11 Unforgetable Brazilian Soap Operas
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11 Unforgetable Brazilian Soap Operas

May 14, 2011, 6:32 pm
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Brazilian Soap Operas make History
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by Nelly Apsan

Not everyone loves soap operas.  In fact some people have absolutely no interest in them. However,  no matter what, no one can deny that Brazilian soap operas are a most creative and enduring representation of the Brazilian culture. The following are  11 soap opera's (novellas) that have made coach potatoes out of millions.


1968 – Beto Rockfeller
This was the soap opera that created a revolution in Brazilian TV.  Tupi TV, now extinct, changed the rules of the game, and instead of  producing only stories based in Mexican melodramas, it created a Brazilian soap opera language, introducing new slang,  and used Brazilian songs as scores.  It basically forced Tupi’s main rival, Rede Globo, to update its strategy.

1973 – O Bem Amado/ Beloved
In Bahia, Odorico Paraguaçu is a corrupt mayor who has  three adoring ladies follow him around. He is ready  to inaugurate the new cemetery, but is missing one thing; the corpse.  It was the first soap opera made in colors. The mayor hires Zeca Diabo, to kill somebody so that he can open the cemetery.  In an ironic twist, the gunman kills the mayor . Written by play writer Dias Gomes, Characters: Paulo Gracindo (Odorico) and Lima Duarte (Zeca Diabo).


1976 – Escrava Isaura
Going back to a time, that African-Americans weer rarely seen on Brazilian television that even slaves were whites playing the role.   The story interprets a novel  by Bernardo Guimarães,   The story is about a  light colored slave that finds freedom and love in the arms of an abolitionist.  The novela was  super hit worldwide  and even popular in China, where the actress Lucélia Santos became a national muse. The main song “Lê lê lê lê,  vida de negro é difícil” (life of blacks is tough) is still  popular these days.


1976 – Saramandaia
This was a surreal classic by Dias Gomes detailing the life and time  in a small town of the Northeast Brazil.
The most remembered s scene, was the explosion of Dona Redonda (Round Lady).


1983 – Guerra dos Sexos/War of the Sexes
ernanda Montenegro and Paulo Autran, two giants of the Brazilian Media  appeared a slapstick comedy.


1985 - Roque Santeiro
This is another Dias Gomes soap opera. It's interesting that it took 15 years before it was produced because of governmental censorship. It's the story of the flamboyant false widow of a mythical hero and a powerful coronel (a rich landowner). The hero was a fiction.


1988 – Vale Tudo/ Anything is Allowed
This novella caused the months of interest  trying  to discover who killed the hated Odete.Here , a snobbish bad girl  who has a adversarial relationship with her daughter, drunkard Heleninha.  
This is a  scene of Odete, kissing an evil ad guy and exposing herself to the worst blackmailer,  Maria de Fátima!

1990 - Pantanal
The defunct TV Manchete produced this unusual love story taking place  in the idyllic landscape of Pantanal , of a  city boy and a mysterious girl that is capable of changing into into a jaguar,  The novella was very sexual as there were numerous naked women bathing in the rivers' a wild success.

Here a synopsis  of one chapter and the opening credits.

1996 - Xica da Silva
Another Manchete produced soap. It's the story of the slave who seduced a powerful Portuguese official. It introduced several future movie stars, such as Taís Araújo (the first black leading character in Brazilian TV), Drica Moraes and Giovana Antonelli.

Lots of chapters can be partially seen on Youtube dubbed in Spanish.

2001 – O Clone/The Clone
One of the most loved novella, a  mix of Islam and Brazil with a  Moroccan beauty falling for a Brazilian man and, years later, for his  clone. A most unusual sorry; never forgotten.

2009  - India (Caminho das Indias)

The soap opera intertwines Indian culture and the love story between a poor boy and an upper-caste girl is caused a stir in Brazil and in AMerica when it was dubbed into Spanish. Written by celebrated telenovela author Gloria Perez, Caminho das Indias - roughly translated as A Passage to India.

Author: Nelly Castillo
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