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Brooklyn Film Festival features ‘Tambourine Buttocks’ — a movie about making music with butts

Sir films-a-lot

for The Brooklyn Paper
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It’s not the size of the butt, it’s the music it makes.

A new film called “Tambourine Buttocks” — not to be confused with Howard Stern’s 1992 “Butt Bongo Fiesta” — depicts diverse derrieres played as one would play a percussion instrument.

Director Carlo Sampietro made the musical film in Brazil and the film’s title is actually a literal translation of the colloquial Portuguese term, “bunda pandeiro.”

“It’s a Brazilian expression,” explains Sampietro, whose film is showing at the Brooklyn Festival this year. “When somebody has a nice-looking a--, you say, ‘Bunda pandeiro!’ It’s not vulgar. It’s a compliment.”

Sampietro and a musician friend worked closely on the score. The unconventional ‘instruments’ called for much experimentation to produce different notes.

“It’s all about how you shape your hands — if you splay your fingers, cup your palms like spoons, or play with two fingers,” said Sampietro.

Sundry approaches to spanking aren’t the only sources of music. There are also low thuds produced by feet stamping and the sweet clinking of miniature cymbals.

Sampietro encountered several setbacks during the filmmaking process that really bummed him out. For instance, members of a dance company who’d agreed to be his actors and actresses flaked out without warning.

“They didn’t show up on the day of the shoot, so I lost one day of production. The next day, I had to hire models from an agency.”

Months after the film’s release, the director discovered yet another pain in the butt. A Spanish musician had copied Sampietro’s concept and was producing music videos that were scoring thousands of views on Youtube. That being said, not all reviews favored the perpetrator, whose videos possess little style and even less substance.

On the other hand, “Tambourine Buttocks” aspires to a higher cause. Despite its cheeky content, the film underscores a crucial message. Sampietro aspires to bridge the gap between segregated groups of people.

“You can be gay, heterosexual, black, white, Asian,” said the director. “But we’re all equal. It doesn’t matter which gender, race or sexual orientation you are.”

Despite the diversity of the actors and actresses, who each take turns at being “instruments” and musicians, one can’t help but notice everyone’s universal makeup. Musicality, which is inherent in all humanity, strings the playful yet powerful film together.

The award-winning “Tambourine Buttocks” has toured myriad countries including Spain, Germany, Italy, and Brazil. New Yorkers can catch its US premiere at The Brooklyn Film Festival, which runs from May 31 until June 9. A question and answer session with Sampietro will cap the screening on June 1.

“Bunda Pandeiro: Brooklyn Film Festival 2013” at Windmill Studios [287 Kent Ave. between S. First and S. Second street, (718) 384–7300, www.brooklynfilmfestival.org]. June 1, 10 pm , June 8, 7:30 pm.

Updated 2:11 pm, April 4, 2014
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