Raphael Alvarez and Tatiana Issa's "Dzi Croquettes"

The Daily

"Dzi Croquettes reclaims the eponymous avant-garde theater group as major figures in Brazil's history of state terrorism and artistic resistance," writes Diego Costa in Slant. "More than just a 'bunch of faggots' (as the dictatorship's guards that surveilled them would put it), the 13-member 1960s troupe of gender-fucking, glitter-covered polyglot queens was 'queer' at a time when the word was still just another gay slur. Theirs was a status quo-shattering kind of camp, circumventing censorship through sarcasm, crafting intricate and combustible juxtapositions including a black queen delivering a gut-wrenching version of Jacques Brel's 'Ne Me Quittes Pas' in a pink wedding gown — and combat boots…. At one point they try conquering Europe, performing in Paris for the likes of Omar Sharif, Catherine Deneuve, Jeanne Moreau, and Josephine Baker, who requests that the Dzi Croquettes replace her as Theatre Bobino's main act once she dies, which they do."

Ernest Hardy in the Voice: "A coincidental sister group to San Francisco's Cockettes, formed in the same era but having a much shorter lifespan, Dzi Croquettes were created by Brazilian-born actor Wagner Ribeiro and American-born dancer and choreographer Lennie Dale, who really found his artistic voice after leaving the States and settling in Brazil…. Anecdotes and analysis from people who knew them, worked with them, or actually were Croquettes is illuminating, funny, and deeply moving, but it's the mind-blowing performance footage (and there's lots of it) that makes this a must-see film. Co-directed by Raphael Alvarez and Tatiana Issa, Dzi Croquettes is framed by Issa's memories of a childhood spent briefly amongst the collective, whose motto was: 'We are not men. We are not women. We put it together and became one thing: people.'"

Andrew Schenker in Time Out New York: "Giving individual members of the outfit their due while focusing on different aspects of their art, the film presents a wide-ranging picture of a unique cultural phenomenon, even if subjects like Liza Minnelli too often fall into semiarticulate expressions of hagiographical awe."

Opens tomorrow at New York's IFC Center, though, in some countries, you can watch it right here on MUBI.

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  • Michael Hawley

    Nice to see that this terrific doc, which I first saw almost two years ago, is finally getting some exposure and respect.

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