Proving that music really knows no borders, documentary “Elis and Tom” (“Elis & Tom, Só tinha de ser com você”) – about the fateful meeting of singer Elis Regina and legendary composer Antônio Carlos Jobim – has now sold to U.S. to Outsider Pictures and Portugal’s Midas.
“Elis Regina and Antônio Carlos Jobim came to Los Angeles to create the legendary ‘Elis & Tom’ [album]. I can’t wait to share the film with audiences in the U.S.,” said Outsider Pictures’ CEO Paul Hudson.
The film will be released theatrically on Sept. 15 in Los Angeles. According to Brazil’s O2 Play, which is handling international sales, “advanced conversations” with Japan and Australia are also taking place.
“I was Elis’ manager back then and I recorded rehearsals, conversations and the atmosphere that reigned behind the scenes,” revealed director Roberto de Oliveira, referring to five hours of “memorable” footage of the 1974 recording.
“All this material was stored away, but all these years and the time that has passed has been ‘healthy’ for this story. Today, we know the complete professional journeys of these two exceptional artists and the successful career of this album.”
The film, co-directed by Jom Tob Azulay, was produced by Rinoceronte Entretenimento.
While the encounter in question resulted in unforgettable songs and a whole lot of industry gossip, Regina’ untimely death at just 36 in 1982 left the whole country reeling.
“Elis was a perfect singer. She was making a record with Wayne Shorter that was left unfinished and intended to launch her career on the international market. She would probably be successful, just like Jobim,” said de Oliveira.
“He was a minimalist, he used few notes and was known for his extraordinary, stunning harmonies. Elis was an exuberant singer. After meeting him, she became more restrained, valuing words and interpretation. She discovered it’s not just the voice that sings.”
Watching these two “opposites” face each other once more on the screen fascinated him the most, he admitted.
“[These were] two incredible artists who didn’t understand each other personally, but art brings talents together. When these geniuses finally recognized each other, a masterpiece emerged. In the end, they both came out of it bigger and they learnt from each other.”
Seeing their meeting as an important example “in a society as divided as ours,” de Oliveira is also hoping for a dialogue with a new audience, including younger viewers and those who are not familiar with Brazilian music at all.
“Tom Jobim was already well-known around the world after ‘Bossa Nova’ and the album he recorded with Frank Sinatra. His songs ‘Girl from Ipanema’ and ‘Waters of March,’ among others, are performed everywhere,” he observed.
“Elis Regina was a regional success, but the theme of the film is universal, just like the music. This story could have happened anywhere in the world,” he stated, also sharing his secret to talking about music in film: “The secret is to preserve the emotion it carries. You can’t let anything interfere with the performance’s relationship with the audience.”
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