Trash-Mouth Cinema Is Alive and Well in a Brazilian Prison
On February 25, 2013, federal police in Caxias do Sul, Brazil, arrested the director Sady Baby and his girlfriend, Patricia, at a routine traffic stop. Sady had been missing since 2008 when police accused him of hiring a minor, who was supposedly his daughter, to play a role in his latest movie, The Director’s Daughter.His arrest was a shock to many, not only because he had been missing for so long, but because there were rumors going around that he had committed suicide by throwing himself from a Uruguay River bridge.
Sady Baby is the stage name of Sady Plauth, the infamous actor and filmmaker who blew up during the decadent boca do lixo [“trash-mouth”] era of Brazilian cinema. The numerous low-budget productions from that time were almost entirely devoted to explicit sex, and Sady was at the forefront. In a twisted way, he represented an expression of Brazil’s deepest feelings. The best way I can describe the mantra of this movement is with a line from one of Sady’s films, Orgy Bus: “Working is for morons. If this country is fucked, then let’s fuck.” His work often pushed the boundaries of sexuality, exploring taboos and controversial subjects like zoophilia, rape, and necrophilia.
When I was around seven, I used to go to Balneario Camboriu in Santa Catarina for summer vacations with my family. Every day, at the edge of the beach, a guy with curly blond hair, a Viking hat, and a G-string thong would get on a megaphone and announce the beginning of an erotic play called Soltando a Franga, which, loosely translated, means “Release the Inhibitions.” Years later I realized that the strange man hosting sexy public theater on the beach was Sady Baby himself.
I wanted to speak to the father of Brazilian smut, so I visited Sady at the Caxias do Sul penitentiary.
Luana Scarlet holds a snake that will be shoved into one of the actors during Sexual Feelings of a Horse.
VICE: The majority of your work was done decades ago, but many of the themes remain taboo today. What’s the creative process surrounding work controversial enough to offend generations of people?
Sady Baby: I watched a lot of movies and always felt like something was missing. I noticed that everyone has a perversion, a fantasy, but they’re ashamed to expose it or talk about it. I started to put that in my work, and it went well. At the time people would stop me in the streets. Some would compliment me and others criticized me, but there has always been an audience for that, you know?
Did you know that you are something of a cult figure in pornography?
I had no idea.
Yes. A journalist in Sao Paulo is writing a book about my career. It will be released next year, but I never cared for any of that. I’m a simple guy. I’ve always respected people. One of the most important things to me is when someone stops me on the street and says, “Hey, I really like your work.”
I read somewhere that Gio Mendes is writing your biography and the title is Every Pussy Has a Price. Is that right?
Yeah, that’s right. But I don’t go anywhere with a title like that.
Sady doing sexy stuff with Marcia Scarpette near a waterfall in the city of Guararema.
Injustice in the Amazon: Brazil Lets An(other) Environmental Murderer Go Free
The city of Marabá was founded on April 6, 1913, in the southeastern edge of the Amazon rainforest on a narrow strip of land where the rivers Tocantins and Itacaiunas meet. For the first several decades of its existence, the city’s economy was dependent on the abundant Brazil nut trees in the surrounding forest, but starting in the 1960s, the forest was cut down to make way for pasture. Since then, Marabá’s main claim to fame has been as one of the most violent places in Brazil. Last week, as the town geared up to celebrate its centennial, it was also wrapping up the trial of the killers of environmental activist couple Zé Claudio and Maria do Espirito Santo, the case VICE covered in Toxic: Amazon. But instead of closing the book on this violent chapter of the region’s history, Marabá’s justice system has given the green light to those who think murder is the best way to solve a problem.
Zé Claudio and Maria came from generations of nut foragers, people who made a meager living selling Brazil nuts in Marabá while getting most of their food from the forest. In the late 90s, the couple settled in a newly created extractive reserve called Praia Alta-Piranheira. The reserve was made exclusively for extractivists like them; logging and ranching the land is illegal and its occupants are expected to make a living collecting rubber, nuts, fruits, and other forest products in a sustainable fashion. However, from its inception the reserve had been the target of loggers and ranchers hungry for one of the few remaining patches of forest in the region. As a result, Zé Claudio and Maria became increasingly active in protecting the area, constantly reporting illegal activities to the authorities, receiving threats from loggers, ranchers, and charcoal producers—and eventually being murdered for their defense of their land. Their deaths would have gone unnoticed had they not happened on the same day Brazil’s congress was voting on revisions to the country’s forest code, and the attention the case received led to unusually fast investigations by Brazilian standards.
