Abolition: the Atlantic Cinema of Zózimo Bulbul

With In Memoriam: O Roteiro Do Gravador, Sylvio Lanna takes his camera to the Rio de Janeiro film archive, the Cinemateca do MAM, in search of his in 1967 film O Roteiro do Gravador. We soon learn that while the film was deposited within the archive, it's exact location remains unknown today  – among the Cinemateca do MAM’s mass collection, some films can be difficult to track. Not having his film in hand, Lanna instead takes the opportunity to create an experimental love letter to this great archival institution, while exploring themes such as loss, memory, and rebirth.
by Michel Schettert
by  Luís Rocha Melo
Simply put, Carlos Adriano’s A Voz e o Vazio: A Vez de Vassourinha (1998) stands in the ranks as one of the most important experimental works of cinema to come out of Brazil in the last 25 years. Adriano’s position as the country’s eminent found-footage filmmaker was solidified with his previous film, Remainiscences (1997), in which he rephotographs what is allegedly the first cinematographic footage to be shot in Brazil, — 11 frames of the waves hitting a pier, captured by Cunha Salles in 1897 — and transforms the material into a cornucopia of light and flicker, illustrating the sea changes in technique and metaphysical condition that cinema had gone through within the twentieth century. Vassourinha approaches the question of the archive with an opposite methodology, collecting and projecting as many different materials centered around one figure as Adriano could find, to compose a work that intensely reconstructs the short period of time lived by Mário de Oliveira Ramos, the sambista known as Vassourinha prior to his death in 1942 at the age of 19. A very popular musician in his own time, Vassourinha fell victim to what many have described as Brazil’s short cultural memory, as he became quickly forgotten after his passing. Vassourinha is thus not an act of mourning, but one of resurrection, where Adriano imbues these images and sounds with renewed life through montage, arranged under the twin poles of cinema and samba.
We are still catching up with Zózimo Bulbul’s Abolição. The two-and-a-half-hour documentary is an unflinching rumination on the state of Black life in Brazil one hundred years following the Lei Áurea, the law that officially ‘abolished’ slavery in the country. Abolição seeks to point out that the Lei Áurea was, in the words of Marcell Carrasco, “a farcical scam”. Director Zózimo Bulbul and his nearly all-Black film crew travel throughout Brazil exploring the remaining traces of colonialism and the ever-present existence of racism that was to be found throughout the country. No facet of Brazilian life escapes Bulbul’s expository camera, as he explores the ways in which racism is prevalent within sports, academia, history, the beaches of Rio, religious practices, the film industry, politics, and every other facet of social life. In Abolição, there are interviews with key icons from the Black Brazilian community, such as Abdias do Nascimento, Lélia Gonzalez, Carlos Medeiros, Beatriz Nascimento, Grande Otelo, Joel Rufino dos Santos and Benedita da Silva. As these figures add to the dialogue of what it means to be Black while living in Brazil towards the end of the 20th century, the film cuts to images of homeless living on the streets in hunger, maintaining the viewer’s focus on the message at the core of the film: society continues to suppress Black lives from anything more than subsistence through racist oppression.

The below copy of Abolição was sourced from a VHS copy of the film that was made and disseminated throughout the 90s. The low-resolution copy, as any viewer will quickly realize, does not adequately represent the beautiful images that were present during the few screenings it had prior to being shelved by Brazilian production company Embrafilme due to their lack of support for the project, nor does it reflect what we would see today if the film were properly restored. Abolição is one of the most important Brazilian documentary films ever made, and it surely deserves better than what you will see below. It is nonetheless vital for us to watch the film as it is, discuss its ideas, and disseminate the work to as many people as possible, so that those with the ability to do so will provide Abolição with the high-quality scan and translation that it truly deserves.
Are Sérgio Ricardo and Dib Lutfi the greatest brother filmmaking duo of Brazilian Cinema? Filmmaker, dancer, and scholar Michel Schettert seems to think so, as his new film essay Esse Mundo É Fluente highlights the profundities and nuances of their collaboration on Esse Mundo É Meu. Schettert’s new film essay is an extraordinarily fresh perspective on the interactions between camera and body movements in Ricardo’s debut feature film, and will be a welcome first-stop for anyone looking to learn more after seeing it.
With In Memoriam: O Roteiro Do Gravador, Sylvio Lanna takes his camera to the Rio de Janeiro film archive, the Cinemateca do MAM, in search of his in 1967 film O Roteiro do Gravador. We soon learn that while the film was deposited within the archive, it's exact location remains unknown today  – among the Cinemateca do MAM’s mass collection, some films can be difficult to track. Not having his film in hand, Lanna instead takes the opportunity to create an experimental love letter to this great archival institution, while exploring themes such as loss, memory, and rebirth.
The concept of A Noite do Espantalho (The Night of the Scarecrow) was developed shortly before the promulgation of the repressive AI-5 decreed by the military regime in December 1968. Fearing the strong censorship that ensued, Sérgio Ricardo decided to postpone the project, restarting it in 1973. Featuring Alceu Valença (then a newcomer) in the title role, The Night of the Scarecrow tells the story of a poor rural community in Northeastern Brazil who are exploited by a local authority. It is told in striking fashion, through the vibrant colors of the costumes and sets, which include the largest open-air theatre in the world, Nova Jerusalém, located around Brejo da Madre de Deus, Pernambuco. The songs, dialogue and overall style of the film are largely influenced by cordel literature, that unique, imaginative form of poetry typical of the Northeast, making this one of the most original musicals ever to grace the screen.
With In Memoriam: O Roteiro Do Gravador, Sylvio Lanna takes his camera to the Rio de Janeiro film archive, the Cinemateca do MAM, in search of his in 1967 film O Roteiro do Gravador. We soon learn that while the film was deposited within the archive, it's exact location remains unknown today  – among the Cinemateca do MAM’s mass collection, some films can be difficult to track. Not having his film in hand, Lanna instead takes the opportunity to create an experimental love letter to this great archival institution, while exploring themes such as loss, memory, and rebirth.
Sometimes in life, when things are looking completely hopeless, we just have to throw up our hands and laugh. Luis Rocha Melo and Estevão Garcia’s Que cavação é essa? provides that much needed tone of humor towards a situation that, especially as of late, has been without much hope. This situation is, of course, the struggle to preserve and maintain the memory of Brazil’s audio-visual history, but the laughter that Que cavação é essa? brings to this subject comes from the incredibly unique, almost unheard-of approach that Melo and Garcia take towards it.

Que cavação é essa? might be described as a spoof-film or it might be described as a mockumentary, but regardless, the result of watching the film is to become greatly aware of what were some of the key issues facing Brazilian film preservation in 2008 (most of which unsurprisingly still persist today). The film opens with a perfectly staged (ironic) take on a Brazilian silent-era lifestyle film, a work which we’re told to believe is a newly restored revelation from Brazil’s silent era. The film then turns, perhaps as a viewer would with a DVD extra, to another documentary about Brazilian film preservation and restoration. All with a tone of utmost silliness, this ‘documentary’ delves into the “heroic and brave” lifestyle of film preservationists, featuring none-other than the current Director of the Cinemateca do MAM, Hernani Heffner. But despite the film’s silly voice-over and the subtle play acting of Hernani, his words remain heartbreaking factual: “More than 90% of the films made in this [silent] era are lost…If today people are still extremely unaware of Brazilian Cinema’s early film history, in 20, 30, 40, 50 years’ time, people will be completely unaware of our contemporary cinema”.

Reacting to a hopeless moment through laughter is usually cathartic, but it’s rarely a surprise when tears soon follow. For some, Que cavação é essa? might provide a similar emotional rollercoaster, but there’s no denying how good it sometimes feels to be able to laugh, even if just for a little while.
QUESTIONS BY Guilherme Maia
In this career spanning interview, director Sérgio Ricardo gives over his personal feelings about the role of music in motion pictures. Ricardo looks back at his earliest influences, such as classic Hollywood musicals, and explains why he decided to create a type of musical cinema where sound and image are more synchronized. Ricardo also expands upon his legendary score for Glauber Rocha’s Black God, White Devil (1964), one of the many reasons as to why this interview will be a joy for anyone looking to explore his work in greater detail.
As we enter October 2020, the months-long crisis of Brazil’s largest film archive, the Cinemateca Brasileira, continues. One would hope that governmental inaction placing a country’s entire filmographic history in jeopardy of destruction would be unprecedented, however Alain Fresnot’s 1974 documentary film Nitrato helps us realize that the Cinemateca Brasileira has always existed on the brink of extinction. Nitrato portrays harrowing images of nitrate reels burning, the façade of the Cinemateca Brasileira cracking and breaking away, and archival papers standing aside bathroom urinals, reflecting the desperate state Brazilian archivists were in 1974 to preserve and maintain film collections. The film also brings forth the voices of numerous scholars, archivists, and filmmakers to weigh in on the historical importance of the Cinemateca Brasileira and its lack of governmental support (the archive only became recognized as a government institution in 1984).

Watching Nitrato today should feel like a blast to the past, and the Cinemateca Brasileira should still be operating as one of the most efficient film archives in Latin America. However, the fact that Nitarto could easily pass off as a film made about the situation of the Cinemateca Brasileira in 2020 speaks volumes about the current Brazilian government’s inability to learn from previous negligences related to the institution. Nitrato helps us understand the tumultuous past of one of the world’s most important film institutions, the Cinemateca Brasileira, for which we remain in hope of a better future.
Sérgio Ricardo teamed up with filmmaker Roberto Santos (O Grande Momento) to write the screenplay for Juliana do Amor Perdido, a story of lyrical tragedy reminiscent of Dorival Caymmi’s music and Glauber Rocha’s Barravento. The fishermen of a seaside village are devoted to a local young woman who they think is a saint. They assume she is the one miraculously ensuring that they keep catching fish, oblivious to their own exploitation at the hands of the ruthless businessman who buys their fish and purposefully keeps the myth alive. The woman, Juliana, longs to escape. Every day she goes to the nearby railroad to greet the conductor of a train every time it passes by. One day, they fall in love and decide to flee. The film features beautiful songs composed again by Sérgio Ricardo, and fine performances by Maria do Rosário, Francisco di Franco and Antônio Pitanga.
For his first feature film, Sérgio Ricardo again chose the favela as a setting, this time focusing on the struggles of two lower class workers: Toninho, played by Antônio Pitanga, and Pedro, played by himself. Building on the themes of Menino da Calça Branca, the characters of Esse Mundo É Meu deal with poverty, religion, abortion, and the fight for workers’ rights. All of it complemented by beautiful songs composed and sung by Sérgio Ricardo himself and exquisitely arranged by maestro Lindolpho Gaya. There’s again a lyrical aspect to the film, with a nod to Roberto Santos’ 1958 classic film O Grande Momento.
Sérgio Ricardo’s debut short film Menino da Calça Branca was denied inclusion into the influential collective feature film Five Times Favela (1962) due to its “excessive lyricism”. In hindsight, it is its lyrical nature that allows us to return to the film today with such delight. The film features two artistic forces (brothers, it should be mentioned) at the beginning of their creative journeys; Dib Lutfi, who would go on to become one of the great cinematographers of Brazilian cinema, and writer, director, actor and composer Sérgio Ricardo. The story of a young favela boy whose sole desire is to obtain a pair of crisp white paints, Menino da Calça Branca is a work that highlights the extreme barriers between city and favela life. More than just a glimpse of what was to come from both Ricardo and Lutfi, Menino da Calça Branca is a touching film that deserves new critical attention in its own right.
In 1958, Sérgio Ricardo released his first long-play, Dançante nº1. Although he would only venture into filmmaking four years later, cinema was already present in his debut record. That is the idea behind Luís Rocha Melo’s comprehensive video essay 5 x Sérgio, which establishes parallels between the music in that album, Sérgio Ricardo’s first two films, Menino da Calça Branca and Esse Mundo É Meu, and the Brazilian and international films of the late 1950s. It is an exploration of both Ricardo’s artistic influences and the zeitgeist of Brazil, then at the height of an intense cultural transformation which spawned two fundamental movements he was part of: Bossa Nova and Cinema Novo.
WARNING: IMAGENS contains graphic depictions of torture and explicit nudity
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  1. Universal Exhibition or the World’s Fair were large events designed to showcase international achievements that were very important in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Terra Encantada was shot during the Independence Centenary International Exposition, held from 1922 to 1923 in Rio de Janeiro.
  2. Chanchada was the term given to the Brazilian popular musical comedies of the 1940s and 1950s by critics of the time. These critics considered these films to be simply bad copies of Hollywood features of the same genre. Atlântida was the most famous, but not the only, studio to produce chanchadas.
  3. I’m referring here to Christensen’s films Rei Pelé (1961), a biopic, and Cronica da Cidade Amada (1964), a widescreen film that can currently only be seen in a horribly cropped digital copy taken from a VHS tape.

Event Poster Design by Madeline Plotnick
Film Translation by Gustavo Menezes

Abolition: the Atlantic Cinema of Zózimo Bulbul

September 1, 2020
Bernardo Oliveira
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This is not a list of films that influenced the style of the making of my film "Vassourinha: The Voice and The Void."

I just cannot create such a list, because when I went to make the film I was completely absorbed, or, possessed (as one could say, in the sense of the trance in black religions) by Vassourinha and his mystery. I found that I was operating in new and unprecedented territory, although I acknowledge there is a past tradition as a found footage filmmaker.

Born in São Paulo city, Vassourinha was an elusive sign, a forgotten personality of Brazilian music doomed to be a tiny footnote of history (at least, until the film was released). In my research and production process, made in collaboration with Bernardo Vorobow, Vassourinha appeared and disappeared, full of enigmas to be discovered.

Before and during the making of the film, I had no other films to lean on as references or inspiring sources. Instigated by Limite’s proposition, I would cite films that are in dialogue with “Vassourinha” in four aspects and axes that are groundbreaking yet essential for the film’s structure and concept, and to allow the film to develop its premises.

“Vassourinha: The Voice and The Void” challenges the limit of legibility. A huge amount of information is put onto the screen about someone who we all lacked information about so far. So, I mention films that deal with putting words onto the screen in counterpoint to the lack of information about the subject matter. Vassourinha recorded only 12 Samba songs, in six 78 rpm records released in 1941 and 1942, but since 1935 he was a star, singing with the famous Carmen Miranda and Francisco Alves. Therefore, I will mention films that deal with the Brazilian music genre of Samba as a treasure of national heritage and a reservoir of beauty for the nation.

“Vassourinha” is my first film to work a motif that is foundational for my filmmaking: death and mortality. The final sequence in the cemetery (where Vassourinha is buried) proposes a sort of vengeance by means of Carnival and rapture. My film works upon “the poetics of rupture, the history of ruins”, as coined by Rubem R. M. de Barros in his master dissertation (and book - "Poéticas de fragmentos: história, música popular e cinema de arquivo”, 2014) about my film. So, I will also mention films that deal with death, ghosts, and reanimating the past.

“Vassourinha” was edited by Cristina Amaral, its sound was edited by Eduardo Santos Mendes, it was mixed by José Luiz Sasso, and its end sequence was cinematographed by Carlos Reichenbach. Therefore, I will mention at the end of this list one film directed by Reichenbach, one of the most cinephilic and creative filmmakers of Brazil, which was edited by Cristina Amaral, mixed by José Luiz Sasso, and whose sound was edited by Eduardo Santos Mendes too. The main character of this film is a black woman living and working in São Paulo.
This selection of “Ten Brazilian Films that Remain in the Shadows due to Poor Accessibility” is based on my experiences as a film preservationist over the last fifteen years as well as my work as a professor and film club organizer. As a film professor and film club organizer, I often faced the difficulty of finding a copy of a film that I wanted to screen in class or at the club. However, these difficulties in accessing Brazilian films has changed over time. For example, In the mid-2000s, I and some friends ran a film club dedicated to Brazilian films at the Museum of Modern Art FilmArchive in Rio de Janeiro (Cinemateca do MAM) called“Cineclube Tela Brasilis”. There, we had the chance of using the vast collection of film prints of the MAM Film Archive and we usually chose films that people couldn’t find anywhere else. So, we often programmed 35mm or 16mm prints of Brazilian films that weren’t available in other carriers, either video or digital. Some of the films we screened then are still widely rare and unknown as they haven’t been digitized since that time. In this list compiled for Limite, Veneno is one of the titles we screened in Tela Brasilis program of July 25th, 2009. On the other hand, the short film Bossa Nova: a moderna música popular brasileira, also in this list, is a title that we wanted to show in one of Tela Brasilis exhibitions, but we couldn’t, as there was only a preservation master, but no exhibition print, neither on film nor digital. 

As a film professor at Federal Fluminense University (UFF), whereI have been teaching courses on Brazilian Film History to graduate students for almost ten years, the problem is quite different. In the classroom, I am only able to screen DVDs or digital files, which often limits the selection of Brazilian features from the silent period to the 1940s that I can show. Unfortunately, many titles that are important to show to students exist only in very bad digital copies taken from VHS tapes, which is the case of Alô, Alô, Carnaval, for instance. That’s why I’ve occasionally taken the opportunity to bring my students to the MAM Film Archive for their classes, where we would screen films in beautiful 35mm prints, something that my students are not used anymore. That was when I was able to watch, for example, a 35mm print of É Simonal (mentioned in the list) that was borrowed from the Cinemateca Brasileira’s collection.
Since the 1990s, the most ambitious and well-funded film restoration projects in Brazil have focused on the filmography of renowned filmmakers from the Cinema Novo movement such as Glauber Rocha, Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, Leon Hirszman and Nelson Pereira dos Santos. These projects restored and produced new exhibition prints of many titles that were already considered classics. But the canonical status of the works that these directors produced, such as Entranced Earth (Glauber Rocha, 1967) or They Don't Wear Black Tie (Leon Hirszman, 1981), aren’t going to be further elevated through film restorations. Rather, the restoration of these films only reinforced the notion that they were the single-best titles Brazilian cinema had to offer. 

