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Bruno Barreto

Bruno Barreto

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: March 16, 1955 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Rio de Janeiro, BR Profession: director, screenwriter, producer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

The son of Brazilian film producers, precocious filmmaker Bruno Barreto made his directing debut with "Tati", Brazil's official entry at the 1973 Moscow Film Festival, and was only 22 when he scored an international hit with "Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands" (1977), a comedy of sexual manners starring Sonia Braga as a woman who entertains the affections of her deceased playboy husband, as well as those of her ho-hum living spouse. Adapted from the novel by Jorge Amado, it paired him for the first time with screenwriter Leopoldo Serran, with whom he would also co-write "Amor Bandido/Beloved Lover" (1979), enhancing his international reputation, and "Gabriela" (1983), adapted from another Amado novel and again starring Braga. Unfortunately, these films fell far short of the phenomenal success of "Dona Flor", which had outpaced "Jaws" (1975) on its Brazilian home grounds. Director Robert Mulligan later reworked the material for a pallid Americanized version, "Kiss Me Goodbye" (1983), with Sally Field starring opposite James Caan and Jeff Bridges. Barreto's English-language directorial debut, the political thriller "A Show of Force" (1990), introduced him to future wife Amy Irving, a frequent player in...

The son of Brazilian film producers, precocious filmmaker Bruno Barreto made his directing debut with "Tati", Brazil's official entry at the 1973 Moscow Film Festival, and was only 22 when he scored an international hit with "Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands" (1977), a comedy of sexual manners starring Sonia Braga as a woman who entertains the affections of her deceased playboy husband, as well as those of her ho-hum living spouse. Adapted from the novel by Jorge Amado, it paired him for the first time with screenwriter Leopoldo Serran, with whom he would also co-write "Amor Bandido/Beloved Lover" (1979), enhancing his international reputation, and "Gabriela" (1983), adapted from another Amado novel and again starring Braga. Unfortunately, these films fell far short of the phenomenal success of "Dona Flor", which had outpaced "Jaws" (1975) on its Brazilian home grounds. Director Robert Mulligan later reworked the material for a pallid Americanized version, "Kiss Me Goodbye" (1983), with Sally Field starring opposite James Caan and Jeff Bridges.

Barreto's English-language directorial debut, the political thriller "A Show of Force" (1990), introduced him to future wife Amy Irving, a frequent player in his subsequent features. After helming the underrated middle-aged romance "Carried Away" (1996), starring Irving and Dennis Hopper, he enjoyed his biggest success since "Dona Flor" with "Four Days in September" (1997), a docudrama about the 1969 kidnapping of the US Ambassador to Brazil, Charles Elbrick (Alan Arkin). Refusing to pass moral judgment on either the kidnappers or the American-backed Brazilian dictatorship, Barreto focused instead on the psychological repercussions of real-life events, alienating Brazilian leftists and arguably robbing the story of some of its potential bite. Adapted from Fernando Gabeira's 1979 first-hand account, "O Que E Isso, Companheiro?", the picture evolved slowly from its original black-white treatment through six versions over more than a decade with Serran coming on board late to write the absorbing material that finally made it to the screen. Although criticized by some as "Costa-Gavras 'Light'", it managed to snag an Oscar nomination as Best Foreign Film.

Barreto then stumbled with his next project, the outdated crime actioner "One Tough Cop" (1998), adapted from the autobiographical book by former NYC detective Bo Dietl. Attempting to mimic landmark examples of the genre like "The French Connection" (1971) and "Serpico" (1973), the film fell short of the mark, despite the fine cast that included Steven Baldwin (as Dietl), Mike McGlone as a ruthless gangster and a virtually unrecognizable Amy Irving as a humorless, foul-mouthed FBI agent. Barreto tailored his next project to his wife's talents, helming the romantic comedy "Bossa Nova" (1999), with Irving as an American teacher living in Brazil who finds an unlikely romance.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

2.
4.
  Caixa Dois (2007)
5.
  View From the Top (2001) Director
6.
  Bossa Nova (2000) Director
7.
  One Tough Cop (1998) Director
8.
  Four Days In September (1997) Director
9.
  Carried Away (1996) Director
10.
  Heart Of Justice (1993) Director

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Intimate Portrait: Amy Irving (1999) Interviewee
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Rio de Janeiro and NYC
1973:
Feature directorial debut, "Tati", Brazil's official entry at the Moscow Film Festival
1974:
Co-wrote (with Carlos Diegues) and directed "A Estrela Sobe"
1977:
Scored international hit with "Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands", which he co-adapted from the novel by Jorge Amado; first collaboration with screenwriter Leopoldo Serran; picture starred Sonia Braga and earned the Jury's Special Prize at Italy's Taormina Film Festival
1979:
Expanded international reputation with "Amor Bandido/Beloved Lover", an uncompromising and ultimately, sad film based on one of Brazil's most notorious criminal cases; Serran co-wrote screenplay
1982:
"Dona Flor" remade as "Kiss Me Goodbye", directed by Robert Mulligan
1983:
Reteamed with Braga as "Gabriela", which he also co-adapted (with Serran) from an Amado novel
1986:
Was line producer for Christopher Cain's "Where the River Runs Black"
1990:
English-language directing debut, "A Show of Force", co-starring future wife Amy Irving
1993:
US TV-movie directing debut, "The Heart of Justice", a presentation of "TNT Screenworks"; Vincent Price made final screen appearance; first association with actor Dennis Hopper and director of photography Declan Quinn
1996:
Helmed "Carried Away", starring Irving and Hopper; also credited as executive producer; Quinn served as cinematographer
1997:
Directed the superb docudrama "Four Days in September", about the 1969 kidnapping of the US ambassador to Brazil; Serran, the last in a long line of writers, credited for screenplay; nominated for the Best Foreign-Language Film Academy Award
1998:
Stumbled with cliched crime actioner, "One Tough Cop", based on NYC policeman Bo Dietl's autobiographical book; starred Steven Baldwin and Chris Penn; featured Irving as a foul-mouthed, tough-as-nails FBI agent
1999:
Cast Irving as English teacher living in Rio in the romantic comedy "Bossa Nova"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

About the criticism of "Four Days in September": "The irony of all ironies is that had this film been made by a Hollywood studio, any one, they would have offered it to either Oliver Stone or Costa-Gavras, the usual suspects. It would have been a very black and white film, showing the dictatorship as monsters. Ironically, if it had been made by Hollywood, the Brazilian left would have liked it more."

"I think the military, the dictatorship, at some point they make sense when the secret agent says, 'When they get into power, it wouldn't just be torture, it would be executions.' That's true. We've seen it; it's fact." --Bruno Barreto quoted in THE NEW YORK TIMES, January 25, 1998

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Amy Irving. Actor. Formerly married to Steven Spielberg; together since 1989; fell in love while making "A Show of Force" (1990).

Family close complete family listing

grandmother:
Luciola Villela.
father:
Luiz Carlos Barreto. Producer. Executive producer for both "Dona Flora and Her Two Husbands" (1977) and "Four Days in September" (1996).
mother:
Lucy Baretto. Producer. Produced several of her son's films, including "Four Days in September".
brother:
Fabio Barreto. Director, actor. Served as production assistant on "Dona Flora and Her Two Husbands".
daughter:
Helena Barreto. Born c. 1977.
step-son:
Max Spielberg. Born in June 1985; father, Steven Spielberg.
son:
Gabriel Barreto. Born on May 4, 1990; mother, Amy Irving.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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