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Waiting for the Carnival 2019


Distributed by Icarus Films, 32 Court St., 21st Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201; 800-876-1710
Produced by Joao Vieira Jr. and Nara Aragao
Directed by Marcelo Gomes
Streaming, 86 mins

High School - General Adult
Free Trade; Human Rights

Date Entered: 01/20/2020

Reviewed by Barb Kundanis, Longmont Public Library, Longmont, CO

Waiting for the Carnival takes us to Toritama in Brazil, known as the capital of jeans. In this town, most people work by making jeans in homes and factions (small factories) all day long and into the evening. Workers say they can set their own hours, be their own boss. One worker makes $25/day for 1000 pocket openings.

The narrator reminisces on visiting Toritama as a boy and how it has changed from a rural community to a town dominated by the jean trade. He comments on how quiet it was and now the main sound is sewing machines. There are no labor rights or safety oversight. The people work every day year round (except for a few holidays) and look forward to Carnival. Then the whole town goes to the beach. If someone does not have money, they sell their belongings (i.e. refrigerator, tv) so they can go.

Director Gomes captures the omnipresent work environment of Toritama. While the workers appear satisfied with the way things are, the oppressive environment is evident. The focus on Carnival is the goal. There they can be free and have fun. This film exposes viewers to a way of life that is rarely seen and informs us of this human exploitation.