This list, based on my experiences as a film archivist and film scholar, privileges initiatives that have focused on historically ignored films, periods, or genres throughout Brazilian cinema history. I attempted to list projects, retrospectives, and events carried out over the last two decades that allowed researchers and academics the opportunity to reevaluate the history of Brazilian cinema in their work. These projects brought to light films from the past that had not been widely seen or discussed for many years (some even since they were first released), provoking feelings of freshness, surprise, and novelty towards a wider historical array of Brazilian films.

One of the criteria in compiling this list was that each project expanded, altered, or revised long existing Brazilian Cinema canons. Thus, an important program such as the 2013 “Clássicos e raros do nosso cinema”, conducted by the Cinemateca Brasileira with the sponsorship of the Banco do Brasil Cultural Center (CCBB), was not included in this list despite its undeniable merits. While new 35mm prints were struck as a result of that program, these prints were projected very few times outside of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro (the main cities the program took place in) because they were elevated to the status of preservation prints. 

In addition, important projects such as the digitization and DVD release of films by Hugo Carvana and Aloysio Raulino by the Centro Técnico do Audiovisual (CTAv) in 2017 were not included in this list because it is still too recent to evaluate their impact on the academic world. There are also situations in which academic interest preceded preservation actions. This seems to have been the case with the “rediscovery” of the first Brazilian feature film directed by a black woman, Adélia Sampaio’s Amor maldito (1984). When Amor Maldito was written about in the PhD thesis of Edileuza Penha de Souza, “Cinema na panela de barro: mulheres negras, narrativas de amor, afeto e identidade” (UnB, 2013), the new attention given to the film led to it being widely requested for exhibitions in around 2017. However, the circulating copies of the film were unfortunately in bad quality and did not correspond to the film’s renewed interest.

In this list, I generally sought to show how originality, care and research involved in these projects were fundamental to their success. I also tried to highlight the relevant and continuous impact that preservation and diffusion actions have in reshaping the historiography of Brazilian cinema. Finally, the objective of this list is less to rank different preservation projects than to stimulate new debate about them.
Desde os anos 1990, os mais ambiciosos e vultuosos projetos de restauração de filmes realizados no Brasil foram aqueles voltados para a filmografia de consagrados cineastas do Cinema Novo, como Glauber Rocha, Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, Leon Hirszman e Nelson Pereira dos Santos. Foram projetos que restauraram e produziram novas cópias de exibição de muitos títulos que já eram considerados clássicos. De certo modo, não fizeram filmes como “Terra em transe” (Glauber Rocha, 1967) ou “Eles não usam black-tie” (Leon Hirszman, 1981) serem necessariamente considerados mais importantes do que eles já eram para a história do cinema brasileiro. Essa lista, pautada pela minha experiência pessoal, privilegia outros tipos de iniciativas. Tentei elencar projetos realizados nas últimas duas décadas que tiveram um amplo impacto, particularmente junto a pesquisadores e professores universitários, para um movimento de revisão da história do cinema brasileiro. Foram projetos que provocaram sentimentos de frescor, surpresa e novidade. Um dos critérios fundamentais na escolha desses dez projetos foi sua ampla repercussão e alcance, tendo ajudado a ampliar, alterar ou revisar os cânones. Assim, um projeto importante como “Clássicos e raros do nosso cinema”, realização da Cinemateca Brasileira com o patrocínio do Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, não foi incluído apesar de seus inegáveis méritos. Afinal, o projeto viabilizou a feitura de novas cópias 35mm que, elevadas a materiais de preservação, foram projetadas pouquíssimas vezes para além da exibição contratual nas mostras que viabilizaram sua produção, restritas a São Paulo e, no máximo, também ao Rio de Janeiro. Além disso, projetos importantes, porém mais recentes, como a digitalização e lançamento em DVD de filmes de Hugo Carvana e de Aloysio Raulino, também não foram incluídos por sua repercussão na academia – não tão imediata quanto na crítica, por exemplo – ainda me parecer estar sendo processada. Podemos mencionar ainda situações em que o interesse acadêmico antecedeu as ações de preservação. Esse parece ser o caso da “redescoberta” do primeiro longa-metragem dirigido por uma cineasta negra – “Amor maldito” (Adélia Sampaio, 1984) – pela tese de Edileuza Penha de Souza (Cinema na Panela de Barro: Mulheres Negras, Narrativas de Amor, Afeto e Intimidade, UnB, 2013). A atenção dada a “Amor maldito” levou à situação do filme passar a ser amplamente solicitado para exibições por volta de 2017, mas circulando então em cópias antigas cuja qualidade não correspondia ao renovado interesse por ele. De um modo geral, busquei nessa lista evidenciar como a originalidade, o cuidado e a pesquisa envolvida na curadoria, planejamento e realização de projetos de digitalização, duplicação, difusão e restauração são fundamentais para o seu sucesso. Tentei ainda destacar a relevante e contínua influência de ações de preservação e difusão na historiografia do cinema brasileiro. Por fim, o objetivo principal é menos hierarquizar diferentes ações do que estimular o debate.
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Corcina and Rio de Janeiro’s Underground Cinema
Roberto Moura, the (now retired) filmmaker and professor at UFF, began a research project in the 2000s that focused on what he called “cinema alternativo carioca” (Rio de Janeiro underground cinema). This project focused on the wide ranging film production (especially of short films) of Rio de Janeiro in the 1970s and early 1980s. Involving members of the Brazilian Association of Documentarians (ABD), production companies would include Corisco, Moura himself, and especially Corcina - Cooperative of Independent Film Directors. The underground films of this period are marked by a diversity and experimentalism which flourished under the so-called “Lei do Curta” (the mandatory exhibition of Brazilian short films together with foreign features). Directors such as José Joffily, Sérgio Péo, Sylvio Da-Rin, all participated in making bold short works. More recently, Lucas Parente (son of the multimedia artist and professor André Parente, who directed some short films that are included in this trend), started a movement to rescue this material, together with the Cinemateca do MAM, Dobra - International Festival of Experimental Cinema, and others. As a result of these efforts, a 2019 digitalization of Eclipse (Antonio Moreno, 1984), an animation painted directly on film, was exhibited in several festivals and academic events, giving continuity to Roberto Moura's research, and fostering a renewed interest in these films and directors.
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The DVD Release of A Rainha Diaba
O Centro Técnico do Audiovisual (CTAv) has launched beautiful DVD editions of films from its collection over the past decades, such as silent films made in Cataguazes and Recife or even sound feature films such as O Saci (Rodolfo Nanni, 1951) and Assault on the Pay Train (Roberto Farias, 1962). Special mention should be made of the 2004 release of Antonio Carlos Fontoura's second feature film “A Rainha Diaba” (1974) on a beautiful DVD copy. This “pop-gay-black thriller” (as it was announced at the time of its release) was rediscovered two years after the premiere of Madame Satã by Karïm Anouz, helping to highlight that A Rainha Diaba is one of the most interesting Brazilian films of the 1970s. This is a beautiful example of the rescue of a film that was still very “modern” even at the time of its rediscovery. The neat edition of the DVD, filled with well-produced extras (interviews, making-ofs, trailers, etc.), was another incentive for the wide circulation of A Rainha Diaba after a certain ostracism to which the film had initially been unfairly relegated.
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The Reconstruction of Acabaram-se os otários (1929)
The reconstruction of Acabaram-se os otários (1929) was a project developed by the University Laboratory of Audiovisual Preservation of the Federal Fluminense University (LUPA-UFF) and carried out by myself and professor Reinaldo Cardenuto. The project resulted in the 2019 launch of a shortened version of the first Brazilian sound feature film, which is considered lost. This project gathered together different remaining fragments of the work such as excerpts of moving images, photographs and sound records. This audiovisual preservation project, unlike the rest on this list, was a consequence of and not the impetus for academic research. As the study of the arrival and popularization of sound cinema in Brazil motivated the interest of several researchers such as Fernando Morais da Costa (UFF), Carlos Roberto de Souza (UFSCar), and Carlos Eduardo Pereira (Cinemateca do MAM), the work of Luiz de Barros began receiving more attention from researchers as well. Researchers of Luiz de Barros include myself, Luciana Corrêa de Araújo (UFScar) and her graduate student Evandro Vasconcellos, author of the M.A. dissertation “Entre o palco e a tela: as relações do cinema com o teatro de revista nas comédias de Luiz de Barros” (UFSCar, 2015). The reconstruction of Acabaram-se os otários, on the other hand, may come to encourage other projects that combine historical research and audiovisual preservation, bringing universities and film archives closer together.
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“Classics of Cinédia” Restorations
In 2004, Cinédia released copies of four restored films produced by the company through a project sponsored by BR Distribuidora. One of them, Alô, alô, carnaval (Adhemar Gonzaga and Wallace Downey, 1936), was already the most well-known Brazilian musical of the 1930s. But two others - Mulher (Octávio Gabus Mendes, 1931) and 24 horas de sonho (Chianca de Garcia, 1941) - were true “novelties” for researchers, as they had not been widely circulated for many years. Directed by Octávio Gabus Mendes, Mulher was a silent film with music synchronized with Vitaphone records at a time when talkies were already the norm in Brazil for two years. However, at that time, many movie theaters, especially in the suburbs and in the countryside, had not yet begun the move toward sound cinema. The film is highly sophisticated, comparable to another late silent production by Cinédia, the classic Ganga Bruta (Humberto Mauro, 1933). In addition to prompting interesting research on sound in cinema and silent cinema, the restoration of Mulher was the subject of the M.A. dissertation by Joice Scavone, “Mulher: a trajetória do som do primeiro filme synchronizado da Cinédia” (UFF, 2013), which discussed the close link between film studies and film preservation in academia. The Classics of Cinédia restorations remain in restricted circulation, many of the works still unavailable in digital format. As a result, the fourth film which was restored, Adhemar Gonzaga’s 1944 Romance proibido remains practically unknown to audiences. Despite this, the films that are accessible had an extremely significant impact on the academic world.
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Duplication of Fábula or Mitt Hem är Copacabana by Arne Sucksdorff
Swedish filmmaker Arne Sucksdorff was best known in the history of Brazilian cinema for having offered a film course in Rio de Janeiro in 1962, which became a milestone moment for the emerging Cinema Novo movement. However, before moving to Mato Grosso’s Pantanal (where he would live until his death), Sucksdorff shot the fascinating Fábula (1965) in Rio de Janeiro. This feature film was co-produced with Sweden and it had been practically forgotten since its initial release. However, in the mid-1990s, in a project in partnership with the Banco do Brasil Cultural Center (CCBB), Chico Moreira, who was then the head of conservation at the Cinemateca do MAM, duplicated the film. Chico produced a new 16mm exhibition print optically reduced from the original 35mm internegative of the Brazilian version of the film which had been preserved by the film archive. In the 2000s, Hernani Heffner - who succeeded Chico at the Cinemateca do MAM - began to frequently screen that 16mm print of Fábula, always with enormous success among the public who were dazzled by this practically unknown work. Scholars soon became interested. João Luiz Vieira analyzed the film in the award-winning 2009 book “World Cinemas, Transnational Perspectives”, edited by Natasa Ďurovičová and Kathleen Newman. I myself wrote about the film in the catalog of the “Olhares Neo-Realistas” film series, held at the Banco do Brasil Cultural Center in 2006. The film also became the subject of a wider research project by professor Esther Hamburguer (USP), which brought to Brazil a digital copy of the Swedish version. The interest aroused by the film was such that in 2011 the Moreira Salles Institute financed the making of a new print of the Brazilian version – this time in 35mm – from the original internegative.
01
DVDs "Os filmes de Zózimo Bulbul" and " Obras raras: o cinema negro da década de 70" (Films of Zózimo Bulbul" and "Rare works: Black Cinema of the 70s)
Released in 2005 and 2006 through a partnership between the Centro de Apoio ao Desenvolvimento, Afro Carioca Cinema Center and the Palmares Cultural Foundation of the Ministry of Culture, the DVDs “Films of Zózimo Bulbul” and “Rare works: the black cinema of the 70s” were fundamental towards expanding the circulation of films by important black Brazilian filmmakers as well as contributing to their revaluation. The double DVD-set “Films of Zózimo Bulbul” featured six films by the actor and director, made between the 1970s and 2000s. Bulbul’s first short film Alma no Olho (1973) has been reevaluated as the masterpiece that it is, being recently chosen as the 11th best short film in the history of Brazilian cinema in a list made by the Brazilian Association of Film Critics (Abbracine) in 2019. The double DVD “Rare works: black cinema of the 70s” presented six films directed by Antunes Filho, Antonio Pitanga, Zózimo Bulbul, Ola Balogun, Waldir Onofre and Odilon Lopez. Of particular note is the feature film As aventuras amorosas de um padeiro (1975), Onofre's debut feature film produced by Nelson Pereira dos Santos. In addition to the black protagonist, this erotic comedy produced during the “climax” of pornochanchada stands out for its feminist tone, rare in a genre filled with sexist works. Thus, in addition to contributing to the growing interest in black cinema in the academic world, the DVD also helped newly highlight Onofre's cinema and, more broadly, the pornochanchada itself.
01
Event “Cinema Brasileiro, a vergonha de uma nação” (Brazilian Cinema, the Shame of a Nation)
Researcher Remier Lion had the ambition to hold a large retrospective of Brazilian exploitation films with this provocative title (a reference to Howard Hawks’ 1932 Scarface) at the Cinemateca do MAM when it had just resumed its programming after a serious crisis hit the institution in the early 2000s. However, his idea was not well received by the institution’s then curator Gilberto Santeiro, who was very uncomfortable with the provocation aimed at the respectability of Brazilian cinema. Despite this, Remier brought part of his program to film clubs in different locations of Rio de Janeiro, titling the new program “Malditos films brasileiros” (Damned Brazilian Films). Finally, the program reached the Cinemateca Brasileira, where it was held with enormous success in 2004, even leading Remier to join the programming team of the film archive. Working at the Cinemateca Brasileira provided Remier with access to even rarer materials for his project. Although Remier’s  program can be understood as a general revision and revaluation of the films made at the “Boca do Lixo” (the neighborhood that gathered commercial film professionals in São Paulo from the 1960s to 1980s), the screening series “Brazilian Cinema: the shame of a nation” had a broader scope, incorporating a filmmaker that Remier was researching for a very long time, Nilo Machado, who independently produced strip-tease films in Rio de Janeiro since the 1960s. In general, the exhibition at the Cinemateca Brasileira shed light on several unknown examples of the long trajectory of Brazilian commercial, popular, and genre cinema, which had not yet been explored in Brazilian film historiography due to its penchant for emphasizing auteurs. Thus, this event received enormous media coverage and had great repercussion among film critics. It was also aligned with an academic research trend that was just burgeoning, exemplified by Rodrigo Pereira's dissertation “Western Feijoada: o faroeste no cinema brasileiro” (Unesp, 2002), or by works which were then yet to have been completed, including the doctoral theses of Laura Cánepa “Medo de que?: uma história do horror nos filmes brasileiros” (Unicamp, 2008) and Alfredo Suppia “Limite de alerta! Ficção cientifica em atmosfera rarefeita : uma introdução ao estudo da FC no cinema brasileiro e em algumas cinematografias off-Hollywood” (Unicamp, 2007).
01
Restoration of Aviso aos navegantes
With the sponsorship of BR Distribuidora and Petrobrás, the Centro de Pesquisadores do Cinema Brasileiro (CPCB) has carried out important restorations of films from different periods and directors over the last few decades. Perhaps the most notable restoration was the chanchada Aviso aos navegantes (Watson Macedo, 1950), completed between 1999 and 2000. When the 1950s musical comedies known as chanchadas started to be revaluated in the 1970s, Jean-Claude Bernardet highlighted Nem Sansão nem Dalila (Carlos Manga, 1954) as one of the most important political films in Brazilian cinema. From then on out, if any chanchada was included on the list of the most important Brazilian films of all time, it was usually this Hollywood parody full of criticism about the Getúlio Vargas government. Subsequently, based on studies such as those of João Luiz Vieira, Robert Stam and Arthur Autran, the film Carnaval Atlântida (José Carlos Burle, 1952) became the most valued example of the genre, with its reflexive character and sophisticated discussion about the politics of Brazilian cinema. Burle's film came to occupy the prominent place within the chanchada genre previously given to Carlos Manga's film. Produced before Carnaval Atlântida and Nem Sansão nem Dalila, Aviso aos navegantes stands out not as an exception to the genre, but as the rule. Rather than subverting the conventions of chanchadas, the film brilliantly employs all of its clichés, with an excellent cast of Oscarito and Grande Otelo, villain José Lewgoy and the romantic duo of Eliane Macedo and Anselmo Duarte. Restored by Chico Moreira at Labocine from different prints of various gauges, Aviso aos navegantes gradually and deservedly became the main chanchada reference for scholars of the genre.

