TIFF 2012 :The Great Kilapy brings Lazaro Ramos as a big swindler

Toronto International Film Festival

The Great Kilapy brings Lazaro Ramos as a big swindler

by Ingrid Coifman

Angolan director Zeze Gamboa’s second feature is set in the mid-1970s, on the eve of Angola’s independence from Portugal. The Great Kilapy (or more literally, ‘The Big Swindle’) tells the story of Joao Fraga (Brazilian actor Lazaro Ramos), a crooked but irresistible bon vivant and womanizer who slips into a life of crime in order to support his affluent lifestyle, becoming a legend amongst its people.

The film premiered at the TIFF 2012 and is based on a real-life figure, offering a compelling portrait of the last decade of Portuguese rule in Angola in a world of wealth and elite disinterest against the background of the political regime’s collapse.

Due to architectural and geographic likenesses with colonial Angola, the director chose Joao Pessoa, located in the Northeast of Brazil, as one of the colorful shooting locations, along with Rio de Janeiro, and cities in Portugal and Angola. The film brings out Gamboa’s distinguished cinematographic style in approaching social problems with a sense of humour. He points out that Brazilian and Angolan humour are very similar, both reflecting the expansive behavior of people used to the outdoor life.

Diversity is also a priority for Zeze when casting (actress Adriana Rabelo plays the charming Moti). His first feature movie, “The Hero”, also counted on Brazilian actresses Maria Ceiça and Neuza Borges in the team and grabbed the jury prize as Best Foreign Film at Sundance Festival in 2005. The Hero talks about the rebuilding of post-war Angola as a nation through its main characters by relying on new forms of solidarity among people.

According to the director, the international exposure obtained in the last years has opened doors in the business, but more investments in a national movie industry are critical. Among his future projects, Gamboa is interested in adapting an Angolan book to the big screen. “There are many excellent writers in Angola and plenty of material when it comes to social issues. Talking about this is more important than just creating entertainment. Movies are a powerful media for the development of Portuguese language and culture in its various shapes.”


Service: The Great Kilapy is screening Friday, September 14th, at 8:15pm, at Cineplex Yonge & Dundas 6. More info:

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