Netflix is not only becoming the most preferred library of quality audio-visual content, but also the source of some of the most impressive international productions. By doing so, the streaming platform has definitely diversified storytelling but it has also helped the masses be aware of varying time periods and exotic places and cultures from all over the world. The impact of such an influence cannot be understated. ‘Girls From Ipanema’ is a Brazilian series that proves to be visually enchanting, thanks to its vibrant period setting.
The series is set in the late 1950s and ’60s in Brazil, mainly in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. The show revolves around four women who attempt to live freer lives, in one way or another. However, the leading character is a formerly wealthy woman named Malu. Along with her husband, she is depicted to be opening a restaurant in Rio de Janeiro. However, her husband leaves her and flees with all the money. As a result, Malu is forced to chart her journey by herself. Along the way, she befriends Adelia, Ligia, and Thereza. The show’s English title was later changed to ‘Girls From Ipanema’ while the Portuguese-language series’ original title is ‘Coisa Mais Linda.’
The show beautifully depicts how heartbreak and a seemingly painful situation can often prove to be the foundation of a fresh and exciting beginning. Music is also a major theme for the show as it is Malu’s love for it that helps her recovery. The character of Malu is essayed by Maria Casadevall while that of Adelia is played by Pathy Dejesus. Fernanda Vasconcellos plays Ligia while Mel Lisboa plays Thereza.
Is Girls From Ipanema Based on a True Story?
Thanks to its period setting, several viewers might have wondered whether ‘Most Beautiful Things’ is based on a true story or not. Well, the story of Malu and the other characters is completely fictional. However, the period is captured rather authentically. This is where the series stays close to the truth.
The setting of Brazil in the 1950s and 1960s proves to be rather effective as it lends the show an exotic vibe. However, at the same time, the show is not all style without any substance. The historical facet is captured well through a look at the rise of Bossa Nova.
Bossa Nova is a style of music that evolved in Brazil in the ‘5os and impacted Western popular culture and the music industry largely. It is described as “a new kind of jazz-infused music that blended sinuous, caressing melodies with subtle syncopated rhythms” (source). In fact, the later title of the show, ‘Girls From Ipanema’ is a nod to Bossa Nova as well.
The Astrud Gilberto-sung ‘The Girls From Ipanema’ proved to be the first domino that led to the Bossa Nova revolution. In 1964, the single managed to grab the fifth spot in the US pop singles chart. It pushed Gilberto into stardom suddenly. “After the phenomenal success of ‘The Girl From Ipanema’, bossa nova fever gripped the US. Many musicians – particularly jazz ones – were attracted by the music’s delicate melodies, lush harmonies and slinky syncopation, and began recording authentic Brazilian material as well us reconfiguring standard songs using bossa nova-influenced rhythms”
Bossa Nova is not just a passing reference in ‘Most Beautiful Things.’ It dominates the period depiction of the series. After all, it is the protagonist’s love for music that aids her during a low phase in life.
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