01
Restoration of Moacyr Fenelon’s films.
Conducted by the Instituto para Preservação da Memória do Cinema Brasileiro (IPMCB), an organization run by Alice Gonzaga and Hernani Heffner, the restoration project of the films of Moacyr Fenelon extended between 2006 and 2010 and was sponsored by the Petrobrás Cultural Program. The project brought to light five feature films made between 1948 and 1951 that had not been seen in decades. Moacyr Fenelon is best known as a pioneer sound technician during the 1930s and as one of the creators of the Atlântida studio in 1941. Fenelon had the final part of his career recovered by the restoration project: the years when he created his company the Cine-Produções Fenelon and then joined Flama Filmes studio. Unfortunately, his relatively early death in 1953 prevented the director from having a more effective participation in the movement he helped to foster, keeping in mind that Nelson Pereira dos Santos not for nothing named the crew who made Rio 40 degrees, “Team Moacyr Fenelon”. In my PhD thesis, “Carnaval, mistério e gangsters: o filme policial no Brasil: 1915-1951” (UFF, 2011), two films restored by this project served as fundamental examples for my research of a dramatic cinema made during post-War times in Brazil: Obrigado, Doutor (1948), based on a homonymous radio series, and Domino Negro (1950), adapted from a novel by Hélio Soveral. More broadly, Fenelon's role as an “independent producer” was one of the main themes of Luís Alberto da Rocha Melo's fantastic PhD thesis, “Cinema Independente: produção, exibição e distribuição no Rio de Janeiro: 1948 to 1954 (UFF, 2011). In that thesis, he demonstrated Fenelon's pioneering leadership in developing the mode of production that would later be followed by “auteurs” who are identified today with the so-called “independent cinema of the 50s”, such as Alex Viany, Roberto Santos and Nelson Pereira dos Santos. Finally, Fenelon’s musical Poeira de Estrelas (1948) surprised today’s audiences by portraying the love between two women, receiving a pioneering analysis by Mateus Nagime in one of the chapters of his M.A. dissertation “Em busca das origens de um cinema queer no Brasil” (UFSCar, 2016).
01
DVD Box-Set “Coleção CTAv” (CTAv Collection)
Initiative of the Centro Técnico do Audiovisual (CTAv) in partnership with the Cinemateca Brasileira, the digitization of short films produced by the Instituto Nacional de Cinema Educativo (INCE), the Instituto Nacional de Cinema (INC) and Embrafilme, made a large number of documentaries produced by the State between the 1930s and the 1970s accessible. The beautiful DVD box-set “CTAv Collection” which resulted from the digitization project was sent to many universities for free. It contained 110 titles divided into 20 discs, not only allowing for a broader view of filmmaker Humberto Mauro’s filmography, but also shedding light on lesser-known works by several other important directors such as Leon Hirszman, Arthur Omar, Adhemar Gonzaga, Linduarte Noronha, and a wide range of educational, ethnographic, animation and compilation films. Mauro's rural education films from the 1950s, for example, would go on to be written about in a special chapter by Sheila Schwarzman in the recent book “Nova história do cinema brasileiro” (2018). Also, films that address the very history of Brazilian cinema such as the important Mulheres de cinema (Ana Maria Magalhães, 1976) was the subject of Luís Alberto Rocha Melo's chapter in the seminal book “Feminino e plural: mulheres no cinema brasileiro”, organized by Marina Tedesco and Karla Holanda, from his project on audiovisual historiography of Brazilian cinema. These films released on DVD also became accessible through the Banco de Conteúdos Culturais website (www.bcc.gov.br).5
01
Event “Cinema Marginal e suas fronteiras” (Cinema Marginal and its Borders)
Initially held in São Paulo in 2001, the film screening series “Cinema Marginal and its Borders” was perhaps the greatest event dedicated to Brazilian cinema among the series of outstanding screenings sponsored by the Banco do Brasil Cultural Center (CCBB) in the 2000s. Organized by the founder of Heco Produções Eugenio Puppo, the event brought together a wide range of films that had not been shown for many years, much less together. The event also helped to consolidate a successful formula for future events: film screenings + debates + catalog with texts specially written by specialists + new prints struck to premiere at the event. The impact of the experimental and iconoclast films made between the 1960s and 1970s was enormous, especially in comparison with the expensive and inexpressive films that comprised most of the contemporary Brazilian cinema of the “Retomada”. At UFF, professor João Luiz Vieira built a course around Cinema Marginal in light of the event, his students attending many screenings and becoming more interested in Cinema Marginal. In the wake of the event and its success, producers and critics from Rio de Janeiro later organized film series dedicated to directors Rogério Sganzerla and Julio Bressane, notable auteurs of the Cinema Marginal period. These series took place in the same cultural center, and new film prints were especially struck, allowing for the (re)discovery of lesser known titles from the filmography of these filmmakers. 

The event also had a major impact on the academic world, as a huge number of dissertations and theses were soon dedicated to Cinema Marginal. The topic of Cinema Marginal would soon go to supplant the Cinema Novo movement in popularity at universities. As a result of such success, Heco Produções launched the 2009 DVD collection “Cinema Marginal Brasileiro” in partnership with Lume and the Cinemateca Brasileira, institutions further collaborating to widely circulate Cinema Marginal films. At the same time, a film like Copacabana mon amour (Rogério Sganzerla, 1970), restored between 2013 and 2015 through the Petrobras Cultural Program and then released on DVD, became the subject of numerous academic research projects and became an often debated work at conferences.

01
Project “Resgate da obra cinematográfica de Gerson Tavares” (Rediscovery of Gerson Tavares’ Films)
Director of two fictional features in the 1960s and several short documentaries between the 1950s and 1970s, Gerson Tavares had his name and films erased from the history of Brazilian cinema. The project “Rediscovery of Gerson Tavares’ films” was approved in the first (and until today only) edition of the “Preservation and Conservation of the Fluminense Artistic Memory” public callby the Rio de Janeiro Secretariat of Culture in 2012. “Rediscovery of Gerson Tavares’ films” had the initial objective of restoring the film “Antes, o Verão” (1968), which was in danger of being lost as its only two remaining 35mm prints were already deteriorating. However, the scope of the project was widened, allowing us to digitize the feature film “Amor e desamor” (1966) as well as seven other shorts by the director. These films would go on to be released on a non-commercial double DVD. The completion of the project allowed for what was almost a new premiere of Gerson’s films, and a real rediscovery of the octogenarian director by new generations occurred. Often compared to Walter Hugo Khouri who worked in São Paulo, the work of Gerson Tavares is proof that there was quality dramatic cinema made in Rio de Janeiro in the 1960s outside of the Cinema Novo movement. Absent from most panoramic books on the history of Brazilian cinema until then, the project allowed the name of Gerson Tavares to be reinserted in that history. As an example, Fernão Ramos mentioned Gerson’s films in his chapter about Brazilian cinema of the 60s in the the recent book “Nova história do cinema brasileiro” (Sesc, 2018), organized by Sheila Schvarzman and Ramos himself.

01
DVD Box-Set “Resgate do cinema silencioso brasileiro” (Rescuing Silent Brazilian Cinema)
In his fundamental 1979 book “Cinema Brasileiro: propostas para uma história”, Jean-Claude Bernardet pointed out the importance of documentary (or “natural”) film in Brazilian silent cinema, despite the much greater attention allotted to fictional (“posado” or staged) film by historians. While the availability of newsreels, actualities and documentary films produced up until 1930 has always been scarce, these works in fact represent a much larger volume of preserved titles than the even scarcer availability of fiction films. A fundamental action towards providing access to silent documentary films was a project developed with the Cinemateca Brasileira by Carlos Roberto de Souza: the 2009 DVD box-set “Rescuing Silent Brazilian Cinema”. Sponsored by Caixa Econômica Federal, this box-set was composed of 27 films gathered into five DVDs and came with a booklet written by Carlos Roberto. Despite the presence of “posados” (fictional films), such as the oldest preserved fictional Brazilian film, Os óculos do vovô (Francisco Santos, 1913), the vast majority of titles within the box were “naturais” (that is, documentaries) grouped into 5 themes: “Riches of São Paulo”, “Aspects of Brazil", "Sciences (or occultism) and riches", "Daily life" and “Public ceremonies". The circulation of these films provided researchers with greater access to a wide range of films that had rarely been seen, promoting new research on Brazilian silent cinema. However, research into this field had already begun gaining momentum during gathering sessions of scholars at the Cinemateca Brasileira that resulted in the book “Viagem ao cinema silencioso do Brasil” (Azougue, 2011), organized by Samuel Paiva and Sheila Schvarzman, also largely dedicated to documentary silent films. In addition to that, important articles were written about this topic by Eduardo Morettin and Hernani Heffner. Subsequently, the films included in the DVDs became accessible through the Banco de Conteúdos Culturais website (www.bcc.gov.br).3
01
Canal Brasil's “Como era gostoso o nosso cinema” (How Tasty was Our Cinema) Program.
The emergence of pay-TV Channel Canal Brasil in 1998 provided a new window for showing old Brazilian films on television. Canal Brasil needed to acquire Brazilian cinema content for its programming, so they offered to pay producers for broadcasting rights in addition to paying for the telecine costs of films that did not yet have video copies (Beta, then Full-HD). For some Brazilian producers, especially producers of commercial works who had been unable to monetize their films since the decline of the VHS market in the mid-2000s, it was as if money was coming from heaven. They finally had a way to commercially release their films through Canal Brasil. 
Naturally, the main type of film that reached Canal Brasil was the popular pornochanchada. These were soft-core porn films produced between the 1970s and 1980s. The telecineing of many pornochanchada films motivated Canal Brasil to create the program “How tasty was our cinema” (mocking the title of Nelson Pereira dos Santos’s 1971 film How Tasty was My Little Frenchman), a series of live airings dedicated to the genre. Soon after these pornochanchadas were shown on Canal Brasil, they became widely available (as people would pirate recordings of the live TV presentation and post them online). With new access to these films, an extraordinary revision of the genre occurred. 

Although authors such as Jean-Claude Bernardet, José Carlos Avellar and José Mário Ortiz Ramos wrote about pornochanchadas in the 1970s and 1980s, few working within the field of academia after them (perhaps with the exception of Nuno Cesar Abreu) realized the quality and perspicacity of these pioneering works. Only more recently have there been new academic dissertations that go beyond a totalizing and simplistic analysis of the genre. These texts move away from the point of view that pornochanchadas merely held a mechanistic relationship with censorship, and that the “birth” of the genre was merely the result of State repression. Instead, they focus on specific films and filmographies, pointing out the diversity of pornochanchadas in terms of themes, approaches and quality. 

M.A. dissertations such as Luiz Paulo Gomes Neves’ “A construção de um profeta: A prática discursiva enquanto distinção de autoria no gênero pornochanchada” (UFF, 2012) and Luciano Carneiro de Oliveira Júnior’s “Masculinidades excessivas e ambivalentes na pornochanchada dos anos 1980” (UFF, 2019), both supervised by professor Mariana Baltar, are two good examples of the kind of positive influence that a large number of digitally available titles can have on film genre studies. 

1.  Telecine is the process of transferring motion picture film into video. Telecine enables a motion picture, captured originally on film stock, to be viewed with standard video equipment such as television sets, video cassette recorders (VCR), DVD, Blu-ray Disc or computers.

2. One exception to this is actor, director, and producer Carlo Mossy, whose films were acquired by Canal Brasil and then also released in a 2013 DVD collection.

3. Due to Cinemateca Brasileira’s current crisis resulting from recent government actions, the website of the Banco de Conteúdos Culturais, hosted by the Cinemateca, has often suffered from technical problems

4. In Brazil, governments occasionally put out “public calls”, which are similar to grants. Public calls are opportunities open to anybody to compete to get something funded, usually cultural works or research projects.

5. See 3
Corcina e o cinema alternativo carioca.
O cineasta e professor (hoje aposentado) da UFF, Roberto Moura, vinha desenvolvendo desde os anos 2000 um projeto de pesquisa voltado para o que ele chamava de “cinema alternativo carioca”, englobando a ampla produção, sobretudo de curtas-metragens, realizada no Rio de Janeiro dos anos 1970, envolvendo integrantes da Associação Brasileira de Documentaristas (ABD), produtoras como a Corisco, do próprio Moura, e principalmente a Corcina – Cooperativa de Realizadores Cinematográficos Autônomos. Trata-se de uma produção marcada por diversidade e experimentalismo, que floresceu com a chamada Lei do Curta, realizada por diretores como José Joffily, Sérgio Péo, Sylvio Da-Rin, entre outros. Mais recentemente, Lucas Parente, filho do professor e realizador André Parente, diretor de curtas que podem ser enquadrados nesse movimento, iniciou um movimento de resgate desse material, junto com a Cinemateca do MAM, o Dobra – festival internacional de cinema experimental, entre outros parceiros. A digitalização realizada, em 2019, de “Eclipse” (Antonio Moreno, 1984), animação com intervenção direta na película, foi exibida em diversos festivais e eventos acadêmicos, dando continuidade, de forma mais ampla à pesquisa de Roberto Moura, e fomentando um renovado interesse sobre esses filmes e realizadores.
01
DVD de “A Rainha Diaba”
O Centro Técnico do Audiovisual (CTAv) da Funarte lançou nas últimas décadas belas edições em DVD de filmes de seu acervo, como o de filmes silenciosos realizados em Cataguazes e Recife ou ainda de longas-metragens sonoros como “O Saci” (Rodolfo Nanni, 1951) e “Assalto ao trem pagador” (Roberto Farias, 1962). Merece destaque especial o lançamento, em 2004, da DVD com a bela cópia do segundo longa-metragem de Antonio Carlos Fontoura, “A Rainha Diaba” (1974). A redescoberta desse “thriller pop-gay-black” com Milton Gonçalves no papel título, dois anos depois do lançamento de “Madame Satã”, dirigido por Karïm Anouz e protagonizado por Lázaro Ramos, colocou em evidência esse que é um dos mais interessantes filmes brasileiros da década de 1970. Trata-se de um belo exemplo do resgate de um filme que se mostrou bastante atual no momento de sua redescoberta. A edição caprichada do DVD, recheado de bem produzidos extras (entrevistas, making off inédito, trailers etc.), foi outro incentivo para ampla circulação de “A Rainha Diaba” após um certo esquecimento ao que o filme tinha sido injustamente relegado.
01
A reconstituição de “Acabaram-se os otários” (1929) 
A reconstituição de “Acabaram-se os otários” foi um projeto desenvolvido pelo Laboratório Universitário de Preservação Audiovisual da Universidade Federal Fluminense (LUPA-UFF) e realizado por mim e pelo professor Reinaldo Cardenuto. O projeto resultou no lançamento, em 2019, de uma versão reduzida do primeiro longa-metragem brasileiro sonoro, considerado um filme perdido, o que foi possibilitado pela reunião de diferentes fragmentos remanescentes da obra, tais como trechos de imagens em movimento, fotografias e registros sonoros. Trata-se de um projeto de preservação audiovisual que, diferentemente do restante da lista, foi uma consequência e não o impulsionador de uma pesquisa acadêmica. Assim como o estudo da chegada e popularização do cinema sonoro no Brasil vinha motivando interesse de diversos pesquisadores como Fernando Morais da Costa (UFF), Carlos Roberto de Souza (UFSCar) e Carlos Eduardo Pereira (Cinemateca do MAM), além de mim mesmo, a obra de Luiz de Barros também vinha recebendo mais atenção por parte de pesquisadores como Luciana Corrêa de Araújo (UFScar) e seus orientandos, como Evandro Vasconcellos (“Entre o Palco e a Tela: As relações do cinema com o teatro de revista em comédias musicais de Luiz de Barros”, UFSCar, 2015). A reconstituição de “Acabaram-se os otários”, por outro lado, pode vir a incentivar outros projetos que conjugam pesquisa histórica e preservação audiovisual, aproximando mais as universidades e as cinematecas.
01
“Classics of Cinédia” Restorations
Em 2004, a Cinédia lançou cópias restauradas de quatro filmes produzidos pela empresa através de projeto patrocinado pela BR Distribuidora. Um deles, Alô, alô, carnaval (Adhemar Gonzaga and Wallace Downey, 1936), (Adhemar Gonzaga e Wallace Downey, 1936), já era o mais conhecido musical brasileiro dos anos 1930. Mas dois outros –Mulher (Oduvaldo Viana, 1931) 24 horas de sonho (Chianca de Garcia, 1941) – eram verdadeiras “novidades” para os pesquisadores, por não circularem amplamente havia muitos anos. Dirigido por Octávio Gabus Mendes, “Mulher” era um filme mudo com músicas sincronizadas por discos, num momento em que os talkies já estavam em pleno sucesso no Brasil havia dois anos, mas quando muitas salas de cinema, especialmente nos subúrbios e no interior, ainda não haviam se adaptado para o cinema sonoro. Trata-se ainda um filme de grande sofisticação, comparável a outra realização muda tardia da Cinédia, a do clássico Ganga Bruta (Humberto Mauro, 1933). Além de interessar a pesquisas sobre o som no cinema e o cinema silencioso, a restauração do filme foi o tema da dissertação de mestrado de Joice Scavone (“Mulher - trajetória do som do primeiro filme synchronizado da Cinédia”, UFF, 2013) que evidenciava a ligação mais estreita entre pesquisa história e preservação de filmes na academia. Apesar da circulação restrita dos filmes, que circularam muito tempo apenas em cópias 35mm – colaborando que o quarto filme restaurado, “Romance proibido” (Adhemar Gonzaga, 1944) permaneça pouco conhecido –, o impacto do projeto junto à academia foi significativo. 
01
Duplicação de “Fábula” ou “Moro em Copacabana” de Arne Sucksdorff 
O cineasta sueco Arne Sucksdorff era mais conhecido na história do cinema brasileiro por ter oferecido um curso no Rio de Janeiro, em 1962, que virou um marco na história do Cinema Novo. Antes, porém, de se radicar no pantanal mato-grossense, onde viveria até a morte, Sucksdorff realizou o fascinante “Fábula” (1965), longa-metragem em coprodução com a Suécia que foi praticamente esquecido desde o seu lançamento. Em meados dos anos 1990, num projeto em parceria com o Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Chico Moreira, então conservador da Cinemateca do MAM, fez uma cópia nova, reduzida para 16mm, do contratipo original 35mm da versão brasileira do filme preservado no acervo da instituição. Nos anos 2000, Hernani Heffner – que sucedeu Chico na Cinemateca do MAM – passou a projetar Fábula com frequência em diferentes oportunidades, sempre com enorme repercussão junto ao público, deslumbrado com aquela obra praticamente desconhecida. Estudiosos logo se interessaram. João Luiz Vieira analisou o filme em seu capítulo no premiado livro World Cinemas, Transnational Perspectives, organizado por Natasa Ďurovičová e Kathleen Elizabeth Newman, publicado em 2009. Eu mesmo escrevi sobre o filme no catálogo da mostra “Olhares Neo-Realistas”, realizado no Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, em 2006. O filme se tornou ainda objeto de amplo projeto de pesquisa da professora Esther Hamburguer (USP), que viabilizou a vinda para o Brasil de uma cópia digital da versão sueca. O interesse suscitado pelo filme foi tanto que, em 2011, o Instituto Moreira Salles financiou a confecção de uma nova cópia, agora em 35mm, da versão brasileira a partir do contratipo original.
01
DVDs “O cinema de Zózimo Bulbul” e “Obras raras: o cinema negro da década de 70”
Lançados, respectivamente, em 2005 e 2006, através de uma parceria entre o Centro de Apoio ao Desenvolvimento, Centro Afro Carioca de Cinema e a Fundação Cultural Palmares do Ministério da Cultura, os DVDs “O cinema de Zózimo Bulbul” e “Obras raras: o cinema negro da década de 70” foram fundamentais para ampliar a circulação e permitir a revalorização de filmes de importantes cineastas negros brasileiros. O DVD duplo “O cinema de Zózimo Bulbul” trazia seis filmes do ator e diretor, realizados entre os anos 1970 e 2000. Seu primeiro curta-metragem, Alma no Olho (1973) tem sido reavaliado como a obra-prima que é, sendo recentemente escolhido, por exemplo, como o 11º melhor curta-metragem da história do cinema brasileiro na listagem feita pela Associação Brasileira de Críticos de Cinema, em 2019. Já o DVD duplo “Obras raras: o cinema negro da década de 70” apresentava seis filmes dirigidos por Antunes Filho, Antonio Pitanga, Zózimo Bulbul, Ola Balogun, Waldir Onofre e Odilon Lopez. De especial destaque é o longa-metragem “As aventuras amorosas de um padeiro” (1975), longa-metragem de estreia de Onofre produzido por Nelson Pereira dos Santos. Além do protagonista negro, essa comédia erótica produzida durante o “clímax” da pornochanchada se destaca por seu tom feminista, raro num gênero recheado de obras machistas e preconceituosas. Assim, além de colaborar para o crescente interesse pelo cinema negro na academia, o DVD auxiliou a revisão do cinema de Onofre e, de forma mais ampla, da própria pornochanchada.
01
Mostra “Cinema Brasileiro, a vergonha de uma nação”
O pesquisador Remier Lion tinha a ambição de realizar uma ampla mostra retrospectiva com esse provocativo título na Cinemateca do MAM, na ocasião em que ela retomou sua programação após a grave crise que assolou a instituição no início dos anos 2000. Sem receber, então, acolhida do curador Gilberto Santeiro (muito incomodado com a provocação à respeitabilidade do cinema brasileiro), Remier levou parte da sua programação para cineclubes que organizou em diferentes locais do Rio de Janeiro, num projeto chamado “Malditos filmes brasileiros”. Finalmente, a mostra chegou à Cinemateca Brasileira, onde ela foi realizada com enorme sucesso em 2004, levando Remier a se incorporar, inclusive, à equipe de programação. A sua realização na Cinemateca Brasileira permitiu, inclusive, o acesso de Remier a materiais ainda mais raros para seu projeto. Embora possa ser entendido dentro de um quadro geral de revisão e revalorização do cinema da Boca do Lixo, a mostra “Cinema Brasileiro: a vergonha de uma nação” tinha um escopo mais amplo ao incorporar, por exemplo, um cineasta que Remier já pesquisava há tempos, como Nilo Machado e que produziu filmes de strip-tease desde os anos 1960. De um modo geral, a mostra jogava luz sobre diversos e desconhecidos exemplares da longa trajetória do cinema brasileiro comercial, popular e de gênero, que a historiografia pouco contemplou, com sua ênfase autoral. Assim, o evento que recebeu enorme cobertura da mídia e grande repercussão junto ao público, ia ao encontro de muitas pesquisas já desenvolvidas, como a dissertação de Rodrigo Pereira (“Western Feijoada: o faroeste no cinema brasileiro”, Unesp, 2002), ou que ainda iriam ser concluídas, como as teses de doutorado de Laura Cánepa (“Medo de que?: uma história do horror nos filmes brasileiros”, Unicamp, 2008) e Alfredo Suppia (“Limite de alerta! Ficção cientifica em atmosfera rarefeita: uma introdução ao estudo da FC no cinema brasileiro e em algumas cinematografias off-Hollywood”, Unicamp, 2017).
01
Restauração de “Aviso aos navegantes”
Com o patrocínio da BR Distribuidora e da Petrobrás, o Centro de Pesquisadores do Cinema Brasileiro (CPCB) realizou importantes restaurações, nas últimas décadas, de filmes de diferentes épocas e diretores. Talvez a mais notável tenha sido a da chanchada .Aviso aos navegantes (Watson Macedo, 1950), realizada entre 1999 e 2000. Quando as chanchadas começaram a ser revalorizadas nos anos 1970, Jean-Claude Bernardet destacou Nem Sansão nem Dalila (Carlos Manga, 1954) como um dos mais importantes filmes políticos do cinema brasileiro. A partir de então, se alguma chanchada fosse incluída na lista dos mais importantes filmes brasileiros de todos os tempos, geralmente era essa paródia de Hollywood recheada de críticas sobre o governo Getúlio Vargas. Posteriormente, a partir de estudos como os de João Luiz Vieira, Robert Stam e Arthur Autran, o filme Carnaval Atlântida (José Carlos Burle, 1952) tornou-se o exemplar mais valorizado do gênero, com seu caráter reflexivo e uma sofisticada discussão sobre a política do cinema brasileiro. O filme de Burle passou a ocupar o lugar de destaque dentro do gênero antes dado ao filme de Carlos Manga. Produzido antes desses dois, “Aviso aos navegantes” destaca-se não como uma exceção, mas como a regra do gênero, como um exemplar clássico. Ao invés de destoar delas, o filme exemplifica as fórmulas e clichês da chanchada, mas em sua melhor forma, trazendo no elenco Oscarito e Grande Otelo, o vilão José Lewgoy e a dupla Eliane e Anselmo. Restaurado na Labocine por Chico Moreira a partir de diferentes cópias e materiais de formatos e procedências distintas, “Aviso aos navegantes” vem aos poucos, e merecidamente, tornando-se a referência principal dos estudiosos para o gênero.

