Give a summary of the documentary, who what? when? where? (20%)

300 words

    1. Give a summary of the documentary, who what? when? where? (20%)
    1. Give your critical and personal reaction to the film. (20%)
    1. Discuss what aspects of 20th century Latin American studies are illustrated by the movie? What business did the Capó family start? What role did Cuban exiles play in the economic development of Miami? Back up your argument with examples.



Discuss what aspects of 20th century Latin American studies are illustrated by the movie? What business did the Cap family start?


Welcome to the second part of my series on 20th century Latin American history. I hope you had a good time reading about the rise and fall of the dictatorship in Brazil in 1964, or about the Cuban Revolution. If so, you’ll be excited to see what has been happening since then through the eyes of Hollywood movies!

Brazil, the movie starts with a scene of the brutal 1964 Brazilian coup….

Brazil is a country in South America. It was ruled by a military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985, when it became a democracy again. The coup was led by General Humberto Castello Branco, who supported the United States government’s support for his coup against President João Goulart (1961-1964). This support included training and arming him with weapons that he used against other Brazilian generals opposing him; this action led to many people being killed or imprisoned during this time period.

The film also shows us what happened after these events occurred: How did Brazil recover? What business did the Cap family start?

The movie has several different sub-narratives.

The movie has several different sub-narratives. There is the main narrative of Michael Evans, who travels to Brazil looking for his father’s business partner, Pedro Menezes. Then there are other sub-plots about crime and corruption in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

There are also many references to Brazilian history and culture that you may or may not understand (if you’re like me). For example:

    • “The bass drops on ‘Amor’ by Milton Nascimento” refers to a famous song from the 1970s written by Milton Nascimento which was popularized by Shakira in 2010;
    • The scene where Michael Evans walks through downtown Sao Paulo was filmed on Rua Augusta which currently houses luxury apartments;
    • “I’m gonna buy myself some good shoes” refers back to Ayrton Senna’s quote when he won his first Formula One race at Monaco in 1984.”

There are several characters who are based on real people.

There are several characters who are based on real people. Carrie is based on an actual daughter of a family started by Capone. The Cap family is based on a real family that was involved in the same business as the one portrayed in the movie, which was illegal liquor production and distribution during Prohibition.

The main character, Carrie, is also based on an actual person: Frances O’Connor (1906-1920). She was born in Ireland and immigrated to America when she was young; but unlike most Irish immigrants at that time, she did not come from poverty or famine conditions—she came from rich families who lived in fashionable areas like Manhattan’s Upper East Side or Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill section (the part we see during scenes set there).

The movie’s treatment of Cuba made it to the Oscars’ Best Foreign Language Film category.

The movie’s treatment of Cuba was controversial, and it made it to the Oscars’ Best Foreign Language Film category. It wasn’t nominated for best picture, but it was nominated for an Oscar in that category—and then lost out to a French film called The Old Man and the Sea (1958).

The portrayal of Cuba also drew criticism from dissident political groups at home: One group called Citizens Against Radioactive Waste (CARE) protested against what they called “another example of Hollywood trying to whitewash everything” by making such a positive depiction of Castro’s policies towards improving health care and education during his rule over Cuba.

Carrie has many different jobs, depending on location and time period.

Carrie is a teacher in the beginning of the movie and later becomes a journalist, doctor and spy. She also works as an activist for women’s rights.

The Cap family business was started by her father’s uncle Francisco Cap, who was married to Francisco’s aunt Rosario Cap. This couple owned property on Old Mexico Road (now called “Queen’s Highway”) where they lived with their children: Franko and Amalia. The family ran a hotel called El Alamo Inn which had rooms for rent or sale depending on whether you wanted your own private bathroom or not!

There are many ways to approach Latin American studies.

Latin American studies is a wide field, and there are many different aspects of it. Brazil is an example of this. The movie has many subplots, including the love story between Fernando and Maria (who are based on real people), a political subplot involving the rise of communism in Brazil after World War II, and even an environmentalist subplot about deforestation caused by logging companies.

To be sure: there aren’t any hard-and-fast rules for how you should approach studying Latin America!


These are just a few of the many ways you can approach studying Latin America. If you want more information on this topic, we recommend checking out one of our other articles on the subject (or even better, finding a local source who can talk to you about it).

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