo Chapada Diamantina Bahia Brazil

Chapada Diamantina (Diamond Highlands), six hours out of Salvador, is one of Brazil’s most easily accessible National Parks and is quickly becoming a place not just to visit but to invest. There are three different biomes that meet here: Atlantic Rainforest, cerrado  and caatinga. From the small village of Lençóis at the entrance to the […]

The Opera House in Manaus

The Opera House in Manaus

I love opera. You have voices singing in unnatural cadences, laterally challenged men and women earnestly pretending to be dashing gay blades and gazelle-like femmes fatales, plus scenery from ancient China, Egypt or Valhalla. It is the campest of musical forms, and, like drag, it involves suspension of disbelief and immersion in a pre-arranged fantasy. […]