01
Projeto de Recuperação da Obra de Moacyr Fenelon
Realizado pelo Instituto para Preservação da Memória do Cinema Brasileiro – leia-se Dona Alice Gonzaga e Hernani Heffner – o projeto de restauração de filmes de Moacyr Fenelon se estendeu entre 2006 e 2010, com patrocínio do Programa Petrobrás Cultural. O projeto trouxe à tona cinco longas-metragens realizados entre 1948 e 1951 que não eram vistos há décadas. Mais conhecido como pioneiro técnico de som nos anos 1930 e como um dos criadores da Atlântida, Moacyr Fenelon teve a parte final de sua carreira coberta pelo projeto, quando se lançou com a Cine-Produções Fenelon e, em seguida, se associou a Flama Filmes. Infelizmente, sua morte relativamente precoce, em 1953, impediu que o diretor tivesse uma participação mais efetiva no movimento que ajudou a fomentar, lembrando que Nelson Pereira dos Santos batizou a equipe que realizou “Rio 40 graus”, não à toa, de “Equipe Moacyr Fenelon”. Em minha tese de doutorado, “Carnaval, mistério e gangsters: o filme policial no Brasil - 1915-1951” (UFF, 2011), dois filmes trazidos à tona por esse projeto foram fundamentais como exemplares de um cinema dramático realizado a partir do pós-guerra no Brasil: “Obrigado, Doutor” (Moacyr Fenelon, 1948), baseado em série radiofônica homônima, e “Dominó negro” (Moacyr Fenelon, 1950), adaptado de novela de Hélio Soveral. De forma mais ampla, a atuação de Fenelon como “produtor independente” foi um dos temas principais da fantástica tese de doutorado de Luís Alberto da Rocha Melo (Cinema independente”: produção, distribuição e exibição no Rio de Janeiro, UFF, 2011), demonstrando o pioneirismo de Fenelon como “produtor independente” e desenvolvendo o modo de produção que seria seguido posteriormente por autores hoje identificados com o chamado “cinema independente dos anos 50”, tais como Alex Viany, Roberto Santos e o próprio Nelson Pereira dos Santos. Por fim, o musical “Poeira de estrelas” (Moacyr Fenelon, 1948) surpreendeu ao mostrar o amor entre duas mulheres, recebendo a pioneira análise de Mateus Nagime num dos capítulos de sua dissertação “Em busca das origens de um cinema queer no Brasil” (UFSCar, 2016).
01
Caixa de DVDs “Coleção CTAv”
Iniciativa do Centro Técnico do Audiovisual (CTAv) em parceria com a Cinemateca Brasileira, a digitalização de curtas e médias produzidos pelo Instituto Nacional de Cinema Educativo (INCE), pelo Instituto Nacional de Cinema (INC) e pela Embrafilme, tornou disponível um grande número de documentários produzidos pelo Estado entre os anos 1930 e 1970. A bela caixa de DVDs “Coleção CTAv” resultante do projeto, fartamente distribuída para as universidades, com 110 títulos divididos em 20 discos, não só permitia uma visão mais ampla da filmografia de um cineasta como Humberto Mauro, como trazia obras menos conhecidas de diversos outros diretores importantes, de Leon Hirszman a Arthur Omar, de Adhemar Gonzaga a Linduarte Noronha, além de um amplo leque de filmes educativos, etnográficos, animações e compilações. Os filmes de educação rural de Mauro, produzidos nos anos 1950, por exemplo, ganharam um capítulo especial de Sheila Schwarzman no recente livro “Nova história do cinema brasileiro” (2018), enquanto filmes que abordam a própria história do cinema brasileiro, como o importante “Mulheres de cinema” (Ana Maria Magalhães, 1976) foi tema do capítulo de Luís Alberto Rocha Melo do seminal livro “Feminino plural: Mulheres no cinema brasileiro”, organizado por Marina Tedesco e Karla Holanda, a partir de seu projeto sobre a historiografia audiovisual do cinema brasileiro. Esses filmes lançados em DVD também passaram a estar acessíveis através do Banco de Conteúdos Culturais (www.bcc.gov.br).

01
Mostra “Cinema Marginal e suas fronteiras”
Realizada inicialmente em São Paulo, em 2001, a mostra “Cinema Marginal e suas fronteiras” foi talvez o grande evento dedicado ao cinema brasileiro dentre a série de mostras marcantes patrocinadas pelo Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB) nos anos 2000. Organizado por Eugenio Puppo, da Heco Produções, a mostra reuniu um amplo conjunto de filmes que há muitos anos não eram exibidos, muito menos conjuntamente. O evento ajudou ainda a consolidar uma fórmula de sucesso: mostra de filmes + debates + catálogo com textos encomendados a especialistas + cópias novas para estreia no evento. O impacto da revisão de filmes experimentais, debochados e desafiadores realizados entre os anos 1960 e 1970 foi enorme, sobretudo em comparação com o então criticado cinema caro e careta, financiado pelas leis de incentivo, da retomada do Cinema Brasileiro. Na UFF, o professor João Luiz Vieira acompanhou a mostra com uma disciplina optativa dedicada ao cinema marginal. Na esteira do evento e de seu sucesso, produtores e críticos do Rio de Janeiro organizaram, posteriormente, mas no mesmo CCBB, mostras dedicadas individualmente a Rogério Sganzerla e Julio Bressane, novamente confeccionando cópias novas que permitiam a (re)descoberta de vários títulos mais obscuros da filmografia desses cineastas. O impacto acadêmico foi notável, com um número enorme de dissertações e teses sendo dedicadas a esse movimento que suplantou o Cinema Novo em popularidade na universidade. A própria Heco Produções lançou, em 2009, a coleção de DVDs Cinema Marginal Brasileiro, em parceria com a Lume e Cinemateca Brasileira, colaborando ainda mais para a ampla circulação desses filmes. Nesse mesmo movimento, um filme como “Copacabana mon amour” (Rogério Sganzerla, 1970), restaurado entre 2013 e 2015 através do Programa Petrobras Cultural, e em seguida lançado em DVD, passou a ser tema de inúmeras pesquisas acadêmicas e apresentações em congressos.
01
Projeto “Resgate da obra cinematográfica de Gerson Tavares”
Diretor de dois longas ficcionais nos anos 1960 e de diversos curtas documentários entre as décadas de 1950 e 1970, Gerson Tavares teve seu nome e filmes apagados da história do cinema brasileiro. O projeto “Resgate da obra cinematográfica de Gerson Tavares”, aprovado na primeira (e até hoje única) edição do edital Preservação e Conservação da Memória Artística Fluminense da Secretaria de Estado de Cultura do Rio de Janeiro, em 2012, tinha como objetivo inicial restaurar o filme “Antes, o verão” (1968), que corria o risco de se perder. O escopo foi ampliado para a digitalização também do filme “Amor e desamor” (1966) e de outros sete curtas do diretor, lançados em DVD duplo, numa edição não-comercial. A finalização do projeto permitiu quase um relançamento dos filmes e a redescoberto do diretor octogenário pelas novas gerações. Comparado a Walter Hugo Khouri, Gerson Tavares era prova de um cinema dramático de qualidade realizado no Rio de Janeiro dos anos 1960 para além do Cinema Novo. Ausente da maior parte dos livros panorâmicos sobre história do cinema brasileiro até então, o projeto permitiu que o nome de Gerson Tavares fosse reinscrito nessa história. Exemplo disso foi a citação a seus filmes no capítulo que Fernão Ramos escreveu sobre os anos 1960, quase inteiramente dedicado ao Cinema Novo, no recente “Nova história do cinema brasileiro” (Sesc, 2018), organizado pelo próprio Fernão e Sheila Schvarzman.
01
Caixa de DVDs “Resgate do cinema silencioso brasileiro”
Em seu fundamental livro “Cinema brasileiro: propostas para uma história”, de 1979, Jean-Claude Bernardet apontou a importância do filme documentário (ou natural) no cinema silencioso brasileiro, apesar da atenção muito maior dada ao filme ficcional (ou posado) pelos historiadores. Entretanto, a disponibilidade de cinejornais, atualidades e registros documentais brasileiros produzidos até 1930 sempre foi escassa, apesar de representar um volume muito maior de títulos preservados do que as esparsas ficções. Uma ação fundamental para dar acesso a essa produção foi o projeto desenvolvido na Cinemateca Brasileira, por Carlos Roberto de Souza, da caixa de DVDs “Resgate do cinema silencioso brasileiro”, finalizado em 2009. Patrocinado pela Caixa Econômica Federal, a caixa era composta por 27 filmes reunidos em cinco DVDs e um livreto de autoria de Carlos Roberto. Apesar da presença de posados, como o mais antigo filme de ficção preservado, “Os óculos do vovô” (Francisco Santos, 1913), a grande maioria dos títulos eram de naturais, reunidos em 5 temas: “Riquezas Paulistas”, “Aspectos do Brasil”, “Ciências (mesmo ocultas) e riquezas”, “Vida cotidiana” e “Cerimônias públicas”. A circulação desses filmes permitiu que mais pesquisadores tivessem acesso a um amplo conjunto de filmes pouco vistos anteriormente, fortalecendo as pesquisas sobre o cinema silencioso brasileiro. Elas já tinham ganhado impulso com as reuniões de pesquisadores na Cinemateca Brasileira que resultaram no livro “Viagem ao cinema silencioso do Brasil” (Azougue, 2011), organizado por Samuel Paiva e Sheila Schvarzman, em grande parte também dedicado aos pouco estudados filmes naturais, sem falar de importantes artigos escritos por Eduardo Morettin e Hernani Heffner. Posteriormente, os filmes incluídos nos DVDs passaram a estar acessíveis ainda através do Banco de Conteúdos Culturais (www.bcc.gov.br)
01
Sessão “Como era gostoso o nosso cinema” do Canal Brasil
A criação do Canal Brasil, em 1998, representou o surgimento de uma nova janela de exibição de filmes brasileiros antigos na televisão. Com grande demanda pela aquisição de conteúdo para sua programação, o Canal Brasil oferecia, além do pagamento ao produtor pelos direitos de transmissão, os custos de telecinagem de filmes que não tivessem cópias em vídeo (Beta, depois Full-HD). Para alguns produtores brasileiros, sobretudo de obras comerciais que praticamente não monetizavam seus filmes desde a decadência do mercado de VHS, era um dinheiro caído do céu. Naturalmente, o principal tipo de filme que chegou ao Canal Brasil foi o da popularíssima pornochanchada, produzida entre os anos 1970 e 1980, o que motivou, inclusive, a criação da sessão “Como era gostoso o nosso cinema”, especialmente dedicado ao gênero. Poucos produtores conseguiram lançar comercialmente seus filmes fora do Canal Brasil, sendo uma exceção o ator, diretor e produtor Carlo Mossy, que lançou seus filmes numa coleção de DVDs em 2013. A ampla disponibilidade de um grande número de pornochanchadas após sua exibição pelo Canal Brasil (logo copiados e e postados na internet) permitiu o bem-vindo reexame do gênero. Embora autores como Jean-Claude Bernardet, José Carlos Avellar e José Mário Ortiz Ramos tenham escrito sobre o gênero nos próprios anos 1970 e 1980, poucos na academia – talvez com a principal exceção de Nuno Cesar Abreu – deram prosseguimento à qualidade e perspicácia destes trabalhos pioneiros. Apenas mais recentemente tem surgido bons trabalhos acadêmicos que vão além de uma análise totalizante – e simplista – do gênero, fugindo de uma relação mecanicista com a censura, focando em filmes e filmografias específicas e apontando a inevitável, mas pouco percebida diversidade da pornochanchada, em termos de temas, abordagens e qualidade. Dissertações de mestrado como a de Luiz Paulo Gomes (A construção de um profeta: a prática discursiva enquanto distinção de autoria no gênero da pornochanchada, UFF, 2012) e de Luciano Carneiro de Oliveira Júnior (Masculinidades excessivas e ambivalentes na pornochanchada dos anos 1980, UFF, 2019), ambas orientadas pela professora Mariana Baltar, foram alguns dos bons frutos da disponibilidade em formato digital de um número muito mais amplo de filmes que permitiram a comparação, análise e crítica.
1.  Telecine is the process of transferring motion picture film into video. Telecine enables a motion picture, captured originally on film stock, to be viewed with standard video equipment such as television sets, video cassette recorders (VCR), DVD, Blu-ray Disc or computers.

