(Valéria, Camille K., Rogéria, Jane Di Castro, et al / DVD / NR / 2018 / Film Rise - MVD Visual)
Overview: The 'Divine Divas' are icons of the first generation of Brazilian transvestite artists of the 1960s. One of the first stages to host men dressed as women was the Rival Theatre, then run by Americo Leal, the director's grandfather.
The film explores the intimacy, the talent and the stories of a generation that revolutionized sexual behavior and defied the moral of the time.
DVD Verdict: Although not my usual viewing cup of tea, it still has to be said that the stunning glorious, always vibrant, raw and honest 'Divine Divas' is a genuine, and unabashed peek behind the curtains of the Rival Theatre in Brazil; which was one of the first in the country to showcase men dressed as women in the 1960s.
For our viewing pleasure, eight artists have gathered for a 50th anniversary reunion and their stories told here tonight via this brilliant documentary from Film Rise, are as varied as their costumes.
The documentary is greatly influenced by the experiences of the filmmaker, Leandra Leal, who practically grew up at the theater. Indeed, her grandfather, Américo Leal, owned it and presented that first showcase for transvestite performers.
Her mother, Angela Leal, brought her to the theater from an early age, and so she was greatly influenced by the warm and loving environment she found there. Because her mother was an actress, it felt entirely natural for her to also become an actress, which she did in her early teens; and to great acclaim, it should be said.
In truth, 'Divine Divas' is more a celebration of this flamboyant culture than it is an art expose, so to speak. For, and with thanks to her friendly relationships with the performers, each one of the eight open vividly up to her right away when describing what led them to where they are today.
Chock full of stories of pride, of hardship, of sorrow and of such colorful times that it could make your eyes dazzle for months thereafter, 'Divine Divas' is, without a shadow of a doubt, a glorious storytelling of some of the most accomplished performers that have ever graced that stage. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.