Even though music regarded as a universal language that transgresses borders, cultures or ethnicities has become a cliché, its applicability continues to be a striking reality. Far from being a rigid short documentary addressed only to musicians or to musical critics who are familiar with a certain technique terminology, ‘The Joy Block‘ is, above all, a eulogy for the art of enjoying life, but also an incursion into the intimacy of a community for which music is a religion of optimism and tolerance. The vision of director Joanie Fox therefore starts not from the socio-cultural coordinates specific to a small population who have resorted to music from the need for a universal panacea to counterbalance the violence of a harsh world, but precisely from the primordiality of music as an essential element of the individual’s inner equilibrium. Thus, the passion for music is not considered here as a justification or as an alternative to the shortcomings of an unhappy life, but as an intimate necessity of people who, regardless of their profession, can enjoy the magic of music that eliminates the mechanisms and social conventions more or less absurd, such as the colour of the skin, the ethnic descendance, the professional or financial status of the harmony lovers. Dynamic and dense, but without proposing to artificially decorate, through the unauthentic spectacular props, the life of a community dedicated to music, ‘The Joy Block’ is an honest and emotional rendering of a short testimonies series of some individuals who are charmed by the beauty of samba.
Samba’s popularity is so great at the international level that it is almost impossible that the vitality of this musical style does not positively affect the listeners everywhere. Somehow, since 2011, the positive air of this kind of music that succeeds in bringing together different mentalities, styles or personal philosophies in one community has spurred a group of 30 samba musicians and dancers known as Bloco Alegria (The Joy Block) to stimulate the vitality of the people from Portland, being able to gather music lovers from a wide range of professional backgrounds aged between 20 and 70. This effervescent micro-harmony that has defied a series of rigid patterns of contemporary life such as age or belonging to a certain socio-professional context still exists today, especially since its intimate cohesion has reached another level with the first show made by the members of this community at the prestigious Star Theater.
Based on the visual grammar principles of a conventional documentary, ‘The Joy Block’ is an attractive cinematic project that, beyond its informational value, captures the spectator’s attention through an exciting musical cover that seems to subliminally depict the vitality of this great family touched by the Rio de Janeiro music virus. Without exclusively focusing on the sociological or scientific implications that this community of samba lovers has on their settlement, Joanie Fox creates, through this collage of impressions and dynamic frames from the intimacy of the creation lab, a visual and acoustic product intended for any age group. Thus, ‘The Joy Block’ is an insight into the lives of ordinary people who see in music not just a passion that feeds their energy against daily routine, but an essential reason why life deserves to be lived in a simple, harmonious and joyful way.