2. One exception to this is actor, director, and producer Carlo Mossy, whose films were acquired by Canal Brasil and then also released in a 2013 DVD collection.

3. Due to Cinemateca Brasileira’s current crisis resulting from recent government actions, the website of the Banco de Conteúdos Culturais, hosted by the Cinemateca, has often suffered from technical problems

4. In Brazil, governments occasionally put out “public calls”, which are similar to grants. Public calls are opportunities open to anybody to compete to get something funded, usually cultural works or research projects.

5. See 3

Abolition: the Atlantic Cinema of Zózimo Bulbul

Compasso de Espera was conceived by Zózimo Bulbul and Antunes Filho in response to the lack of opportunities for Black professionals in the film industry in the late 1960s. The film’s direct confrontation of racial issues in Brazil didn’t sit well with the censorship department of the Military Dictatorship that ruled the country, and when it was finally released six years after completion, only three copies were made for its commercial release, which significantly reduced its chances of reaching a larger audience. To this day, this poignant anti-racist film remains underseen, and is better remembered as the source of the film stock with which Bulbul would make his directorial debut, the seminal short film Soul in the Eye (1973). In this video essay, Juliano Gomes and Mariana Nunes delve deeper into the symbolisms of Compasso de Espera.
watch Compasso De Espera Here
Photo by Giorgia Prates
Abolition: the Atlantic Cinema of Zózimo Bulbul
Questions by
Bernardo Oliveira
September 1, 2020
It should come as no surprise that in Brazil, as in most so-called “underdeveloped” countries, the question of cultural memory and access to history as dictated by the archive is far more precarious than one approaching the subject from the relative wealth of the United States or Europe. There are far more gaps, erasures, and interstices for pieces of Brazilian culture to fall into with a much higher frequency, which is a condition both of political determination and physical incapability. On this second factor, one need only be pointed to the fact that a historical Brazilian film studio had to burn its nitrate prints from the golden era of the 40s and 50s after new safety film copies were made, for fear of the entire studio burning down due to the combination of nitrate film and tropical heat. For a Brazilian archivist—or their counterpart on the side of production, the found footage filmmaker—therefore, the task of even taking the first steps toward the gathering of documents for their work is an arduous one sure to be met with many frustrations, barring a situation where one’s subject has an exceptionally well-kept estate.

Thus such cultural workers find their labor to be determined under the sign of fragmentation, and we find the most compelling work to be that which wears this mark as one of pride and uses its form to reflect its material inconsistencies. Carlos Adriano has worked with Brazil’s cinematic archives for over twenty years, creating films that both preserve and project the gaps and other forms of lack that he encounters when faced with the heretofore undocumented sections of Brazil’s past.
Photo by Giorgia Prates
Abolition: the Atlantic Cinema of Zózimo Bulbul
Questions by
Bernardo Oliveira
September 1, 2020
It should come as no surprise that in Brazil, as in most so-called “underdeveloped” countries, the question of cultural memory and access to history as dictated by the archive is far more precarious than one approaching the subject from the relative wealth of the United States or Europe. There are far more gaps, erasures, and interstices for pieces of Brazilian culture to fall into with a much higher frequency, which is a condition both of political determination and physical incapability. On this second factor, one need only be pointed to the fact that a historical Brazilian film studio had to burn its nitrate prints from the golden era of the 40s and 50s after new safety film copies were made, for fear of the entire studio burning down due to the combination of nitrate film and tropical heat. For a Brazilian archivist—or their counterpart on the side of production, the found footage filmmaker—therefore, the task of even taking the first steps toward the gathering of documents for their work is an arduous one sure to be met with many frustrations, barring a situation where one’s subject has an exceptionally well-kept estate.

Thus such cultural workers find their labor to be determined under the sign of fragmentation, and we find the most compelling work to be that which wears this mark as one of pride and uses its form to reflect its material inconsistencies. Carlos Adriano has worked with Brazil’s cinematic archives for over twenty years, creating films that both preserve and project the gaps and other forms of lack that he encounters when faced with the heretofore undocumented sections of Brazil’s past.
Photo by Giorgia Prates
Abolition: the Atlantic Cinema of Zózimo Bulbul
Questions by
Bernardo Oliveira
September 1, 2020
It should come as no surprise that in Brazil, as in most so-called “underdeveloped” countries, the question of cultural memory and access to history as dictated by the archive is far more precarious than one approaching the subject from the relative wealth of the United States or Europe. There are far more gaps, erasures, and interstices for pieces of Brazilian culture to fall into with a much higher frequency, which is a condition both of political determination and physical incapability. On this second factor, one need only be pointed to the fact that a historical Brazilian film studio had to burn its nitrate prints from the golden era of the 40s and 50s after new safety film copies were made, for fear of the entire studio burning down due to the combination of nitrate film and tropical heat. For a Brazilian archivist—or their counterpart on the side of production, the found footage filmmaker—therefore, the task of even taking the first steps toward the gathering of documents for their work is an arduous one sure to be met with many frustrations, barring a situation where one’s subject has an exceptionally well-kept estate.

Thus such cultural workers find their labor to be determined under the sign of fragmentation, and we find the most compelling work to be that which wears this mark as one of pride and uses its form to reflect its material inconsistencies. Carlos Adriano has worked with Brazil’s cinematic archives for over twenty years, creating films that both preserve and project the gaps and other forms of lack that he encounters when faced with the heretofore undocumented sections of Brazil’s past.
Photo by Giorgia Prates
Abolition: the Atlantic Cinema of Zózimo Bulbul
Questions by
Bernardo Oliveira
 &
September 1, 2020
Photo by Giorgia Prates
Abolition: the Atlantic Cinema of Zózimo Bulbul
Questions by
Bernardo Oliveira
 &
September 1, 2020
PT /
ENG

The short film Nitrato has been revisited a lot in recent years, in film festivals and now on Limite. Besides its aesthetic freshness, the subject of the film, exploring the many challenges facing the Cinemateca Brasileira in 1974, feels extremely contemporary as the archive is now going through another immense crisis. Although much has changed between then and now, we still have to defend the obvious: it is important for an entity such as the Cinemateca Brasileira to exist so that we can ensure the preservation of our audiovisual heritage.

Multifaceted, Nitrato expresses the ambiguities and contradictions of the Cinemateca Brasileira. The film deals with the richness of its collection, the recognition of international entities, and explores what its relationship to the general public was like. Nitrato also portrays the neglect with which the institution is treated, as seen in how precarious its building infrastructure is, how politicians neglected to communicate with the institution’s staff, and the aftermath of another fire in the building.

Just as during the time of Nitrato, the Cinemateca Brasileira still plays an important part in providing access to Brazilian and world cinema, with excellent programs in its exhibition rooms and film festivals held in its headquarters. The diffusion of films has always been one of the aspects that attracts film students, researchers, and the general public to the institution. In fact, when Alain Fresnot made the film, he was a film student at the School of Communication and Arts at São Paulo University.
1
Débora Butruce and Natália de Castro: Can you describe the relationship between the ECA (Escola de Comunicações e Artes) students  and the Cinemateca Brasileira in 1974? How did you become interested in the institution?

Alain Fresnot: The Cinemateca made different films available to our film school. The presence of Paulo Emilio2 in both institutions made our contact with the Cinemateca and our interest in its collections easier. As a film student, I wanted to specialize in editing and I was very interested in Soviet cinema; Eisenstein, of course, and those films came from the Cinemateca. Lastly, my friendship with Paulo Emílio’s stepson, Gofredo da Silva Telles Neto, made it possible for me to visit his home and consequently to grow closer to the Cinemateca Brasileira.
DB & NDC: The film was shot on 35mm. What were the conditions it was made in? What about the crew and equipment?

AF: I don’t have a strong memory of making the film, far from it, but I remember that teaming up with the young cinematographer Pedro Farkas was an essential move, because he had access to all of the equipment of his father’s production company. His father was entrepreneur, producer and photographer Thomaz Farkas. Obviously, the film was made possible by the willing collaboration of the crew, as we didn’t have any financial support. However, in post-production I received support from Aluísio Leite, a producer from Rio who had ties to the Cinemateca do MAM. I vaguely remember that his help during post-production was what made it possible for us to complete the film.

DB & NDC: Does the way you perceive and make films reflect your ties to the Cinemateca Brasileira and audiovisual preservation? In what ways has your experiences with the institution shaped your career?

AF: If not for the possibility of watching the classics at the Cinemateca, my formation would certainly have been weaker and that would reflect in my work. Having said that, my ties to the Cinemateca were less important than the possibility of hanging out with Professor Paulo Emilio, whose leadership and militancy in favor of Brazilian cinema have marked my career, as well as those of many colleagues of mine.

DB & NDC: Film technology has changed a lot since Nitrato was made, especially in terms of production, distribution, exhibition and access. Do you think that has had any impact on how the film community relates to audiovisual archives and film heritage? What are your thoughts on the relationship between current filmmakers to the Cinemateca Brasileira?

AF: The banalization of images via the proliferation of technology has desacralized audiovisual media. I’m not positive about the relationship between new filmmakers and the Cinemateca. But I believe that even though they must be interested in it, since it’s so easy now to find films on various platforms, the Cinemateca has lost some of its central importance.

DB & NDC: In the 1970s, you were a volunteer at the Cinemateca Brasileira, supervised by Lucila Bernardet, a key figure in the history of that institution and audiovisual preservation as a whole who hasn’t been as notorious lately as she deserves. What are your impressions of her and of that time?

AF: I can’t evaluate how important Lucila Bernardet was to the Cinemateca. Back then, she seemed to me as the on-call volunteer, at a time after the institution had already been implemented and grown, but was decadent and “abandoned” by its founders. She’d play soccer with us, the young ones. After I got in I brought some other classmates to help there. It’s also important to mention Mr. Aluísio, who talks in the film about one of the fires as he peels cane. He worked at the city hall, he was from the Northeast, and he had been sent to work at the central building of the Cinemateca. He’d named every rat and every drip spot in there. He knew exactly what size a can or pan had to be in order to contain the rainwater.

DB & NDC: Back then you also had a small mimeographed magazine called Cinemateca. What was it about?

AF: When I began working at the Cinemateca Brasileira, I was passionate about helping the institution. I didn’t possess the technical skills to do anything significant to help in preserving the archive, so I made an effort to distribute the available film copies whose originals didn’t have conservation problems to film clubs and student events. Then came the idea to create the magazine, Cinemateca. I probably have some copies of this magazine somewhere in my personal archives. If I’m not mistaken, the magazine was about Brazilian cinema, about contemporary subjects, deep analyses, and the hardships faced by the Cinemateca. As I recall it had a complicated, militant writing style. It would be interesting to take a new look at it today.

DB & NDC: Watching Nitrato now, we have conflicting feelings: we see that a lot has changed, but the current situation of the Cinemateca Brasileira makes us think that preservation in Brazil has structural problems which always come back to haunt us. What would you say is the solution to the current crisis at the Cinemateca? How can we make sure public preservation institutions are no longer subjected to changes in government but instead operate under an effective state policy?

AF: Sadly, what Paulo Emilio said regarding the Brazilian elite’s misunderstanding of cultural issues is still true to this day. Things improved, but management contracts and social organizations are deformities of administrations who don’t think public servants are able to do their work properly. There’s a mystification of “creative economy” which makes public spending on structuring activities be devalued and seen as an expense instead of an investment. I hope technological advancements make preservation cheaper, but the situation is so serious that there’s barely any equipment left in the country to digitize the films in our archive.

DB & NDC: Do you think members of the film community today and society as a whole understand the importance of the Cinemateca?

AF: I believe that the voracity of images which come from private and public television help professionals of the audiovisual sector easily understand the need for archive preservation and consequently for the Cinemateca.

DB & NDC: Paulo Emílio Sales Gomes ends up taking a lead role in your film, along the Cinemateca Brasileira itself. Why do you think he is still such an important figure?

AF: Because the central issue formulated so clearly by him and his generation still hasn’t been resolved. That is, to make Brazilian cinema go from an intruder in its own market to the protagonist of its territory.

DB & NDC: Nitrato seems like a metaphor for the history of Brazilian cinema, as we only have access to fragments, from which we try to put together the whole picture. Audiovisual preservation institutions exist to make such gaps shorter, and their work is essential even to make it possible for us to watch a film like Nitrato 46 years after it was made. Regarding your other films, where are their originals and exhibition copies stored?

AF: It’s true, I was surprised when I watched it 30 years after making it. It deals with materials with such freedom which allows for a discourse that is simultaneously precise and full of suggestion. My other films are in the Cinemateca, which worries me constantly.

DB & NDC: Filmmaking in contemporary Brazil is challenging. How have you found your own success?

AF: Filmmaking in Brazil has always been challenging. I’ve made seven feature films in a career spanning fifty years. During that same time, in France or the United States, I’d have made 15 or 20 feature films. I’m currently working on a comedy film. I’m writing a screenplay, doing research for another one, and I have a documentary waiting to be launched. I want to conclude, without meaning to compare myself, by quoting Paulo Emilio once again. Referring to Glauber Rocha, he said: “Glauber’s limit is Brazil.” Wasting talents is a feature of underdevelopment.

1. Escola de Comunicações e Artes da Universidade de São Paulo (ECA-USP).

2. Paulo Emilio Salles Gomes (1916-1977) was one of the most influential film scholars in Brazil, one of the founders of the Cinemateca Brasileira, a film professor, a film critic, a prolific writer and researcher of Brazilian cinema history. You can check out a book of his texts in English, here.
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This past September, the staff of Limite had the opportunity to conduct an interview with the Workers of the Cinemateca Brasileira (Trabalhadores da Cinemateca Brasileira), the collective representing the archivists and staff of Brazil’s largest film archive, who have been fighting for nearly an entire year for the survival of this vital institution. Our goal with this interview was to hear about the numerous issues facing the Cinemateca Brasileira and the field of audiovisual preservation in Brazil directly from workers of the archive themselves.

In honor of World Audiovisual Heritage Day, we present an interview with some of the bravest archive workers in the world today.
Limite: How have you perceived the reaction to the crisis of the Cinemateca Brasileira from the international film community? What do we need to know right now to stay up to date with what is happening at the Cinemateca Brasileira?

Trabalhadores da Cinemateca Brasileira: Firstly, we want to thank everyone who contributed to our crowdfunding campaign and everyone who has been spreading the news about the crisis of the Cinemateca Brasileira. This response from global communities motivated the Cinemateca workers’ collective to write about what was happening at the CB on social media. The Cinemateca’s technical staff is a group of people with different opinions and different employment relationships — in addition to the forty-one workers who were formally on strike, there were eleven service providers — so the feedback we got was important as it emphasized the problem of unpaid wages and the value of the technical work that we provide for the institution. This work itself is a result of public investments, of years of development of methodologies and workflow, therefore it is also a valuable asset for the institution. Right now, our demands have to be made to the Special Secretariat of Culture and the National Audiovisual Secretariat so they can come up with a solution for the crisis the Cinemateca Brasileira faces. However, this solution must account for the current technical staff, the outsourced workers and present a plan as to how the institution can hire and train new workers.

The government’s emergency solution to the crisis was to hire security and firefighter staff. However, at the moment there are no technical staff at the institution, and most of the outsourced workers did not have their contracts renewed. This situation is worrisome. Power outages have happened in that region of the city,1 and the vaults need constant monitoring by technical staff to ensure that the collection is properly preserved. Without these necessary maintenance, the archive is vulnerable to numerous mishaps.
L: The Cinemateca Brasileira has been through several crises in the past. Would you say that the current situation has been the most harmful to the institution in its history?

TCB: Yes. For the first time in its 70-year history, there are no technical staff working at the Cinemateca and there is no guarantee that the archive will continue its operations. What has never been more explicit is the negligence of public authorities, and their unwillingness to take action to solve the problems the institution is facing.

For the first time in its 70-year history, there are no technical staff working at the Cinemateca and there is no guarantee that the archive will continue its operations.
L: The crisis at the Cinemateca Brasileira did not happen overnight, as there have been several slow changes that have begun to impact the institution in recent years. Can you discuss some of the ways that working conditions have changed since the beginning of the Bolsonaro administration?

TCB: Generally speaking, the working conditions at the Cinemateca Brasileira reflect the same mistreatment dispensed by the federal government towards every institution that operates within the cultural sector. At the very beginning of their term, the Bolsonaro administration extinguished the Ministry of Culture, under which the Cinemateca was directly subordinate since being incorporated into the federal government.2 All activities previously linked to the Ministry of Culture were transferred via the Special Secretariat of Culture to the Ministry of Citizenship.

In November 2019, after three consecutive secretaries of culture had vacated their position, the control over the Cinemateca was set to be transferred to the Ministry of Tourism, but this only ended up occurring in June 2020. Among past secretaries of culture, theater director Roberto Alvim was replaced after quoting a speech of Nazi politician Joseph Goebbels, while actress Regina Duarte posted a video on social media after leaving the position where she claimed she was going to be named the next head of the Cinemateca Brasileira, which did not happen. This panorama of the Secretariat of Culture illustrates the uncertainty with which cultural policies have been dealt with by the Bolsonaro administration, and as a result of these policies, the Cinemateca has obviously been negatively affected.

