A SABEDORIA DO BRASIL (The Wisdom of Brazil) project traces my experience as an outsider traveling through a vast country with a singular mission: to gather the favorite proverbs, idiomatic sayings and stories of diverse people from all walks of life in every region. These sayings and proverbs, while sometimes trite, often provide real comfort and meaning while revealing the hidden roots and collective wisdom of the Brazilian psyche. It’s a simple idea that yields a fresh way to look at the culture. This is a long term project over a few years and the result will be a short film, a web destination for others to share their own favorite proverbs, and an large format photography book. A SABEDORIA DO BRASIL will be a useful touchstone connecting the modern Brazil with its timeless foundations. Brazil is so diverse and so incredibly vast that even many Brazilians are not familiar with the different regions and subcultures. The culture has evolved since the beginning into a complex mosaic drawing on multiple historic origins. Indigenous, European and African influences blend today with Asian and Middle-Eastern aspects. And each group brought its own rich history and traditions that continue today, including sayings and proverbs.

Yet as powerful economic forces rippled through society in recent years, bringing jobs and disposable income to millions of people, along with sudden downturns and social unrest, the society is changing constantly. Old traditions are giving way to modern thinking and practices. The national identity is evolving. Sayings and proverbs are used daily, all over the country to advise, commiserate, comfort and amuse. They appear spontaneously all the time, everywhere, especially now. During times of great change there is also a degree of uncertainty to life and sayings can provide great comfort. Personally I’ve seen tremendous change since he began visiting Brazil in 1986 and heard many sayings. I have tried to learn the language and about the culture since marrying a Brazilian woman, but realize that there are many things I will never understand because I was not born and raised in Brazil. Yet the sayings do give me a glimpse into the deeper roots and the psyche of the culture. Gathering these sayings is a way to present a mirror to an amazing country at a historic moment in time.

The Wisdom of Brasil      A Doug Menuez Film