Monday, August 8, 2011

Of Globo and Garabaldi

Rede Globo is Brazil’s largest commercial television network, the largest, in fact, anywhere in the world outside of the United States.

For more than thirty years, they’ve been spending a good deal of money researching what their audiences want to see.

And then a good deal more producing programming based upon what they’ve learned.

That’s right. Producing. None of Globo’s prime-time shows are ever imported, and none are bought from third parties. All are produced “in house”. It’s the key to Globo’s success.

Most of those programs consist of nighttime soap operas, with production values as high as you’ll find anywhere in the world, but with content that isn’t much better than pap.

Occasionally, however, they aim a bit higher.

As they did back in 2003, when they adapted a book by a Brazilian writer by the name of Letícia Wierzchowski, and presented it in 52 chapters of about 40 minutes each.

A Casa das Sete Mulheres, takes place in the southern part of Brazil, and part of the story dramatizes incidents in the life of Giuseppe Garibaldi and the woman who became his wife.

Yeah, that’s right.
That Garibaldi.

Turns out, the “Father of Modern Italy” wasn’t born in Italy at all. He was born in Nice, then, as now, French territory.

He became a sea captain, and when he was sentenced to death for revolutionary activities in Europe, fled to Brazil.

There, he participated in a secession movement not unlike that of the Confederate States, during the American Civil War.
And just as ill-fated.

During the conflict, and at the age of 31, he met Ana Maria de Jesus Ribeiro, aged 18, who became his partner and comrade in arms. She was reputed to have been an excellent horsewoman, and she fought beside him at the battles of Imbituba and Laguna.

Here’s a statue of the two of them, erected in Porto Alegre, in the heartland of the rebellion. ( Garabaldi is regarded as a hero in that part of Brazil.)

In 1841, Giuseppe and Ana fled to Uruguay, where Garibaldi became a trader and schoolmaster before taking command of the Uruguayan fleet to participate in that country’s war against Juan Manuel de Rosas, the Argentinean dictator. 

Giuseppe seems to have been a guy who simply couldn’t keep his nose out of a fight.

In Montevideo, in 1842, he and Ana finally got around to getting married. By that time, they already had one child, a boy. Subsequently, they had three more, two girls and another boy.

She was bearing his fifth when she died.

That was in 1849. She was, by then, only a few days short of her 28th birthday – and she was campaigning with him in Italy.

Anita, as he called her, remained a presence in Garibaldi’s life to the end of his days.

And, in 1860, when he rode out to Teano to hail Victor Emanuel II as king of a united Italy, he wore Anita's striped scarf over his South American poncho.

Brazilian women can have that kind of lingering effect on a man.
I know.
I, too, married one.

The House of Seven Women, to give the series its title in English, has been sold to 42 different countries.

If it appears in yours, and if you’re a male, you’ll enjoy the drama, the photography, the costumes, the sets, the acting, and what you’ll learn about the man behind the legend.

You ladies get all of the foregoing and then some.

Here's another shot of Thiago Lacerda
He plays Garibaldi, and my daughters insisted I include at least two photos of him in this post.

On account of because he’s so “hot”.

Leighton - Monday


  1. What a beautiful love story about Garibaldi and Ana. Who knew? And who knew he went to Brazil and became a hero, and then to Uruguay? And then to Italy?

    And your daughters are right! Thiego Lacerda is hot -- even to middle-aged eyes.

  2. Where's Hollywood? And what a guy; it's almost enough to make me question my heterosexuality. Wait a minute -- did I say that in public?

    Seriously, for both of them, the book and the guy, HIDE THEM FROM HOLLYWOOD/

  3. Has anyone suggested that Thiego Lacerda makes the story secondary?

    History is a hard sell. Years ago, Richard Chamberlain, not far removed from his years as Dr. Kildare, was known as the king of the mini-series. "The Thorn Birds" and "Shogun" were high-rated TV series, largely because of his starring role.

    Sometimes producers use an actor who is totally inappropriate for the role in order to drum up ratings. Showtime's "The Tudor" is a particularly egregious example of sacrificing truth to gain large audiences. I did not see this series but the leading man was impossible to miss given the ubiquitous posters advertising the series.

    The man appears to be small in build and he is definitely dark and thin, the absolute antithesis of the real Henry whose likeness can be found in just about every world history textbook.

    The Tudors were from Wales and they did have dark hair. But Henry's mother was a Plantagenet; the men of her family who ruled England were referred to as the "golden kings." Henry was very tall for his day and would be considered tall for our day at over six feet. His hair was a reddish gold and, as a young man, he was an outstanding athlete. Henry had to sell himself as a warrior, capable of defending his country. He was picture perfect for the role and there are many portraits of him that were painted during his life before he became the sybarite painted by Hans Holbein.

    And..."The Tudors" got this wrong as well: Mary Boleyn was Henry's mistress before her sister, Anne. Mary was the physical opposite of Anne, light rather than dark, and smart rather than ambitious. When Mary realized Henry was getting tired of her, she withdrew gracefully and was married off to one of Henry's titled friends and lived happily ever after. Anne should have been as smart. If Henry had executed Anne, Mary would have made herself scarce; Henry was quite vengeful with regard to the entire Boleyn family.

  4. Leighton,
    I knew Garibaldi was a force to be reckoned with but a ladies man too? geeze....great article.

  5. Hot? He looks quite cool to me. What with the breeze coming off the sea.

  6. Personally, Leighton, I more like the sound of "Globo & Gage." Perhaps your daughter could come up with some hot casting suggestions?