The federal government is made up of functionaries with numerous ideological biases, such as those clearly displayed by ex-minister of education Abraham Weintraub. Weintraub decided unilaterally, in 2019, not to renew the contract with the social organization that managed the Cinemateca Brasileira, Acerp, leaving its employees unsure if work at the institution would continue. It was only in June 2020, following two months without salary, once the workers began protesting, and after actress Regina Duarte appointed herself for “a gig at the Cinemateca”, that the government began to take action regarding the management of the institution. This means that from January (when the contract with Acerp had already been terminated) to June the federal government did nothing, either institutionally or financially, about the management of the Cinemateca.

L:  Are there any expectations among you that there will soon be action by the government towards resolving this crisis?

TCB: In February 2020, a flood damaged part of the archive in one of the Cinemateca Brasileira’s facilities. This damage was dealt with by the workers who were hired by Acerp and outsourced. The government didn’t take any action nor send financial support. Without Acerp and the workers who carried on with their functions at the Cinemateca in 2020, the archive would literally still be in the mud.

The lack of governmental support, the unpaid salaries, the lay-offs, and our need to find new means of survival during a pandemic has been very demotivating to us. But we are trying to continue fighting for a solution to the crisis because the Cinemateca Brasileira preserves the priceless heritage of the Brazilian people. It cannot be lost in the same manner that the Museu Nacional was.3 What happened to the Museu Nacional should serve as a warning to the government of what can occur if they neglect the maintenance of their archives.

While the political situation is unfavorable, there are politicians who care for our cause. The federal government has begun to show that they are trying to understand the needs of the Cinemateca Brasileira since we handed over the keys to them during their visit to the institution on August 7th. Because of that, we hope that we can help the institution transition to new workers (in the event that new workers are hired). There are many good reasons for those in charge to bring back all of the laid-off employees. The Cinemateca Brasileira will not be able to fulfill its mission as a safeguard of national heritage without the specialized staff whose technical knowledge was specifically developed while working there. It is because these workers have spent so many years developing this knowledge that they have become vital to the institution’s operations. In order to keep the archive safe from even further damage than what it already has endured this past year, the government must be open to a solution that takes the current staff into account so that we can instruct the incoming staff properly, which wasn’t possible due to the political and administrative chaos that had been taking place over the past months.

L: Before the interruption of work at the Cinemateca Brasileira, what were some of the upcoming activities and projects that were slated to take place at the archive?

TCB: Part of the staff had been working on projects from the previous year. People can learn more about the projects we were working on prior to the work stoppage by checking out the official ACERP management report. When the pandemic arrived, it brought that as well as the work we were doing to recover archival materials from the February 2020 flood to a halt. With our technical staff cut short, everyday tasks quickly became challenging. As of today, all technical analysis of films, the management of the archives, the incorporation and analysis of legal deposit materials, the production of emergency duplicates, and the maintenance of materials hygiene has been halted. In addition, all of the requests to access our archives have been denied, which has led to the interruption of many important future projects.

The pandemic has changed our plans for this year. Even if it isn’t the direct cause of our financial crisis, it has made matters worse since it was and remains impossible to keep working without payment during this difficult time. During our strike, very few employees continued monitoring and maintaining the collections of the archive, and now even less are doing so. After the federal government took the keys of the Cinemateca Brasileira on August 7, 2020, the last employees of the institution left, as well as those linked to Acerp and the cleaning staff. The Acerp workers were fired, which made it impossible for even minimal monitoring and maintenance duties to be continued.

L: The Cinemateca Brasileira workers organized several public protests, campaigned for collective funding, put up banners around the city of São Paulo, and built a strong social media presence to spread awareness of its cause. Despite all these achievements, what have been your biggest challenges over the last few months? What are the ideals or beliefs that have kept workers united during this difficult period?

TCB: In addition to our unpaid salaries and unsure futures, the lack of transparency or communication from the government has presented a huge challenge for our protest. During the period when our protests began, we were following the decisions and political moves of Acerp and the government the same way as everyone else: through the press. But we remained united in support of one another then, and we continue to strive towards the resolution of the situation at the Cinemateca Brasileira as quickly as possible. Today, we are all contributing in whatever way we can, either through taking action virtually, taking part in the protests in person, or both.
we continue to strive towards the resolution of the situation at the Cinemateca Brasileira as quickly as possible. Today, we are all contributing in whatever way we can, either through taking action virtually, taking part in the protests in person, or both.

L: How has the Brazilian film community stood up to the injustices the Cinemateca Brasileira and its workers have endured? And why should all filmmakers be concerned about the future of the Cinemateca Brasileira?

TCB: Audiovisual-related institutions, associations, and movements which support our cause, such as SOS Cinemateca and Cinemateca Acesa, are important as they have helped to spread the word about the emergency situation the Cinemateca and its workers face. Not only are these people helping to alert more people to the cause, but they are also contacting politicians who might help us find a solution to the crisis. It is important that filmmakers follow and support the Cinemateca, whose infrastructure and technical staff not only keep the matrix of their own works safe, but also preserves and exhibits the whole of Brazilian audiovisual productions of the last 120 years, thus providing access and reference for new productions.

L: Can you talk about the importance of institutions like the Cinemateca in the rediscovery and reevaluation of Brazil’s history? And how do you see providing access to Brazilian history as playing an important role within the contemporary moment?

TCB: Institutions of cultural memory like the Cinemateca Brasileira have to keep up and exhibit their collections so that the public can access the institution’s historical materials. New generations build upon their worldviews by encountering these histories, and these new perspectives become the defining features of a nation. Audiovisual productions are a vital part of that process, and they say a lot about the period in which they were made. We can learn from the cinematic techniques being used, the way language is spoken, and develop new ideas about representation from what has or hasn’t been shown. These elements provide context to our history and allow us in the 21st century to ask questions and introduce new subjects from what we have acquired over our 120+ years of audiovisual production. We can, for instance, understand what has remained and what has changed in our society’s perception of human behavior and fundamental rights.

Brazil has little interest in its own past. We know this because public policies for material and immaterial historical heritage, when they exist, are always susceptible to the interests of the current government. The Cinemateca Brasileira is the victim of operational discontinuities which are not rare among government-funded Brazilian cultural institutions, but now more than ever these discontinuities reveal the lack of public policies for audiovisual preservation. It is important that the population has quality public education and access to information and cultural manifestations, as these are fundamental towards the development of Brazilian society. This cannot or should not be seen as threatening to any government in a democracy.
It is important that the population has quality public education and access to information and cultural manifestations, as these are fundamental towards the development of Brazilian society. This cannot or should not be seen as threatening to any government in a democracy.

L: The Cinemateca Brasileira workers’ movement has made it clear that the preservation of films does not come about through the isolated work of a few individuals, but rather that a whole range of specialized workers is needed to adequately safeguard Brazilian audiovisual history. How does the government’s neglect of the Cinemateca affect the teams of collaborators who ultimately make the preservation of films possible?

TCB: The governmental negligence has affected us in many ways. As previously mentioned, the staff has been without salary for months and all of us, even a lot of the outsourced workers, have been fired. First the pandemic affected many of our long-standing projects, as many on-site activities had to be halted; then the outsourced workers started to retreat due to the lack of payment from the companies that they work for, although some companies even kept working at the Cinemateca despite not getting paid.

Many of our staff have been part of the institution for many years, so when they are away from their work, the very society that invested in their technical skills loses out. As we mentioned before, one can only obtain this kind of knowledge and technique through years of practice, and to lose these workers means to waste years of work and public investment. If skilled workers are abruptly forced to leave the institution, everything has to start again from scratch. This means irreversible damage to the audiovisual heritage, damage to our intellectual and scientific production, damage to our history and damage to the role of our nation in the world.

L: To preserve films is to combat the natural process of film decay. To preserve the more than 250,000 rolls of films that the Cinemateca Brasileira has, a great professional team is needed. How did the government's carelessness in paying worker’s salaries and maintaining the Cinemateca Brasileira put the entire collection at risk? And what are the specific risks that this collection runs during this moment?

AF: It is a tremendous work to fight the physical and chemical degradation of film material, and audiovisual preservation is a preventive measure that must remain ongoing. From learning how to delay film degradation, analyzing and separating material in an advanced degradative state, to making new matrices in order to avoid the loss of highly-deteriorated material, the work at an audiovisual archive has to be done by highly qualified professionals. Another vital part of the preservation process is to maintain temperature conditions that are favorable to preservation of the various kinds of material contained in the Cinemateca Brasileira archive. Such conditions are achieved with air-conditioning and dehumidifying devices and these devices are controlled to match the specific conditions of each type of material. Lastly, since a portion of our content is highly flammable, the role of firefighters is fundamental to the Cinemateca Brasileira because they help us avoid the spread of a fire.  

The lack of qualified workers in the Cinemateca Brasileira leaves all of the archival materials subject to natural degradation. It is important to highlight that the federal government has not offered any financial support to the Cinemateca during the first six months of 2020. So, the technical staff, the firefighters, the workers who maintain the air-conditioning devices and those who deal with the acquisitions of new material have all been affected. In addition, the strategic work done by the coordinators and directors of the Cinemateca who are responsible for implementing and executing the institution’s preservation and diffusion policies has been affected as well. Not to mention the cleaning and security teams who serve important roles in helping the institution function, as well as those who work in the library, the document collection center, they maintain the online Brazilian film database, the three screening rooms, and digital and video materials, which also need to be preserved under specific conditions.

The Cinemateca staff, civil society, and municipal and state agencies have been working to minimize the impact of the lack of federal support, keeping the temperature devices working as well as providing security and other occasional needs of the archive. Obviously, such individual actions can only accomplish so much given the lack of financial support.

It is no exaggeration to say the collection is at risk. The risk, on one hand, is urgent, as the collection poses a real fire risk if it is not maintained, but on the other hand there is a long term risk in the fact that the audio-visual materials at the Cinemateca Brasileira will degrade naturally if they aren’t given due attention and care by qualified workers. All the work has been totally interrupted with Acerp stepping out and the dismissal of all the workers.

Trabalhadores da Cinemateca Brasileira
01 de setembro de 2020.

1. The Cinemateca Brasileira is located at Vila Clementino, SãoPaulo

2. The Cinemateca Brasileira was part of the Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC) in 1984, and since 1985 it has been part of the Ministry of Culture (MinC).

3. On September 2nd, 2018, there was a large fire at the National Museum of Brazil. It is believed that 92.5% of its archive of 20 million items were destroyed.
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Em setembro, a equipe do Limite teve a oportunidade de entrevistar os Trabalhadores da Cinemateca Brasileira, o coletivo que representa a equipe do maior acervo cinematográfico do Brasil, que está lutando há quase um ano inteiro pela sobrevivência desta instituição vital. Com essa entrevista, pudemos nos inteirar, pelos próprios funcionários, dos vários problemas que a Cinemateca e os profissionais da preservação audiovisual enfrentam no Brasil.

Em homenagem ao Dia Internacional do Patrimônio Audiovisual, apresentamos esta entrevista com alguns dos mais bravos arquivistas do mundo atualmente.
Limite: Qual tem sido a reação da comunidade cinematográfica internacional à crise da Cinemateca Brasileira? E o que podemos fazer para nos mantermos em dia sobre a situação?

Trabalhadores da Cinemateca Brasileira: Primeiramente, um agradecimento a todos que contribuíram com a campanha de arrecadação online e que vêm repercutindo a causa da Cinemateca Brasileira. Esse retorno da sociedade motivou, e vem motivando, o coletivo de trabalhadores da Cinemateca a relatar essa situação nas redes sociais. Mesmo com um corpo técnico com opiniões e vínculos diversos - além dos 41 celetistas que formalmente estiveram em greve, existem também os 11 prestadores de serviços - o retorno que tivemos foi importante, pois elevou a questão não só dos salários atrasados, mas do valor dos trabalhos técnicos realizados na instituição. Trabalhos que, aliás, advêm de investimentos públicos, e por isso compõem um dos patrimônios da própria Cinemateca Brasileira a serem preservados em qualquer solução de continuidade. Neste momento, a cobrança tem que ser feita junto à Secretaria Especial da Cultura e à Secretaria Nacional do Audiovisual para que eles encaminhem uma solução para a Cinemateca Brasileira. E que esta solução não seja meramente formal: que considere a atual equipe técnica e profissionais terceirizados e a sua ampliação.

Na ótica do governo, eles teriam feito a saída emergencial ao contratarem os serviços de segurança e brigadista. No entanto, não existe equipe técnica na instituição e boa parte dos profissionais terceirizados que trabalhavam lá também não foram chamados para esses novos contratos. A situação é bem preocupante porque sabemos dos problemas de queda de energia na região,1 e da necessidade de monitoramento dos acervos. Sem equipe técnica suficiente para realizar essas funções, o acervo encontra-se vulnerável. Afora a ausência de uma transição da atual equipe para uma próxima.
L: A Cinemateca Brasileira já passou por várias crises no passado. Vocês diriam que a crise atual é a mais significativa da história da instituição?

TCB: Sim. Pela primeira vez, em sua septuagenária história,não há equipe técnica trabalhando no local, não há qualquer garantia decontinuidade. O que fica cada vez mais patente é o descaso do poder público e afalta de atitude para solucionar os problemas enfrentados pela instituição.

Pela primeira vez, em sua septuagenária história, não há equipe técnica trabalhando no local, não há qualquer garantia de continuidade.
L: A crise na Cinemateca Brasileira não aconteceu da noite pro dia. Houve várias e lentas mudanças que foram comprometendo a instituição ao longo dos últimos anos. De que forma as condições de trabalho mudaram desde o início do governo Bolsonaro?

TCB: De maneira geral, as condições de trabalho na Cinemateca Brasileira seguiram o padrão do tratamento geral do governo em relação ao setor cultural. O início do governo marcou a extinção do Ministério da Cultura, ao qual a Cinemateca estava diretamente subordinada desde sua incorporação ao governo federal.2 As atividades anteriormente vinculadas ao Ministério da Cultura foram transferidas, através de uma Secretaria Especial de Cultura, para o Ministério da Cidadania.

Em novembro de 2019, após a queda do terceiro nome a comandar a secretaria, foi determinada sua transferência para o Ministério do Turismo. Essa transferência só foi concluída em junho de 2020. Entre os nomes que comandaram a pasta tivemos o diretor de teatro Ricardo Alvim, afastado após reproduzir um discurso do político nazista Joseph Goebbels, e a atriz Regina Duarte, que, ao ser desligada, publicou um vídeo no qual informava que assumiria a Cinemateca Brasileira, o que não se concretizou. Esse panorama sobre a Secretaria de Cultura demonstra o clima de indefinição que norteia as políticas culturais do país, o que, obviamente, também afetou a Cinemateca.

Há nas estruturas do governo federal vieses ideológicos, como o representado pelo já demitido ex-ministro da educação Abraham Weintraub. Partiu dele, a rescisão unilateral com a Organização Social que geria a Cinemateca Brasileira, Acerp, ainda no ano de 2019, deixando definitivamente os funcionários em condição de incerteza acerca da manutenção dos trabalhos da instituição.

Somente em junho de 2020, após dois meses sem salários, o início das movimentações dos trabalhadores e da auto-indicação da atriz Regina Duarte para "fazer Cinemateca", o governo começou a apontar providências para a gestão da instituição. Ou seja: entre janeiro (quando o contrato com a Organização Social já havia sido rompido) e junho, o governo não realizou nenhum movimento, seja institucional, seja financeiro, visando a gestão da Cinemateca.

L:  Há alguma expectativa entre vocês de que em breve haja progresso por parte do governo na solução dessa crise?

TCB: Em fevereiro de 2020, uma enchente prejudicou parte do acervo de uma das sedes da Cinemateca Brasileira. O trabalho de recuperação dos danos desse patrimônio foi feito pelos funcionários contratados pela organização social. O governo federal não realizou qualquer intervenção ou aporte financeiro. Sem a presença da Acerp e principalmente dos funcionários, que continuaram executando suas tarefas na Cinemateca durante o ano de 2020, esse patrimônio continuaria, literalmente, na lama.

A falta de apoio do governo, a falta de pagamentos, as demissões e a necessidade de pensar em nossa sobrevivência durante a pandemia, tudo isso acaba nos desmotivando. Mas tentamos continuar batalhando para que a crise se resolva, porque a Cinemateca Brasileira é um patrimônio inestimável para o povo brasileiro; não pode se perder como o Museu Nacional, perda que inclusive deveria servir de alerta ao governo.

A situação política não está favorável, mas há parlamentares preocupados com a causa. Talvez seja possível uma solução de transição diante da compreensão maior por parte do governo federal em relação às necessidades da Cinemateca Brasileira, após a visita técnica durante todo o dia 07 de agosto, quando as chaves lhe foram entregues. Por isso, esperamos poder ajudar na transição dos novos funcionários da instituição (caso novos funcionários sejam contratados). Há muitos bons motivos para recontratar os funcionários demitidos. A Cinemateca Brasileira não poderá cumprir sua missão de guardiã do patrimônio nacional sem a equipe especializada cujo conhecimento técnico foi desenvolvido trabalhando lá. Como esses trabalhadores passaram tantos anos desenvolvendo esses conhecimentos, eles se tornaram fundamentais para o funcionamento da instituição.  Para que o acervo não sofra impactos mais desastrosos do que os já ocorridos neste ano de 2020, é essencial que o governo abra espaço para uma solução de transição que leve em conta essa equipe, para que ela passe os encaminhamentos para a nova gestão, o que não foi possível com o caos político e administrativo que se instalou em todos esses meses.

L: Antes da interrupção dos trabalhos, quais eram algumas dos próximos projetos e atividades que estavam programados na Cinemateca?