In the days after Toxic: Amazon was made, investigators looked into the local loggers and charcoal producers who constantly threatened the couple, but found no evidence that they were responsible for the murders. Once those avenues had been exhausted, they started to investigate a rancher named Zé Rodrigues, who had recently moved into the settlement. Rodrigues had illegally acquired two plots of land in the area and forcibly removed the three families who had been living there. Those families came to Zé Claudio for help, and this is when the couple became the target of Zé Rodrigues’ rage.
McDonald’s Is Violating Labor Laws in Brazil
Brazil is home to more McDonald’s than any other place in the Western Hemisphere, aside from the US. The federal police in Brazil recently announced that they have been investigating McDonald’s for the past several months over allegations that its workers have been laboring in “slave-like conditions.” The case was announced last week, in response to a 17-year-old girl’s complaint, filed in October, that she had worked at a São Paulo McDonald’s for eight months without receiving any pay.
The girl testified that when she started at McDonald’s, she had been told to open a bank account to receive her salary via direct deposit. When she gave them her savings-account information, the manager told her to open a checking account. The girl opened the checking account but claims that management continued to make excuses not to pay her. Her mother, Maria das Graças Nonato, initially thought her daughter was lying to her about her earnings but eventually took her to meet with union representatives, who brought the allegations to the federal police.
Antonio Carlos Lacerda, a lawyer from the Hotel and Restaurant Workers Union, says, “The police are focusing on this individual case because the girl has agreed to testify, but this is not an isolated incident. We know of many other similar situations, and this is why they have decided to step in. I believe that when the investigation is concluded, they will prove that there is a systematic pattern of this kind of behavior through the entire McDonald’s system.”
This incident is one more setback for McDonald’s in a long line of labor issues in Brazil. Last year, there were 1,790 cases against the company in the state of São Paulo alone for claims ranging from firing pregnant women in order to avoid paying maternity leave, to overtime violations and failure to pay the minimum wage. According to the news magazine Brasil de Fato, one of the reasons that McDonald’s has gotten away with so many labor crimes is that they focus on hiring teenagers from poor backgrounds who have little job experience and don’t know their rights.
Being a Brazilian Policeman Sucks
On May 12, 2006, a wave of violence was sparked in Sao Paulo. Over the span of four days the city saw 299 attacks against public establishments (police stations, justice forums, buses), over 20 uprisings in prisons, and just under 150 murders. It was a major buzzkill for anyone living in the city. The official reasoning behind the violence was that seven main leaders of the criminal organization PCC were being moved to maximum security prisons, where it would be harder for them to exercise their influence on the outside crime world. The PCC and the Sao Paulo police department have been at war ever since.
Six years in, and 2012 saw the death of at least a hundred police officers before November. The number of criminal and civilian deaths also rose, while a curfew was placed on certain favelas and particularly dangerous areas of the city, both by the state and the PCC. We tracked down a policeman—who wanted to remain anonymous, because he’s not insane—who gave us a testimony that makes A Prophet sound like a lullaby.
I’m a military police soldier in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and if I disclose my identity, I’ll lose my job. I work downtown, in the heart of the city. It’s one of the areas controlled by the criminal organization PCC. I’ve been in the force for eight years and previously worked in the southern part of the city in a favela called Heliópolis. I’ve been a part of the tactical force unit for most of that time.
The situation we’re experiencing as police officers at the moment is worse than ever. In 2006, we knew who the enemy was. We had all sorts of communication media at our disposal, as well as the possibility for backup in the form of helicopters or the ROTA (Rondas Ostensivas Tobias de Aguiar, or Ostensive Rounds—the most violent of the Brazilian special forces). It’s different these days. Keeping your family away from danger is a real and basic concern.
