Carlota Joaquina - Princesa do Brazil (Carlota Joaquina, Princess of Brazil) (1995)

 

 

 

Director:     Carla Camurati, Melanie Dimantas and Angus Mitchell.

Starring:     Marieta Severo (Carlota Joaquino), Antonio Abujamra (Conde de Mata-Porcos), Thales Pan Chacon (The Doctor), Ludmila Dayer (Yolanda / little Carlota), Maria Fernanda (Queen D. Maria I), Eliana Fonseca (Custódia), Beth Goulart (Princess Maria Teresa), Brent Hieatt (Escocźs / Scotsman), Chris Hieatt (Lord Strangford), Vera Holtz (Maria Luķsa de Parma), Bel Kutner (Francisca), Ney Latorraca (Jean-Baptiste Debret), Aldo Leite (Lobato), Marco Nanini (King Dom Joćo VI), Norton Nascimento (Fernando Lećo), Marcos Palmeira (Emperor D. Pedro I).

Carlotta (1775-1830) was in 1785 officially married to the future John VI, King of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves (reign 1816-1826)

 

 

Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire film.

 

A Scotsman runs after Yolanda shouting the he promises her to never laugh at her dancing again. Yolanda refuses to be cheered up, so the man starts telling her about far-away Brazil where there are monstrous butterflies that can suck out the brains of a human. Then the man tells Yolanda not to be so foolish. There are no monster butterflies.

Yolanda goes into a slump and the young man tells her that he knows a lot of stories about Brazil. He even knows a story of a Spanish girl who was about Yolanda's age, 10, when she sailed for Brazil to get married. Now Yolanda is very excited to hear the story. Well, her name was Carlota Josquina and just like Yolanda she was a dancer and had a terrible temper.

Her mother was Maria Luisa de Parma of Italian blood. She had a huge sexual appetite which had its effect on the court of King Carlos III of Spain, who ruled from 1759 to 1788.

As a test that Carlota would make her upcoming marriage work, they have her dance for the King's court. This was the happiest moment in of her life. One reason for this is that the winds of change began sweeping away the all powerful monarchs in Europe and the new World. And no one represented this change more than did Carlota.

After the dance her mother praises Carlota. But there are others who want to test her intelligence. A man steps forward to ask if Carlota knows who was Velazquez. Carlota reels the answer right off her tongue saying he was born in Seville, Spain in 1599, married in 1618, graduated in painting in 1623. In fact, Carlota had an answer for every question and the court thought her a child prodigy.

Carlota gets to sit on the throne. Now two expert dancers dance the flamenco. Later the people start dancing.

The King takes Carlota from the court. A man gives a painting of the prince to the King along with the signed contract for the Infanta. The king gives the painting to Carlota. She rushes away after telling grandfather that she wants to examine the painting when she is alone.

The King tells the Marquise that Carlota is leaving on April 27. He then asks the Marquise if the Prince is over his bout with chicken pox? No, in fact, he had recently to submit to his fourth bleeding. This worries the King, but the Marquise says four or five bleedings in Portugal are equal to one bleeding in Spain.

Carlota asks her maid Francisca who is prettier? The Infanta Marquerita or the Infanta Carlota. [An Infanta is a daughter of a Spanish or Portuguese king.]  She tells Francisca to be careful how she answers the question. Francisca asks Carlota if she would punish her if she gave the "wrong" response? Of course. So Francisca says Carlota is the prettier Infanta.

Carlota is going away to Brazil. She cries at being separated from her grandfather. He tells her to never forget that she is a Bourbon. [House of Bourbon in Spain, 1700 to 1808.]

When she enters Portugal the Infante greets her. [An Infante is any son of the king of Spain or of Portugal who is not heir to the throne.]  He looks nothing like his portrait in the painting. Carlota is very disappointed. She especially hates his huge nose.

Carlota's palace bedroom is filled with all kinds of gifts. She especially likes the gift of a black pony

At court Carlota gets another disappointment. Instead of the court being lively with music, wine and dancing, the Portuguese court was rather somber. She finds out that everyone is whispering because their king was dying.

After the wedding of Carlota she goes to the bridal bed not knowing what would be happening there. So Carlota gets scared and bites a piece off of the prince's left ear. He screams out in pain. The Portuguese say that the young girl is a devil.  Carlota tells Francisca that she will kill her husband, if he tries that on her again.

A lot of blood was spilled onto the bed. The future King Joćo VI won't forget that evening for sure. Joćo VI was not supposed to be the next king, his brother was. Therefore, he received only a little bit of education.

When his father King Pedro III died, so too did the older brother. And that's how eventually Joćo VI came to the throne. Queen Maria goes crazy over the loss of her husband and son and becomes known as Mad Maria I. The real power fell into the hands of the clergy.

Carlota grew to adulthood. She became lame after she fell off her horse. And she now wanted to have sex with her husband. The Prince was not a very willing partner. So she took lots of lovers. And she had many children. Nine in all.

She did not want her lover the gardener to get married. So after having sex with him, she kills him with his pitchfork.

The Queen is officially designated as mad. Now her surviving son starts panicking and crying about his assuming the role of Regent of Portugal.

In Brazil the officers of the state of Minas Gerais under Tiradentes had revolted. Tiradentes was a leading member of the Brazilian independence movement. An adviser, the British Lord Strangford, tells the Prince to go to Brazil. The Prince says that Tiradentes has been silenced. [Tiradentes was hanged in 1792.]

Mad Maria bursts into the meeting shouting that she will not go to Brazil. Carlota too says she is not going to Brazil. She spits and says she will never be "Princess of Brazil".

