Brazil Cinematography 4

Brazil Cinematography Part IV

In the same year, O bravo guerreiro by Gustavo Dahl came out, Fome de amor by Pereira dos Santos and especially Cancer by Rocha (the latter was shot in Rio de Janeiro, edited in Cuba and presented in Italy: in Brazil it was released only four years later). Still in 1968, in one of the most infamous neighborhoods of São Paulo, where the studios of the producers of pornographic films were based, the so-called Cinema do lixo was born with the film As libertinas by Antonio Lima, Carlos Reichenbach and João Callegaro, one of the many forms expressive, strong and provocative, of the Marginal Cinema.

Marginal cinema and urban reality in the seventies

According to, the seventies were for the Brazil the years of the formation of the cinema audience. Young people had the opportunity to get to know the new international cinema in the film clubs, opposed by the military regime as centers of subversion. An important novelty, in terms of a new business policy, was the birth of the government film agency Embrafilme (Empresa Brasileira de Filmes) in 1969, in charge of the co-production, financing and distribution of most of the films produced up to 1990., the year in which he stopped his business. In this decade, Brazilian production enormously increased its visibility: in 1973, the Brazilian Film Festival was born in Gramado, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul; in 1975 in Italy, in Pesaro, a major exhibition was dedicated to the Cinema Nôvo; in 1976 Bruno Barreto made one of the most famous Brazilian comedies of the seventies, Dona Flor e seus dois maridos (Donna Flor and her two husbands), with a superb interpretation by Sonia Braga. Two aspects well characterize those years: the consecration of the telenovela (TV Globo with Gabriela, played by Sonia Braga, reached 70% of the audience) and the affirmation of the Cinema Marginal (expression suggested by the film A margem, 1967, by Ozualdo Candeias), a movement difficult to categorize with rigid definitions due to its elusive and composite nature, which encompassed different styles, languages ​​and poetics. The historical contrast to the Cinema Nôvo clouded many aspects of it and made it uncomfortable to the point that for many years no critical literature relating to it was produced. Cinema Marginal was the expression of an aesthetic that broke with all pre-established models: it was a non-homologated cinema, experimental and independent also with respect to the Nouvelle vague, the New Wave, the Free Cinema or the Czechoslovakian Nová Vlna. The new generation of filmmakers created a cinema that spoke to the city, urban society and the discomfort of metropolitan living, placing at the center of their works not the community, as the Cinema Nôvo did, but the individual: displaced and marginal, solitary individuals., always unemployed and if necessary murderers, characters who live on the edge, characters in revolt. Significant examples are films such as O capitão Bandeira contra or Doutor Moura Brasil (1971) by Antonio Calmon, or Bang Bang (1973) by Andrea Tonacci and filmmakers such as Júlio Bressane.

The newfound freedom in the Eighties

The end of the military dictatorship (1985) and the gradual return to democracy brought to light the real situation of a socially and economically devastated country. Despite this, the early Eighties were particularly productive for Brazilian cinema: it exceeded one hundred films per year. Among those produced, some became small classics and achieved good success on the international market: Bye bye Brasil (1979) by Carlos Diegues and Na estrada da vida (1980) by Pereira dos Santos. Among the other titles that contributed to the success of Brazilian cinema are two works inspired by football: Asa branca, um sonho brasileiro (1980) by Djalma Limonge Batista and Berengar Pfahl, and Pra frente Brasil (1982) by Roberto Farias, a parallel reading of football successes and torture inflicted by the regime. Another denouncing film, well representative of the commitment cinema of the decade, was Pixote, a lei do mais fraco (1980; Pixote, the law of the weakest) by Héctor Babenco, a cruel fable about marginalized childhood, about meninos da rua. Among the themes to which the cinema of the Eighties paid particular attention, in addition to emigration from the North-East to the big cities (O homem que virou suco, 1980, by João Batista de Andrade, O baiano fantasma, 1984, by Denoy De Oliveira, A hora da estrela, 1985, by Suzana Amaral) there are the indigenous question, the condition of childhood, women. The women who, precisely in the decade, gained visibility in the cinema also as directors: Cida Aidar, Eliane Bandeira, Olga Futemma, Regina Jeha, Tania Savietto. A significant feature of the period was the polarization which took place between the two most important centers also for film production: San Paolo and Rio de Janeiro. A homogeneous group of directors came out of the Department of Cinema of the School of Communications and Arts of the University of Sao Paulo and benefited from grants for the making of their first feature film. The best results scored by the new Paulistan generation were Chico Botelho’s Cidade oculta (1986), an urban detective story inhabited by the nocturnal characters of the metropolis, Anjos da noite (1987) by Wilson Barros, a film about urban night made with frequent recourse to theater and to the video, A dama do cine Shangai (1987) by Guilherme de Almeida Prado, a noir homage to Orson Welles;

Brazil Cinematography 4