Dzi Croquettes (2009)

Genres - Culture & Society, Dance  |   Sub-Genres - Gay & Lesbian Films, Gender Issues  |   Run Time - 95 min.  |   Countries - Brazil  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Mark Deming

In 1964, a coup d'etat removed Brazilian president Joao Goulart from office, and a military dictatorship sprang up in his place. Brazil entered into a period of repressive politics, harsh government censorship and ugly reprisals against non-conformists and critics of the government, but a powerful voice of opposition came from a very unusual place. Lenny Dale was an American dancer and choreographer who had come to Brazil and fell in with a group of drag performers who had modeled themselves after the Cockettes, a flamboyant group of sexual anarchists who were making a name for themselves in San Francisco. Taking the name Dzi Croquettes, Dale helped transform the group into a remarkable cabaret act that used music, dance, outrageous costumes and provocative sexual ambiguity as a jumping off point for a satire of all that was repressive in Brazilian culture and a celebration of freedom from the confines of gender. Dzi Croquettes became wildly popular in Brazil, and after Liza Minnelli championed the group, they set out for a successful tour of Europe, with a run on Broadway in the offering. Dzi Croquettes never made it to America, and eventually ego, AIDS and a string of bad luck broke up the act, but for a while they were a remarkable voice of resistance and tolerance in a nation determined to beat down all opposition. Filmmakers Tatiana Issa and Raphael Alvarez chronicle the group's incredible true story in the documentary Dzi Croquettes, which was a multiple award winner at the 2009 Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival as well as the 2009 Sao Paulo International Film Festival.