TCB: Uma parte da equipe estava envolvida em projetos que eram a continuidade do ano anterior. Os números podem ser vistos no relatório de gestão da Acerp 2019. Esse trabalho foi interrompido por causa da pandemia, assim como o trabalho de recuperação do acervo inundado na enchente de fevereiro de 2020. Contando com uma equipe técnica extremamente reduzida, realizar os trabalhos recorrentes já era um grande desafio. Análise técnica de materiais fílmicos, movimentação de acervo, incorporação e análise de materiais de depósito legal, duplicações emergenciais, higienização de materiais, entre outros, tudo isso também foi interrompido, além das diversas solicitações de terceiros para acesso aos materiais, que também não foram realizadas, travando diversos projetos.

A pandemia alterou os planos para este ano e, ainda que a crise financeira não estivesse relacionada a ela, fez a questão se intensificar, uma vez que não era possível continuar trabalhando sem recebimento de salário e sem haver uma perspectiva para tal recebimento. Alguns poucos funcionários continuaram com trabalhos mínimos de monitoramento e manutenção mesmo durante a greve. Após o governo federal tomar as chaves da Cinemateca Brasileira no dia 07 de agosto de 2020, os últimos funcionários da instituição saíram, os vinculados à Acerp e a equipe de limpeza. Os funcionários da Cinemateca ligados à Acerp foram demitidos, impossibilitando definitivamente até a continuação dos trabalhos mínimos de monitoramento e manutenção.

L: Os trabalhadores da Cinemateca Brasileira organizaram vários protestos públicos, fizeram uma campanha de financiamento coletivo, colocaram faixas pela cidade de São Paulo e arregimentaram importante apoio online. Apesar de todas essas conquistas, quais foram seus maiores desafios ao longo dos últimos meses? Que ideias ou crenças mantêm os trabalhadores unidos e fortes durante este período difícil?

TCB: Além da questão do não pagamento dos nossos salários e da insegurança em relação ao futuro, outro grande desafio foi a falta de transparência em relação à comunicação conosco, pois foi através da imprensa que acompanhamos as decisões e movimentações políticas da Acerp e do governo federal. Nos mantivemos unidos até aqui procurando minorar as situações individuais de cada um e tentando resolver a situação o mais rapidamente possível, com cada pessoa contribuindo da maneira que podia, fosse movimentando as ações virtuais, fosse presente nos atos ou nos dois.
Nos mantivemos unidos até aqui procurando minorar as situações individuais de cada um e tentando resolver a situação o mais rapidamente possível, com cada pessoa contribuindo da maneira que podia, fosse movimentando as ações virtuais, fosse presente nos atos ou nos dois.

L: De que forma a comunidade cinematográfica brasileira ajudou na pressão por mudanças? E por que é importante que todos os cineastas brasileiros se preocupem com a atual crise na Cinemateca Brasileira?

TCB: Instituições e associações ligadas ao audiovisual e movimentos formados em torno da causa como o SOS Cinemateca e o Cinemateca Acesa estão sendo importantes para a divulgação da situação de emergência vivenciada pela Cinemateca Brasileira e pelos trabalhadores, são pessoas que além de divulgar procuram acessar a esferas políticas que podem ajudar na resolução dessa crise. É importante que os cineastas estejam acompanhando e dando apoio, porque é a Cinemateca que tem a infraestrutura e equipe técnica que não só assegura a preservação das matrizes das obras audiovisuais produzidas por eles, como também garante a preservação e difusão de toda a produção audiovisual brasileira dos últimos 120 anos, proporcionando assim meios de acesso e referências para novas produções.

L: Podem discorrer sobre a importância de instituições como a Cinemateca na redescoberta e reavaliação do passado? Consideram que proporcionar acesso à história do Brasil é importante no momento atual?

TCB: As instituições de memória tem o papel de salvaguardar e difundir seu acervo para que nós possamos acessá-lo e produzir novas leituras de mundo, e para que a continuidade desse processo seja legada às próximas gerações. Esse movimento é, por si, um dos traços definidores de uma nação. A produção audiovisual é parte desse movimento, e diz muito sobre o período em que é produzida: a técnica utilizada, a linguagem, o que é mostrado e até o que não é. Estes são elementos que nos dão contextos históricos e nos permitem, neste século XXI, fazer questionamentos a partir da bagagem que adquirimos ao longo dos mais de 120 anos da nossa produção audiovisual. Por exemplo, compreender as permanências e mudanças, no que a nossa sociedade entende em termos comportamentais e conquistas de direitos.

O Brasil se interessa pouco por seu passado porque as políticas públicas para com o patrimônio histórico material e imaterial, quando existem, estão muito suscetíveis aos interesses do governo da vez. Nesse caso, a Cinemateca Brasileira é vítima de descontinuidades que não vêm de agora, mas que agora, mais do que nunca, expõe a ausência de uma política pública para a Preservação Audiovisual. É importante que a população esteja municiada com uma educação pública de qualidade, acesso à informação e às manifestações culturais produzidas por todo país, pois são direitos fundamentais para que a sociedade brasileira se desenvolva. Isso não pode, e nem deveria, ser visto como algo ameaçador a qualquer tipo de governo em uma democracia.
É importante que a população esteja municiada com uma educação pública de qualidade, acesso à informação e às manifestações culturais produzidas por todo país, pois são direitos fundamentais para que a sociedade brasileira se desenvolva. Isso não pode, e nem deveria, ser visto como algo ameaçador a qualquer tipo de governo em uma democracia.

L: O movimento dos trabalhadores da Cinemateca Brasileira deixou claro que a preservação de filmes não se dá pelo trabalho isolado de alguns indivíduos, mas é necessário toda uma gama de trabalhadores de diferentes áreas para salvaguardar adequadamente a história do audiovisual brasileiro. De que forma a negligência do governo em relação à Cinemateca Brasileira afeta esses grupos de colaboradores que, em última instância, possibilitam a preservação dos filmes?

TCB: A negligência afeta os trabalhadores em muitos aspectos. Do ponto de vista individual, a equipe ficou sem salários por meses e muitos encontram-se desempregados, mesmo entre as equipes terceirizadas, pois elas também tiveram muitas demissões. Do ponto de vista do trabalho coletivo, primeiro a pandemia afetou os trabalhos, exigindo a interrupção de muitos serviços presenciais e redução das equipes; depois, as equipes terceirizadas foram se retirando por causa da falta de pagamentos para as empresas e sobrecarregando poucos trabalhadores que continuavam indo na instituição mesmo sem receber os salários.

Muitos colaboradores estão na instituição há muitos anos. Afastá-los de seus trabalhos é uma perda para a sociedade que investiu em suas formações. Como já mencionamos anteriormente, esse tipo de conhecimento e técnica só são possíveis de obter na prática e com os anos, perder esses colaboradores é trabalho e investimento jogados fora, teria que se recomeçar do zero. E isso significaria danos irreversíveis ao patrimônio audiovisual, à nossa produção intelectual e científica, à nossa história e ao nosso papel enquanto nação perante o mundo.

L: Preservar filmes é combater o processo natural de decadência da película. Para preservar os mais de 250.000 rolos de filmes que a Cinemateca Brasileira possui é necessária uma grande equipe profissional. Como o descaso do governo em pagar seus salários e manter a Cinemateca Brasileira colocou em risco todo o acervo? E quais são os riscos que este acervo corre no momento?

AF: Dá um trabalho tremendo combater a degradação físico-química da película cinematográfica, e o trabalho de preservação audiovisual tem caráter preventivo e contínuo. Desde as formas de atrasar os efeitos dessa degradação, passando pela análise e separação dos materiais com degradação mais evidente (e que colocam outros materiais em risco) até a criação de novas matrizes para evitar a perda de materiais em vias de desaparecimento o trabalho de um acervo audiovisual é contínuo e bastante qualificado. Esse trabalho depende também de condições climáticas favoráveis a preservação destes e de diversos outros suportes que compõem o acervo da Cinemateca, condições estas obtidas com o auxílio de aparelhos de ar condicionado e desumidificadores, por exemplo, devidamente controlados para a especificidade de cada material. Por fim, ainda que todo o trabalho vise evitar qualquer tipo de acidente a presença de bombeiros é fundamental, dada a característica inflamável de parte do material e como forma de evitar que qualquer evento de autocombustão se torne um incêndio generalizado.

A ausência de mão de obra qualificada e das condições materiais para execução do trabalho deixam o acervo sob os efeitos dessa degradação natural. É importante salientar que o governo federal não fez aportes financeiros para a Cinemateca por, pelo menos, todo o primeiro semestre de 2020. Com isso, os técnicos, os bombeiros, a manutenção dos equipamentos climatizadores e a aquisição de material do trabalho diário ficam prejudicados. Também fica prejudicado o trabalho estratégico dos coordenadores e diretores da Cinemateca, responsáveis por instituir e executar as políticas de preservação e difusão da instituição. Da mesma forma, também ficam sem recursos os serviços de limpeza, segurança e todos aqueles relacionados com o funcionamento da instituição que também mantém uma biblioteca, acervo documental, um banco de dados sobre a Filmografia Brasileira com acesso online aberto, três espaços de exibição, entre outros serviços, além de também trabalhar com material digital e diversos formatos de vídeo, que também têm suas especificidades de preservação.

Iniciativas da equipe da Cinemateca, da sociedade civil e de entes estatais em nível municipal e estadual tentaram minorar os efeitos da ausência do governo federal, mantendo equipamentos de climatização em funcionamento, fornecendo segurança e realizando ações pontuais de cuidado com o acervo. Como fica evidente, essas iniciativas são limitadas pela falta de condições financeiras.

Não é exagero, portanto, apontar que o material está em risco, tanto em um sentido mais urgente, já que parte do acervo corre mesmo riscos de incêndio, quanto em um sentido mais sutil, mas não menos profundo: o risco de apagamento da memória audiovisual brasileira, que tem lugar nesse material que sofre sua degradação natural sem o acompanhamento e as atitudes preventivas que eram realizadas pela mão de obra qualificada. Trabalhos totalmente interrompidos com a retirada da Acerp e a consequente demissão de todos os funcionários.

Trabalhadores da Cinemateca Brasileira
01 de setembro de 2020.

1. A Cinemateca Brasileira fica na Vila Clementino, em São Paulo.

2. Em 1984, a instituição fazia parte do Ministério da Educação e Cultura (MEC) e, desde 1985, do Ministério da Cultura (MinC).

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Seu curta-metragem Nitrato tem sido bastante revisitado nos últimos anos, em mostras de cinema, festivais e agora no Limite. Além do frescor estético do filme, não podemos deixar de notar a absoluta contemporaneidade do tema abordado - a Cinemateca Brasileira - que atravessa uma grave crise. Guardadas as abissais diferenças de infraestrutura entre a época retratada no filme e o momento atual, continuamos afirmando o óbvio: a importância da existência de uma entidade como essa para garantirmos a preservação do nosso patrimônio audiovisual.

Multifacetado, o filme expressa ambiguidades e contradições entre a importância da Cinemateca, expressa pela riqueza de seu acervo, seu reconhecimento perante entidades internacionais e sua relação com o público; e o descaso reservado a ela, demonstrado pela precariedade de suas instalações, a ausência de respostas nas tentativas de diálogo com o poder público e a ocorrência de mais um incêndio em suas instalações.

Assim como na época do filme, a Cinemateca Brasileira se configura, além de ser o maior arquivo audiovisual do Brasil, como um importante espaço de difusão e acesso ao cinema brasileiro e mundial, com uma excelente programação em suas salas de exibição e a realização de mostras e festivais em sua sede. A difusão sempre um dos pólos agregadores de pessoas em torno de uma Cinemateca, tanto do público em geral quanto de estudantes e pesquisadores de cinema. O filme, inclusive, foi realizado em um período em que você próprio era estudante de cinema na Escola de Comunicações e Artes da USP.
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Débora Butruce and Natália de Castro: Como era a relação dos estudantes da ECA com a Cinemateca? Comosurgiu seu interesse pelo assunto?

Alain Fresnot: A Cinemateca era grande fornecedora de filmes para o curso de cinema. A presença do Paulo Emílio2 as duas instituições facilitava o contato e interesse. Como estudante, tendo um interesse em me profissionalizar como montador, o cinema soviético me interessava muito; Eisenstein, claro e os filmes vinham da cinemateca. Por último, minha amizade com Gofredo da Silva Telles, enteado do Paulo Emílio, me proporcionava frequentar a casa dele e consequentemente me aproximar da Cinemateca.
DB & NDC: O filme foi realizado em 35mm, quais foram ascondições de produção? E em relação à equipe e ao maquinário? Quais foram asbases de suas opções estéticas?

AF: Não sou pessoa com memória muito privilegiada, longe disto, mas lembro que a parceria com o jovem fotógrafo Pedro Farkas foi essencial, pois ele além de fotografo tinha todos os equipamentos da produtora do pai, o empresário, produtor e fotógrafo Thomaz Farkas. Obviamente o filme pode ser realizado graças à colaboração de equipe, pois não havia produção financeira nenhuma. Na sequência consegui o apoio do Aluísio Leite, produtor carioca, muito ligado a Cinemateca do Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro. Creio que a partir disto foi possível toda a finalização do filme, mas tudo isto sujeito a confirmação.

DB & NDC: Sua ligação com a Cinemateca Brasileira e a preservação audiovisual se reflete na sua forma de perceber e fazer cinema? De que forma essa experiência influenciou sua carreira?

AF: Não fosse a possibilidade de ver os clássicos que estavam na Cinemateca, certamente minha formação seria mais pobre e se refletiria no meu trabalho. Dito isto, minha ligação com a Cinemateca foi menos importante do que a possibilidade de conviver com o Professor Paulo Emílio, cuja liderança e militância em favor do cinema brasileiro marcaram minha carreira como a de muitos outros colegas.

DB & NDC: As tecnologias de cinema mudaram muito desde que o filme foi feito, tanto na produção quanto na distribuição, exibição e acesso. Você acha que essas questões impactaram a relação da comunidade cinematográfica com os arquivos audiovisuais e com o patrimônio cinematográfico? Como você avalia a atual relação dos cineastas e estudantes de cinema com a Cinemateca Brasileira?

AF: A banalização das imagens pela proliferação das tecnologias, dessacralizaram o audiovisual. Me lembro, quando na Cinemateca, se encontrávamos latas com sobras de um filme, era uma grande alegria. Depois de alguns anos, a Cinemateca já não aceitava as sobras de longas metragens, só as cópias finais. Não saberia dizer como as atuais cineastas e estudantes se relacionam com a Cinemateca, mas imagino que seja com interesse mas, dadas as facilidades de acessar os filmes em plataformas variadas, a Cinemateca perdeu um pouco de sua centralidade.

DB & NDC: Nos anos 1970, você foi voluntário da Cinemateca Brasileira, sob orientação de Lucila Bernardet, personagem importantíssima na trajetória da Cinemateca Brasileira e na preservação audiovisual no Brasil, que, no entanto, não tem tido visibilidade à altura de sua importância. Quais as impressões que você guarda dela e dessa época?

AF: Sou incapaz de avaliar a importância da Lucila Bernardet para a Cinemateca. Na época, ela me parecia a voluntária que estava de plantão, depois de uma primeira época de crescimento e implantação da instituição, mas já plenamente decadente e “abandonada” pelos fundadores. Jogava bola conosco, os jovens, pois depois de entrar, eu trouxe outros colegas para participar do esforço. Importante também lembrar a figura do Sr Aluísio, que dá um depoimento no filme a respeito de um dos incêndios enquanto descasca uma cana,. Ele era um funcionário da prefeitura, nordestino, cedido para presença no prédio central,  e que conhecia cada rato pelo nome e tinha batizado cada goteira, sabendo exatamente o tamanho da lata ou panela necessária para escorar a mesma durante as chuvas.

DB & NDC: Nessa época você também editava uma pequena revista mimeograda chamada Cinemateca. Do que tratava essa revista? Existem exemplares acessíveis?

AF: Sim, voluntarioso e sem condições de fazer nada efetivamente estruturante para a conservação do acervo, dedicamos um esforço em fazer circular as cópias disponíveis e sem problema de conservação de matriz, junto ao circuito de cineclubismo e de militância estudantil. Daí a idéia da revista, da qual devo ter alguns exemplares em meus arquivos. Se não me engano tratava das questões do Cinema Brasileiro, tanto na sua atualidade como nas análises de fundo e problemas da Cinemateca. A lembrança que tenho é de um texto empolado, rebuscado e militante. Valeria uma conferida.

DB & NDC: Ver Nitrato atualmente nos traz sentimentos contraditórios: ao mesmo tempo em que percebemos que muita coisa mudou, o trágico momento atual da Cinemateca Brasileira nos faz chegar à conclusão que a área de preservação no Brasil tem problemas estruturais, que sempre voltam para nos assombrar. Para você, qual é a saída para a crise que a Cinemateca Brasileira está atravessando? Como garantir que instituições públicas de patrimônio não estejam à mercê das flutuações de entradas e saídas de governantes e seja efetivamente uma política de Estado?

AF: Infelizmente a reflexão do Paulo Emílio quanto a indigência da elite brasileira em entender os problemas da cultura segue atual. Tivemos avanços, mas os “Contratos de Gestão”, as “O.S” são deformações para gestões públicas que desconfiam da capacidade de funcionários públicos realizarem corretamente suas funções.  Essa mistificação de “economia criativa” faz com que a necessidade de gastos públicos em atividades estruturantes seja desprestigiada e vista como gasto e não investimento. Espero que os avanços tecnológicos venham baratear a conservação, mas a situação é tão dramática, que quase não sobram no país equipamentos para telecinar nosso acervo.

DB & NDC: Consideramos um dos momentos mais marcantes do filme quando Paulo Emílio discorre sobre a Cinemateca e a importância da conscientização acerca do patrimônio audiovisual. Você acha que atualmente os membros da comunidade cinematográfica e a sociedade em geral entendem a necessidade da existência de uma Cinemateca?

