Brasília is a curious city. It was founded in 1960 with the direct purpose of serving as the capital of Brazil, with concrete-oriented architectural style courtesy of Oscar Niemeyer. Not exactly the type of place where you’d think rock ‘n’ roll would flourish. In the early 1980s, however, that’s exactly what happened when bands like Legião Urbana, Capital Inicial, and Plebe Rude emerged.
This documentary celebrating their rise has the overall feel of a family operation: Parents, friends, and neighbors of the featured musicians share their stories of how they ended up in Brasília and the role the futuristic city played in their lifestyle and sense of community. “The rock from Brasília is as important as Tropicália,” Capital Inicial’s frontman Dinho Ouro Preto once told Showbizz magazine in 1998. Interviewees like legendary singer Caetano Veloso agree.
Although the untimely disappearance of Legião Urbana’s Renato Russo in 1996 resulted in all his testimonies being taken from previously recorded footage, the documentary’s superb editing often makes you think otherwise. So, in a way, Rock Brasília also rings as a heartfelt homage to Russo, one of the scene’s central players. It’s a great watch, though, because it never ceases to underline the three key principles behind it all: passion, revolution, and connection.