“Bem Bom”: When Doce “Told Women They Could Be Who They Wanted”

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“Bem Bom” is the big debut of the week in Portuguese cinemas. The biographical film about Doce was directed by Patrícia Sequeira and focuses on the story of the Portuguese girls band founded in 1979. It premiered on Thursday, July 8th.

Fátima Padinha, Lena Coelho, Teresa Miguel and Laura Diogo were a phenomenon of daring popularity. In post-revolutionary Portugal, they performed with unusual costumes, eccentric choreographies, and music with more of a message than it might first appear. However, when they showed up, they also quickly left the scene.

“Bem Bom” was written by Cucha Carvalheiro and Filipa Martins. The actresses who play Doce are Bárbara Branco, Lia Carvalho, Carolina Carvalho and Ana Marta Ferreira – and the cast also includes Eduardo Breda, Cristovão Campos, Vicente Wallenstein, Luisa Ortigoso and José Raposo. In addition to the film, an expanded version will be premiered as a series on RTP.

“It was also part of our childhood, although it was not our generation,” said NiT Bárbara Branco at the official event for the presentation of the film. “There was a casting for Doce, I think all the girls … We had to do the ‘tomorrow morning’ thing,” adds Ana Marta Ferreira, which initially attracted her to take part in the project.

“The shine, the color, the story of these four women who tore each other apart after April 25th and dared to stand half-naked on the stage and conquer the country. I find the story in itself very attractive to a film and to make a series. ” “, She says to Barbara White. “We rehearsed, danced and sang a lot, but I think it wasn’t the hardest part,” she says of the challenge of playing female singers (who also danced a lot on stage).

“At the first casting that we did together when we were already selected, we didn’t know and the four of us got together and everything was fine. There was no room for doubt. Right from the start there was a great chemistry between us, we had never worked together before, but it soon became right, it was something very special, ”says Ana Marta Ferreira.

They were all cast specifically for the character they ended up with, except in the case of Carolina Carvalho. The actress did the casting for Fátima, but eventually became Lena.

NiT also spoke to Lena Coelho at the presentation event. The former Doce singer had seen the film a few minutes before we spoke.

“I loved it, I loved it. That girl is Teresa Miguel, through and through. And that girl is Laura. This girl is Fa and this girl is me. But it’s not just them. Congratulations everyone. Patrícia Sequeira, the costume designers, all the other actors, the entire production … and with great professionalism. I was tired of crying in the film, I was tired of laughing and seeing myself and my former colleagues, ”said the singer.

A few months ago NiT had already interviewed one of the screenwriters, Filipa Martins, who told us what interested her in writing this story with Cucha Carvalheiro.

“The Doce began when Portugal still remembered a 40-year dictatorship regime in which women wore their skirts to below their knees. From the point of view of values, this ballast was still very present in society – because social values ​​do not change by decree. It took many years to think conservatively, to see the roles of women and men conservatively. Gradually women came into the labor market and suddenly there was a phenomenon of four courageous women who dressed very differently from the Portuguese, who talked openly and relaxed about sex “, contextualized Filipa Martins.

“So they had visceral responses. Nobody was indifferent to the Doce phenomenon. On the one hand, they had hordes of fans, sold out concerts. At the same time, they were almost viewed as whores. And it was this role of Doce who played in the liberation of women and also in the celebration of joy – because Portugal was a closed, sad, reserved country, people didn’t speak loudly, didn’t dance like that – and she went on stage and they said it was possible. One of the things that intrigued me was this conflict between what they were and the land that existed, ”he added.

“To see this from a sociological point of view was extremely interesting. They fell victim to many different rumors, we even spoke to them and told each other painful situations. Some are better known than others, but since rumors of drug use, arrest, and hospitalization, they became the target of the tabloids in the 80s, their personal lives were taken advantage of, and all of this was new to Portugal. After that, they were viewed with great suspicion by those who viewed their music and nature as second-rate music, Popularucha. The musicologists who looked at them like cute girls who sang and little else. And one of the things that we explored a lot more in the show than in the film was a 360-degree view of their lives, ”says the scriptwriter.

“Not just on stage, but also behind the scenes. The struggle between their private life and what they had to cope with on a daily basis, the rumors, the aggression … Many of them heard the phrase “An honorable man does not marry a sweet”. Because they were actually almost viewed as prostitutes by a certain social class. But when they climbed on stage, they had to be flawless, in top form. And they’ve had stage invasions, they’ve been groped, pooped, there have been hotel invasions … by men entering through their rooms. Those were years in which they were extremely raped in all their various forms. And it was very interesting to be able to work on them in their individuality. Because they presented themselves as Doce, but they were four and completely different, they had antagonistic personalities. Backstage conversations, discussions, friendships and enmities, I find all of this very rich. I think the Doces told the women they could be who they wanted. And that is extremely important then and now. And besides, it’s joy. It’s hard not to hum these songs when we’ve been listening to them for a while. “

Also read NiT’s interview with director Patrícia Sequeira.