Twenty Years Since the Verão da Lata
– by Mauri Alexandrino
In the summer of 1988, the ship Solano Star left at high sea its secret shipment of millions of five-liter cans full of maconha (marijuana). They floated towards the coast and sat there in the waters off the beaches between Santa Catarina and Rio de Janeiro. It was the last “post-hippie” breath that arrived on the coastline, especially in the Baixada Santista region. It’s been 20 years since the famous “verão da lata” (summer of the can).
There wasn’t much of a way for the police to react and the quality of the marijuana was very high, an African variety as was later revealed. The expression “da lata” came to be, in the slang of every social circle, synonymous with a “good thing”. It invaded the popular culture, the television and, at last, the music. Between its dozens of citations of the occurrence and of the expression, it came to be featured in the hit “Veneno da Lata” (Venom of the Can) by the singer Fernanda Abreu (I will be writing about her soon).
The violence was increasing, the Cruzado Plan (currency plan) had failed, AIDS was leaving its shadow, those exiled were returning, Fernando Gabeira (Brazilian politician, also worthy of a post) wore a crochet thong on the beach and the Diretas Já (Rights Already) campaign had taken to the streets. In an effervescent moment at the beginning of 1988, the one thing came that was least expected.
“There was a user sensation of having escaped the police and the dealers. The marijuana came from the sea, as if it were a gift from God”, in the words of Marcelo Dantas, script-writer of the film that is being produced about the occurrence, with the title “There will never be a summer like this”.
The story by itself, is so good that the director João Falcão said that the feature is going to reproduce the trajectory of the people that had contact with the cans – with poetic licence given to increase and create urban legends. It will be centered on bums and surfers who are committed to finding that “treasure” and its capacity to turn the almost uninhabited beaches popular again.
João Falcão wants to reproduce on the cinematic screen “the climate of generalized comedy” that took over the coastline. The film won’t lack “crazy men” that ran to the beaches to get their cans, surfers that stayed for hours on their boards to be able to escape the police, bums that would bury their marijuana in the sand and fishermen who got rich off of the trafficking.
The psychoanalyst and professor of post-graduation at the PUC-SP university, Oscar Cesarotto, also based his book O Verão da Lata (Iluminaras, 2005) on the occurrence. “Outside of the country, no one believed that this happened” He commemorates the fact of having a film being made of the event so that others don’t think he invented the whole thing himself.
I would like to thank the author for writing a great story, hopefully he/she doesn’t mind me translating it.
The link in Portuguese can be found here.