"And now Napoleon began to show his claws." Napoleon says the Prince of Portugal must go to Brazil. Through Lord Strangford, the English say they will have Portugal trick Napoleon. ". . . the Portuguese will be expelling the English and confiscating their goods, but no one will know that Your Highness has secretly paid them to do this."

[Napoleon sends a French invasion force under General Junot and Lisbon is captured on December 8, 1807.] The English want to send the Prince of Portugal to Brazil. Carlota shouts that they should stay and fight this Napoleon. The royal family says they will leave for Brazil in 48 hours.

A huge storms appears and this scares the Prince. He is so afraid that he has to be blindfolded so as not to see the lightning in the sky. There was mass confusion in the streets of Lisbon.

The get away was a virtual armada with 36 ships involved. Some 15,000 Portuguese sailed to Brazil. But the ships get separated from each other and arrive in Brazil at different times.

The voyage was a tough one. The passengers had no food and little water. And lice got into everyone's hair. Carlota and the Prince arrive in the state of Bahia. There they were greeted by a lot of black people. From Bahia they sailed south for Rio de Janeiro. This time they are greeted in a royal style. There were many blacks and Indians there to welcome them.   It was here in Rio that Carlota found her greatest lover, a black man by the name of Fernando Lećo.

Many of the citizens of Rio were thrown out of their homes to make way for the thousands of new arrivals from Portugal. Prices of food and other items skyrocket upward. Even the funds of the royals start to dwindle to very little. So they decide to found a Brazilian bank (Banco do Brasil). When the King left Brazil the bank of Brazil almost went bankrupt.

Carlota is in love with an English captain.

Spain has taken the region of La Plata from Portugal. And now Carlota dreams of becoming the Queen of La Plata! [La Plata was a city of east-central Argentina southeast of Buenos Aires.]

The Prince starts taking action against his wife. He gets rid of some of her lovers by giving them farms in far-away places. He also writes her a note that the Treasury does not have enough funds to help Carlota in the question of La Plata.

Carlota receives good news. The Courts of Cadiz acknowledge her claim to the Crown! She shouts that she is the Queen of La Plata. She goes to tell the Prince, but he says he will deny her any Portuguese support for her claim to La Plata. And thus ended Carlota's dreams of becoming the Queen of La Plata.

The Prince also decides to send Carlota's friend Presas to the Canary Islands. This really upsets Carlota. But she has no money to give Presas and the Prince never really paid him. To get revenge on Carlota, he later writes a book about Carlota's escapades.

And now she meets Fernando Lećo. She soon starts seeing the benefits of interracial intermingling. She and Fernando talk about having a child together. Carlota is very willing to give her love a child of his own.

The royalty made money by selling their favors.

The time was coming for the Prince to become King. The Queen dies. This make Carlota very happy.

The Prince overhears the love talk between his wife and Fernando. So he now appoints Fernando to be President of the Bank of Brazil.

The Prince goes for a ride with his only biological daughter: Maria Tereza. She tries to get father to buy a new suit for his coronation.

One of Carlota's sons, Pedro, becomes known all over town as a womanizer. He had a good relationship with a French singer, his first great passion. The  Price sends the woman to the state of Pernambuco.

The Prince is crowned King.

The people surround Pedro and start pressing him to get the King to sign the new Constitution of Brazil. The monarchy was over. Pedro's support of the Constitution makes him a hero to the people of Brazil. A year later he declares the independence of Brazil.

Carlota suffers a lot from her separation from Fernando. Clumps of hair start growing on the side of her face. Fernando comes to see her, but says now that she is the Queen, they both have to follow their respective duties and obligations. He cannot have an affair with the Queen. He starts to leave but the Queen grabs him saying she cannot live without him. And now Fernando's wife comes into the room. She accuses the Queen of trying to steal away her husband. The Queen spits in the woman's face. Fernando and his wife leave.

A black man named Orelha working for the Queen says he did not kill anyone. But the Queen did kill someone: the wife of Fernando. Nevertheless, Orelha remains in prison. The King burns the papers accusing Carlota of murder.

Portugal now demands the King's return. Father wants Pedro to come with him back to Portugal. Pedro says he is respected here in Brazil and he doesn't want to go to Portugal. Besides, Pedro says his staying in Brazil will stop any usurper trying to set up a republic in Brazil.

It was a hard thing for the King to leave Brazil, especially the botanical garden that he helped establish. His last words in Brazil were: "Loved land, I will take much more yet!"

Carlota was happy to come back to Portugal. She wanted to see her son Miguel be made King in her husband's stead. She was exiled for nine years to her old palace in ruins. She was insane and miserable and finally killed herself by taking poison. The King died after eating a poisoned batch of chicken soup.

 

According to the film, Carlota Joaquina was a very damaged character.  She was quick to anger and was mean in how she dealt with other people.  She was also hurt by her strong sexual appetite which helped alienate her from her husband.  The husband, the Prince/King, was also damaged, but in other ways.  He didn't have much of a way with people.  He was shy and retiring.  And he did not have much of a sexual appetite, the polar opposite of Carlota. The course of their lives was greatly affected by the rise to power of Napoleon Bonaparte, who chased the royal couple out of Portugal and to Brazil.  Carlota was at first very bothered by the large number of blacks and Indians in Brazil.  That is, until she becomes fond of a handsome black man. 

Marieta Severo (as Carlota Joaquino) was good as the Princess of Brazil, but it's a little hard to tell how good because the character she had to play was over the top all the time.  Ludmila Dayer (as Yolanda / little Carlota) was also good in her roles.

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.

 

 

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