According to thenailmythology.com, Vera Cruz made a qualitative leap: to direct it was called Alberto Cavalcanti, a world-famous director who brought his technical team from Europe; his productions showed a clear Hollywood system, which allowed, among other things, to launch a real star system. Vera Cruz’s films intended to clearly differentiate themselves from the carioche comedies of Atlântida: one of the most important, O Cangaceiro (1953; O᾽ Cangaceiro – Il brigante), directed by Lima Barreto, inaugurated the genre of cangaço and won an award at the Festival of Cannes of the same year. In spite of all this, the high cost of the realization and the absence of an own distribution decreed, in 1954, the closure of the company.
Over the course of the decade, both in Rio de Janeiro and in Sao Paulo, a generation of new independent filmmakers emerged, including Walter Hugo Khouri, who continued on the path opened by Vera Cruz by making psychological dramas linked to the models of classic cinema, and Nelson Pereira dos Santos who, inspired by neorealist cinema and fleeing from the studios, made in 1955 Rio, quarenta graus, the first film of the carioca trilogy (followed by Rio, zona norte, 1957, and O justiceiro, 1967) which contributed to making the characters visible of the human landscape of Rio de Janeiro. The film was shot on location at very low cost and was one of the first to use street people as actors. The controversy that arose around the censorship placed on the work, fervently defended by intellectuals, it was the first sign of the climate that would characterize the sixties. Pereira dos Santos continued to try his hand at experimentation, laying the foundations of Cinema Nôvo. A measure helped to strengthen national cinema: the 1959 law established that Brazilian films had to be shown for at least forty-two days a year. Between the end of the fifties and the beginning of the sixties, cinema began to reflect on the constitutive features of the popular imagination and national culture: these were the years of ideological rethinking and of the new political and social commitment. In 1960 the critic Paulo Emilio Salles Gomes presented a communication on the state of Brazilian cinematography at the first National Congress of film criticism in São Paulo; in the same year Glauber Rocha began shooting his first feature film, Barravento (1961), an experimental work on both the cinematographic and social analysis level. The military coup (April 1964) established a dictatorship that censored what was not aligned with the new power: the first film that suffered the consequences was Eduardo Coutinho’s Cabra marcado para morrer, whose production was blocked and could be brought to term only in the 1980s. In 1965, after a demonstration, Rocha, Joaquim Pedro de Andrade and Mario Carneiro were imprisoned. Persecuted by the regime and called to express an autonomous theoretical-critical position in opposition to the rampant cultural colonialism, Brazilian cinema warned the need to question oneself about one’s origins and to retrace one’s past to express a new project: the publication in 1966 of the essay by PE Salles Gomes and Adhemar Gonzaga 70 anos de cinema brasileiro and in the following year of Brasil em tempo de cinema by Jean- Claude Bernadet well represented this tension. Already with the awarding of the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1962 to Anselmo Duarte’s O pagador de promessas, there was a sense that Brazilian cinema was changing and, above all, that it was radically changing the perception that the public and foreign critics had. its. Also in 1962 Paulo César Saraceni, after having studied at the Experimental Center of Cinematography in Rome and having collaborated with directors such as Bernardo Bertolucci and Marco Bellocchio, returned to Rio de Janeiro and signed Porto das Caixas and, in 1965, O desafio, two prominent titles of the nascent Cinema Nôvo. genre and in particular to horror, whose most significant representative was José Mojica Marins, author of about twenty films after Sina de aventureiro (1957). Founder in 1955 of a production company, Apolo Cinematografica, of a school for actors in 1956, and in 1964, in Sao Paulo, of his own studio, Marins created original characters, including the famous Zé do Caixão, a sort of tropical Frankenstein which is expressed in an apparently incomprehensible language, yet so tied to the political-cultural context that it is censored by the military regime. While remaining on the fringes of the Brazilian film scene, entirely taken from Cinema Nôvo, the films of Marins (among which are to be mentioned: À meia-noite levarei sua alma, 1964; Esta noite encarnarei no teu cadaver, 1967; Trilogia do terror, 1967) constituted an important aesthetic reference for all the cinema of the following years.The difficult and critical transition from the Sixties to the Seventies was rich and vibrant with ferments, ideas and movements, but also, as never before, with screeches and contradictions. In 1968 the Higher Council of Censorship for cinema was created and Rogério Sganzerla signed his debut film, O bandido da luz vermelha, which would become the manifesto of Cinema Marginal.