Besouro [trailer]

Thanks to a Facebook post by Global African Presence connoisseur Runoko Rashidi, I found Besouro. And I'm glad that I did: for many reasons. The trailer is magical.

Aside from that, the story behind the man is just as epic. The film--which screened last month at the Brazilian Film Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa--is an amazing ode to the spirit of African resistance, Candomble, and Capoeira. With aerial fighting choreography by Hong Kong master Huen Chiu Ku (the action-scene director for films like Kill Bill, Matrix and Hero) and photography by Enrique Chediak, Besouro seems to be aiming for authenticity.

Manuel Henrique, also known as "Besouro Mangang√°," was born in Santo Amaro da Purification and baptized with the name "Mangang√°" or beetle because of his flexibility and ability to disappear when necessary. Besouro only lived to be 27-years-old, but he learned the secrets of Capoeira at Rua do Trapiche de Baixo, under the direction of Mestre Alipio."Besouro was a revolutionary. He didn't like the police and was always involved in complications with them. More than once he used physical force to disarm policemen. Once armed with their guns, he would use them to lock the policemen up in jail cells meant for criminals."

"Manuel Henrique, Besouro Mangang√°, died in 1924, at the young age of 27, but lived on in two of his capoeira students Rafael Alves Franca, Mestre Cobrinha Verde and Siri de Mangue. Today Besouro is a capoeira symbol throughout all of Bahia. He is well known for his bravery and loyalty. The support he gave to those who were persecuted and oppressed by the police and owners of plantations was not forgotten."

{via Capoeira Sul da Bahia}