The largest violent outbreak yet happened in September. At first, we’d have one death every week, or one every two weeks, then it became a daily occurence. A police officer would die every night. We’d known something was going on since August, but the governor was quick to dismiss the deaths as unrelated events, as did the Department of Public Security, while officials completely denied the attacks.
WATCH: Fashion Week Internationale - Rio Fashion Week, Part 1
Charlet heads to the sexiest city in the world for Rio Fashion Week and, taking 1980s Arnold Schwarzenegger’s advice, goes on a hunt for ass. She plays “spot the transsexual model” backstage at the shows and invites a 19-year-old transgender prostitute into the VICE bang bus to learn more about the “ins and outs” of her job.
FETISHIZING THE LATEX DREAM IN THE BRAZILIAN RAINFOREST
Photos By Matheus Chiaratti
Jenni tries on Fetisso’s best-selling gloves in the factory’s stockroom.
Sometime in the mid-1960s, near the small Swiss town of Vordemwald, little Willi Graber was playing by himself on his grandparents’ farm. He wandered into the kitchen, where something in a basket of old clothes caught his eye: a pair of yellow latex kitchen gloves. He put them on. They made him feel funny. Immediately sensing their power, he walked outside and grabbed a piece of cow manure. It was a strange feeling—squeezing cow shit between his fingers and knowing it couldn’t touch him.
With these gloves, young Willi realized he could get away with all sorts of forbidden deeds, unscathed. He touched poisonous plants and stinging ants, plunged his arm into the creek and pulled out blood-sucking leeches. Drunk on his newfound power, he even inserted a latexed finger into the asshole of one unfortunate bovine. It was absolutely sensational. Of course, a few years later he started masturbating while wearing the gloves. Like any good Swiss boy, he’d been taught masturbation was wrong. But with the gloves on, it was different; it was OK. He felt protected. The gloves became his magic talisman that shielded him from God’s judgment. Slowly and strangely he realized that gloves and other garments made from other materials like leather or vinyl didn’t hold the same allure. Latex was it for him, and it became apparent that Willi had a fetish. Still, he had no way of knowing that decades later he would use his secret shame to his advantage by establishing a lucrative fantasy fetish-wear company in a paradisiacal stretch of Brazilian rainforest.
By no means was Willi the first person possessed by the power of latex, the milky white sap that drips from the scored trunks of rubber trees. During the Industrial Revolution, rubber was as important a resource as oil is today. Like oil, it was the impetus for mind-boggling exploration, exploitation, and violence in the service of empire. Rubber tappers who failed to meet their quotas in King Leopold’s Congo Free State had their hands cut off. To leverage the vast reserves of rubber trees in the Amazon, South American barons drove the natives into indentured servitude as seringueiros. These miserable workers were forced to scale towering Amazonian trees and gather their sap. In 1876, British explorer Henry Wickham smuggled 70,000 rubber seeds out of the Brazilian Amazon—an astounding act of botanical piracy and the beginning of the British Empire’s plantations in Asia. Henry Ford later purchased a piece of the Amazon as big as Delaware and Rhode Island combined to grow rubber trees and hired thousands of Brazilian workers to run Fordlandia, a failed Detroit-style processing plant and suburb in the middle of the Amazon.
Latex drips into a collection pail at a plantation in Pernambuco, Brazil. Moments before, a tapper dragged the tip of his knife down the bark; the red stuff is a chemical that helps the tree heal.
Karl Marx wrote in Capital that capitalists are basically fetishists, worshipping mystical powers that workers impart to the goods they create (sounds like Prada to me). Before latex, fetishists had made do with what they had—fur, silk, and tight-laced corsets. That was until 1823, when Scottish chemist Charles Macintosh concocted the rubberized fabric that laid the foundations for future BDSM fantasy. Though his Mackintosh coats were smelly, sticky, and sometimes melted on hot days, they were also hugely popular. Valerie Steele, author of Fetish: Fashion, Sex, & Power, identifies England’s Mackintosh Society as one of the modern era’s first fetishist organizations. During her research, she found a 1920s fetish magazine titledLondon Life that detailed “the thrill of maccing.” Today you can buy a snappy Mackintosh raincoat for $800 from J.Crew.