Tchindas Review: A documentary zeros in on a Cape Verde community’s Carnival preparations

Glue, glitter and feathers are at a premium in Tchindas, a beautifully shot vérité chronicle of the all-consuming Carnival preparations on São Vicente, Cape Verde’s second-most-populous island. A vivid sense of place, community and personalities comes through in the keenly observed film by Pablo Garcia Perez de Lara and Marc Serena, which reveals a seamless fusion of tradition and open-hearted acceptance….
For all the power of the direct-cinema approach, there are pieces of crucial context that are clearer in the production notes than the film itself. The oft-invoked Pomba Gira, a female figure of Afro-Brazilian religion, isn’t explained within the film, but the doc’s final 10 minutes make her power felt in the exultant performances of Edinha, Elvis and others on Carnival day. They wow the locals and tourists who line the city’s main street, with its glimpses of wealth and worldliness that contrast with the sleepy quarter from which Tchinda & Co. hail…

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