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Film / Caramuru: The Invention of Brazil

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Caramuru: A Invenção do Brasil was a 2001 Brazilian love comedy based on the poem Caramuru which was inspired in the real-life figure Diogo Alvares Correia. The story portrays Diogo as a young artist who turns to cartography after getting on some nobleman's bad side. When he gets involved with a French courtesan named Isabelle who steals one of his maps, he is arrested and sent as an exile in one of the Portuguese expeditions to India. However, his ship gets wrecked and he ends up on the coast of the lands that would later be known as Brazil and ends up meeting with Tupinambá princess Paraguaçu, whom he falls in love with and later on has other adventures when the European explorers arrive to settle.

It was originally aired as an TV documentary in 2000 interlaced with several historical tidbits presented by actor Marco Nanini as the narrator to mark the 500th anniversary of Brazil's discovery by the Portuguese before being released on theaters the year later.


This movie features examples of the following tropes:

  • Betty and Veronica: Diogo becomes infatuated with two different ladies over the course of the movie in this order: first, the seductive, but backstabbing Lady Isabelle, Marquise de Sevigné and later on, the native princess Paraguaçu. It's easy to figure out who is the Betty and who is the Veronica.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Captain Vasco de Athayde and Lady Isabelle work together as the movie's main antagonists to Diego and set the plot in motion. By the end, Dom Vasco pulls sort of a Heel–Face Turn and Isabelle is backstabbed by him.
  • Cannibal Tribe: A surprisingly friendly version with Paraguaçu's tribe who initially plans on eating Diego despite being at this point sympathetic to him, though they give up on it later. Truth in Television since that particular tribe (the Tupinambás) were indeed cannibals.
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  • Disguised in Drag: In an attempt to return to Portugal while still in course to India, Diego disguises himself as a woman because they are forbidden to sail with the men and they are returned home during the first stop in the Canary Islands. He pulls it off so well with his Pretty Boy appearance that Captain Vasco becomes attracted to "her" and attempts to seduce her.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: What sets in motion the events of the story, actually: Vasco de Athayde forces Diogo to end his promising career as an artist, destroy all of his paintings and forbids him from ever drawing him again. Why? Because Diogo made a beautiful painting of a noblewoman that made Vasco fall madly in love with her and ask her hand in marriage, only to discover that his fiancee was very, very ugly.
  • The Exile: Diogo is shipped off to India after loosing one of the secret royal maps. This was a common practice in Portugal known as degradamento where criminals and the "New Christians" (Jewish and Muslim converts to Roman Catholicism) being sent to the colonies.
  • Femme Fatale: Isabelle, the Marquise de Sevigné conspires with Vasco to steal one of the maps of the royal Portuguese cartography to have a secret voyage to India, and does it by seducing Diogo into drawing a naked picture of her in them and leaves him to be a scapegoat.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Paraguaçu in a huge contrast to Isabelle.
  • It's Not Porn, It's Art: Diogo's downfall to be precise; his tendency to draw beautiful ladies gets him into trouble the most like making a beautiful portrait that leads to him getting into Vasco's bad side, and being tricked by Lady Isabelle into drawing a image of her in an important secret map which she steals and leads him to being exiled from Portugal.
  • Historical Beauty Upgrade: The main protagonist. Most portraits in real life depicted him as a hardy, rugged, bearded man, but in the movie he is an ouright Bishounen courtesy of being played by Selton Mello.
  • Historical Domain Character: The two main protagonists, Diogo Alvares Correia aka Caramuru and his wife Catarina Paraguaçu, who are considered to have formed the first Brazilian Christian family.
  • Hook Hand: Dom Vasco ends up with one after having his hand severed by arrow.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: Diogo's cartography employer Dom Jaime - right after employing the main protagonist, he chides him for not having began working immediately.
  • Pretty Boy: Diogo, who manages to disguise himself as a woman quite successfully. Impressively, he retains his good-looks while spending quite some time among natives without even growing a beard.
  • Obviously Evil: Dom Vasco de Athayde is dressed in all black, has a sinister mustache, introduces himself to Diogo as an slave merchant. As if he didn't have enough "villain" signs written all over him, he gains a hookhand, but surprisingly, he becomes nicer to Diogo.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Caramuru, Diogo's name among the natives, has two meanings: first it means "moray", a type of electric eel and the second is "Son of Thunder", because of the the handgun he fire to startle attacking natives which sounded like the sound of thunder.
    • Paraguaçu's Christian name Catarina means "pure" which may seem like a Ironic Name at first for a Ethical Slut like her, but she is "pure" in the sense she is in a A Fish Out Of Water environment and ultimately a good person... Unlike Isabelle.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The two most prominent female characters: Isabelle (who poses naked for Diogo at the start of the movie) and Paraguaçu (who wears a dress that leaves one of her breasts exposed).
  • Right Red Hand: Not that the audience ever sees it but according to some characters, Vasco's fiance is a hunchback, has a mustache and lacks her two ears.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Diogo and Paraguaçu in the first time they have sex together, they walk into the wild while the camera turns away into the beautiful scenery and he
  • Starving Artist: Diogo, literally at the start of the movie after being forced by Dom Vasco out of the art, he looks for a job in cartography and pleads to his boss that he was forced out of his house and didn't have a meal in two days.
  • Thrill Seeker: One of Diogo's shipmates Heitor got himself purposefully arrested by locking someone inside their house just so that he could be degredado and travel all around the world. He is such adrenaline seeker he becomes ecstatic when they run into a storm.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: While on the ship, Diogo becomes sick after hearing about Heitor's previous ship travels where they were left to eat rotten food under a scorching weather and hurls it in a window outside of the audience's view.
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: Vasco after Diogo blows away his female disguise, making immediately furious and disgusted at having tried to seduce him.

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