AF: A voracidade de imagem das televisões privadas e públicas fazem com que o universo de profissionais do audiovisual entendam com facilidade a necessidade de conservação dos registros e consequentemente da Cinemateca. Quanto à sociedade em geral, as carências, diferenças de renda, de educação e de atendimento às necessidades básicas me fazem duvidar da pertinência do  conceito de “sociedade em geral”.

DB & NDC: Paulo Emílio Sales Gomes acaba sendo um coprotagonista do filme, junto com a própria Cinemateca Brasileira. Na sua opinião, por que ele continua sendo uma figura tão central?

AF: Porque a questão central que ele e a geração dele conseguiu formular de maneira clara não foi resolvida até hoje qual seja: transformar o Cinema Brasileiro de intruso em seu próprio mercado em protagonista no seu território.

DB & NDC: Nitrato parece uma metáfora para a história do cinema brasileiro, pois temos acesso apenas a fragmentos, através dos quais tentamos vislumbrar uma possível totalidade. Instituições de preservação audiovisual existem para diminuir e evitar essas lacunas, atuando na conservação dos materiais. Atividade primordial para que possamos, inclusive, acessar um filme como Nitrato, 46 anos depois de sua realização. No caso dos seus outros filmes, onde estão as matrizes e as cópias de exibição?

AF: De fato, o filme me surpreendeu ao revê-lo depois de 30 anos. Ele tem uma “liberdade” na utilização dos materiais que permite a elaboração de um discurso preciso e rico de sugestões ao mesmo tempo. Meus outros filmes estão na Cinemateca, o que é objeto de apreensão constante. A Cinemateca tem por política a manutenção das matrizes e de uma ou duas cópias. As distribuidoras tinham o costume de vender as cópias já usadas para fazer vassouras. Estamos falando das antigas cópias físicas, evidentemente.

DB & NDC: Fazer cinema no Brasil contemporâneo também tem sido um desafio. Como tem sido sua relação com o cinema atualmente?

AF: Fazer cinema no Brasil sempre foi um desafio. Tenho sete longas como diretor ao longo de 50 anos de carreira. Na França ou nos Estados Unidos, neste mesmo período teria 15 ou 20 filmes realizados. Atualmente tenho uma comédia em preparação, estou escrevendo um roteiro, pesquisando para outro e tenho um documentário pronto aguardando para ser lançado. Concluiria, sem querer me comparar, citando Paulo Emilio mais uma vez, quando, se referindo a Glauber Rocha, disse: “O limite para o Glauber é o Brasil”. É próprio do subdesenvolvimento o desperdiçar de seus talentos.

1. Escola de Comunicações e Artes da Universidade de São Paulo (ECA-USP).

2. Paulo Emilio Salles Gomes (1916-1977) was one of the most influential film scholars in Brazil, one of the founders of the Cinemateca Brasileira, a film professor, a film critic, a prolific writer and researcher of Brazilian cinema history. You can check out a book of his texts in English, here.
Photo by Giorgia Prates
Abolition: the Atlantic Cinema of Zózimo Bulbul
Questions by
Bernardo Oliveira
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September 1, 2020
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It should come as no surprise that in Brazil, as in most historically so-called “underdeveloped” countries, the question of cultural memory and access to history as dictated by the archive is far more precarious than one approaching the subject from the relative wealth of the United States or Europe. There are far more gaps, erasures, and interstices for pieces of Brazilian culture to fall into with a much higher frequency, which is a condition both of political determination and physical incapability. On this second factor, one need only be pointed to the fact that Atlântida Cinematográfica—the Brazilian film studio responsible for the majority of chanchada films—had to burn its nitrate prints from the golden era of the 40s and 50s after new safety film copies were made, for fear of the entire studio burning down due to the combination of nitrate film and tropical heat. Therefore, for a Brazilian archivist — or their counterpart on the side of production, the found footage filmmaker —the task of even taking the first steps toward the gathering of documents for their work is an arduous one sure to be met with many frustrations, barring a situation where one’s subject has an exceptionally well-kept estate.

Thus Brazilian cultural workers find their labor to be determined under the sign of fragmentation, and we find the most compelling work to be that which wears this mark as one of pride and uses its form to reflect its material inconsistencies. Carlos Adriano has worked with Brazil’s cinematic archives for over twenty years, creating films that both preserve and project the gaps and other forms of lack that he encounters when faced with the heretofore undocumented sections of Brazil’s past.
  1. Universal Exhibition or the World’s Fair were large events designed to showcase international achievements that were very important in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Terra Encantada was shot during the Independence Centenary International Exposition, held from 1922 to 1923 in Rio de Janeiro.
  2. Chanchada was the term given to the Brazilian popular musical comedies of the 1940s and 1950s by critics of the time. These critics considered these films to be simply bad copies of Hollywood features of the same genre. Atlântida was the most famous, but not the only, studio to produce chanchadas.
  3. I’m referring here to Christensen’s films Rei Pelé (1961), a biopic, and Cronica da Cidade Amada (1964), a widescreen film that can currently only be seen in a horribly cropped digital copy taken from a VHS tape.

Limite: Can you describe how you originally came upon the figure of Vassourinha? As a found-footage filmmaker, were you actively searching for a new topic to explore, or did Vassourinha come into your life in a more unexpected way?
Carlos Adriano: One can say that, until my feature documentary Santos Dumont: pré-cineasta? (2010), those of my films which deal with found footage or archive material share a common and essential mark: they are all about unknown, forgotten or lost subjects of Brazilian culture (and their remaining materials). For example: Remainiscences (1994-1997) is about the supposed first film footage of Brazil (registered in 1897); Militancy (2001-2002) is about the magic lantern by photographer Militão Augusto de Azevedo; Porviroscope (2004-2006) is about the only film made by writer Monteiro Lobato (as well as the only audio recording of his voice); From the Ruins to the Rexistance (2004-2007) is about the unfinished films by poet Décio Pignatari; Santoscope = Dumontage (2007-2009) is about a mutoscope film (1901) featuring Brazilian inventor and aviator Santos Dumont. So Vassourinha is a coherent subject, from a “retrospective” perspective. Personally, I was very fond of him as an original singer, one who takes part in a “low-key” tradition which includes Orlando Silva (in his first phase), Mário Reis, Roberto Silva and João Gilberto. This tradition would commonly feature a kind of singing close to the spoken words, a “canto falado” ("spoken song"). I had Vassourinha’s record long before the idea of making the film. In a way, the film is a sort of fan’s tribute. Besides, the tragedy of Vassourinha’s life—that of dying at the young age of 19 from a rare disease—is a matter relating to another axis of my film work (mortality, death, and life). Also, the extreme rarity of the subject—an artist about whom very little information and documentation was left—was an interest as well. Vassourinha came into my life as unexpectedly as all good fortunes, by a loving chance.
L: Upon learning more about Vassourinha, and deciding to make a film about him, how did you begin the process of putting together the immense number of photographs, sounds, newspaper clippings, music sheets and even financial records that can be found within A Voz e o Vazio: A Vez de Vassourinha? Were these records presented to you within a single archive or did you undergo a long research process throughout numerous places to track this material down? Take us through what this collection process was like.
CA: The great starting point is encapsulated in the loop I edited from the two words of the Emília song at the beginning of the film: “Ninguém sabe, ninguém sabe, ninguém sabe…” (“Nobody knows…”). I started with almost nothing, only a few clips and clues. After an extensive (and intense) inquiry—somewhere between archaeology and detective work—I and Bernardo Vorobow (co-producer and my life long companion)1 conducted research across every possible source, until we got two personal albums of news clippings gathered by Vassourinha himself. One of them was given to me generously by Alberto Helena Junior, a big fan and high scholar of Vassourinha; the other album I got from what remained of the singer’s family: a foster brother. All six 78 rpm records recorded by Vassourinha which were used in the film for shooting and recording (all sound in the film came from those discs) belong to the Miécio Caffé private collection.2 The Miécio Caffé collection was at that time deposited at Museu da Imagem e do Som (São Paulo). I was fortunate to meet Raul Duarte in person, the radio producer/director who hired Vassourinha to sing for Radio Record, and to talk to a doctor who treated Vassourinha during his last hospitalization. The very path of the research process dictated the film’s structure: a huge amount of information about someone whom people knew almost nothing about. Shards, specters, remains – the matter life is composed of. The collection process is, in a way, metaphorized in the end sequence at the cemetery: the search for his grave was like the search for his life-work information.
L: When watching A Voz e o Vazio: A Vez de Vassourinha, one gets the sense that they are witnessing the re-birth of a defining Samba figure of the 20th century. However, it is not one, two, or three historical documents that contribute to this feeling, but the hundreds that are sutured together through a dialectical montage of both sound and image which brings forth the presence and rhythm of Samba, life, death, mortality, and memory. It is important to note that in the film, many of these documents do not even appear on the screen for a long enough period of time for the viewer to fully read them.

The materiality of the record and its presence reigns supreme in Vassourinha. You never make fact-claims about who he was, what he wanted, or what he did, but you let these historical materials do the talking themselves. How does this speak to your larger philosophy on archival materials, and how does the cinematic medium afford you the tools to activate said material?
CA: I think that this sense of witnessing a “re-birth” or a “re-defining” of a forgotten icon is natural, as one of the film’s purposes is to make Vassourinha alive again, “simply” as it is. As the film is a gesture of love (a labor of life, a labor of love), this feeling comes forward from the screen and toward the face of the viewer/listener. Maybe it is not so accurate to say that Vassourinha is unknown, because during his time he was very famous. He fell into oblivion afterwards, after his death, aftermath. In Portuguese, the word "olvido" (oblivion) is akin to "ouvido" (ear), and this is a password I tried to work formally, as a way of aesthetic operation: representing the limits between forgetfulness and the rescuing of this forgetfulness through the act of hearing this artist's voice. But his voice fell into a void; so I felt that my “mission” (in terms of my respect to this human being and his art) was to pay the highest tribute: to create a true dialogue. I was fortunate enough to be able to gather that huge amount of historical documentation about somebody who “nobody knew anything about”. The film works around the limits of legibility, the border between reading and understanding. And it was exactly this contradiction — the fact that there existed plenty of documents about an elusive figure — which sutured together and fortified strength of the film. The fact that “these documents do not even appear on the screen for a long enough period of time for the viewer to fully read them” was an operational choice I made in order to “translate” the sign and the myth of Vassourinha. The best testimony I would be able to provide (besides the best and most sincere tribute to Vassourinha’s art) was to “let these historical materials do the talking themselves” – but articulated by proper tools of the cinematic medium, as far as its power to construct (and deconstruct) associations by the means of cinema’s supreme muse of montage (“editing” would be a word that does not give justice to the work itself). My humble task was of a [Walter] Benjaminian nature: to gather this bag of rags and suggest a coherent constellation.
"In Portuguese, the word “olvido” (oblivion) is akin to “ouvido” (ear), and this is a password I tried to work formally, as a way of aesthetic operation: representing the limits between forgetfulness and the rescuing of this forgetfulness through the act of hearing this artist’s voice"
L: Of the five films you have made which deal with forgotten cultural histories of Brazil,3 this is the only one that deals exclusively with a musician. How did the work of sifting through the archives of a sambista differ from those of your films which focus on cinematic history? Or is there a reoccurring methodology in your approach towards bringing archival materials into re-existence?
CA: I am not quite sure if there is any difference – from my point of view of the filmmaking-operation – between working upon an archive of a sambista and working upon the archive an artist of a different medium (literature, photography, caricature). Because film is “mine”, my operational mode of work; when I work on an artist’s oeuvre, I try to understand and translate their bare essentials to my vocabulary (my personal film language), to be in tune to their artistic mood. As you can read in one of the news clips, Vassourinha performed “De Babado”, a song written by Noel Rosa and João Mina, and recorded by Noel Rosa e Marília Batista in 1936. This record appears in a sequence of Santoscope = Dumontage – and of course I bear in mind that connection. The first record album (33 rpm) released with all the six sambas recorded by Vassourinha in the late 60s had its cover designed by Miécio Caffé, a famous (but also fallen into oblivion) caricaturist and music collector and tons of Brazilians singers came to browse the private collection of old 78 rpm records of Miécio to research and study. To cite just two: Chico Buarque and João Gilberto — the legendary re-interpretations of Brazilian sambas by João Gilberto would not be possible without the collection of Miécio Caffé. In 2003, I made the film A Caffé with Miécio and for that film Caetano Veloso made a new recording of a lesser-known samba, “A Voz do Povo”, originally composed by Malfitano and Frasão and recorded by Orlando Silva in 1941. Veloso called the samba a manifesto for my cinema work. Yes, there is a reoccurring methodology in my approach towards bringing archival materials into re-existance, to quote the title of my film about Pignatari’s unfinished films – note that I imply a play between « existence » and « resistance », which configure a key pair into play.
L: The history of cultural archives in Brazil is filled with stories of loss, tragedy, and neglect. However, one could also view this story as an occasional tale of triumph, as the will of a few individuals succeeded in preserving Brazilian cultural memory up until this day. Their efforts have allowed us to glean new ideas from historical works of Brazilian art in our present moment.

As a found-footage filmmaker, many of your works deal with the forgotten cultural memories of Brazil’s past. Can you speak to how the history and past efforts of Brazilian cultural preservation has impacted your work? Why, in your mind, have such important figures such as Vassourinha been (previously) forgotten?
CA: There is a  trajectory of academic research in my life. I graduated from film school of Escola de Comunicações e Artes da USP – University of São Paulo (ECA-USP). I have my master degree and my PhD (2008) at the same USP, both advised by Prof. Ismail Xavier. Besides this, I did two Post Doctorals, one in the Arts (at Pontifical Catholic University – PUC-SP, 2014) supervised by Prof. Arlindo Machado, and one in Film (at USP, 2017) supervised by Prof. Cristian Borges. For my PhD and my Post-Doctoral at PUC-SP I had fellowships from Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP) and for my Post-Doctoral at USP I had a fellowship from CAPES. That long and boring CV quote is just meant to show how serious I take scholarly research and how, throughout my life, spheres of study and archiving informed my trajectory. I have also worked at the Cinemateca Brasileira from 1986 to 1999.                                                        

Perhaps I could reply to your first question with an example from a case study. My PhD research (which made the way for the production of two films about Santos Dumont) was based on an unknown object of the Santos Dumont Collection of Museu Paulista da USP (aka Museu do Ipiranga). It was an unidentified object in terms of year and origin of production, its technical nature, and even its attributed name was wrong and misleading – but it was there, in the archive. After taking a research path alike the one pursued in Vassourinha’s, I identified that it was a mutoscope hub, produced in 1901 by the British branch of American Mutoscope & Biograph Company, probably shot by William K.L. Dickson, and subsequently tracked its archival history. The last sentence of your question requires too large of an explanation, so I would hazard a risk of saying in short that I think Brazil historically has a consistent tradition of treating badly and worst its best sons and daughters, mainly in the realm of culture.
L: In Vassourinha, there are moments in which the soundtrack starts and stops, as if a 78 rpm record is skipping. This is often accompanied on the image track by a flicker effect. Knowing your affinities to other found footage filmmakers such as Ken Jacobs, how do you see this flicker effect operating in relation to its use in other global contexts, and is there something about the Brazilian archive, and the life of Vassourinha, that drove you to use said effect?
CA: I could only talk about my personal use of the flicker (which is, of course, rooted in a tradition of avant-garde film), a feature that I use a lot in my films. In Santoscope = Dumontage, the flicker is a structural-film device extracted from the mutoscope apparatus itself that hosted the original 1901 film about Santos Dumont which I worked on. In the case of Vassourinha, the flicker has a role a little bit analogous to the one I used in Remainiscences: in the sense of gaps, lapses, missing links, lost abysses, the void. But in Vassourinha there is a surplus: the flicker as an instance of consciousness, as a moment when the shutter quickly obliterates the image to make it resonate in time; so the flicker is a constituent element of the fabric tissue of Vassourinha's history (which has been torn to pieces), but it is also a device for understanding this history. There is even a formal rhyme with the condition of his Blackness, in the sense of what is concealed or erased. It is as if the flicker was a correspondent to Walter Benjamin's “dialectical image”, that brief and elusive moment when associations sparkle beyond historical time. I really like the Benjaminian notion of history, both as waste and ruins and as the viewpoint of the losers. Naturally, in a peripheral country like Brazil — which has always abused its institutions tasked with the preservation of its cultural memory, and which has a long and dark past of erasing and repressing its figures(rooted in its history with slavery) — the flicker reaches an profound allegorical power (and I use this term as Ismail Xavier so well defined it in his seminal book Allegories of Underdevelopment) in a way, far beyond the formal flicker wonders of Peter Kubelka, Ken Jacobs, Tony Conrad and others.
L: A Voz e o Vazio: A Vez de Vassourinha, in addition to being a work of art invested in the gesture of resurrection, also serves, even unprojected as a roll of celluloid, as a veritable repository of images and documentation relating to Vassourinha – an archive in itself. What do you make of this and how do you feel the historical material transforms when it passes from one medium to another?
CA: Definitely, Vassourinha film is an analog piece of art – it was thought and made as a 35mm film. And I treasure most the concept of “infinite film” by Hollis Frampton, in his meta-history essay, which I “translated” in my PhD thesis to the domain of found footage. My PhD piece has not been published as a book yet, but you can browse it at the University of São Paulo’s thesis database and I published an essay based on it in the journal Anais do Museu Paulista. I took all the documents of Vassourinha I could find and gathered them as “frames” of an infinity film – all materials are matter of film poetry. I regret that you are not able to screen the film in its original format of 35mm. I made some disruptive turns with the celluloid that are only fully accomplished in film form. The “resurrection” you mention is taken in (and made by means of) the celluloid itself. Besides the flickering, I used veils, those mysterious frames which are not properly exposed in the camera shutter. Except for the final sequence, shot on location in the set of the cemetery where Vassourinha is buried, the film was shot with an Oxberry animation machine. One of the highest praises of which I am most proud is about my style of editing: even when editing in a digital suite, my work is tributary to the moviola. In the sense of passing from the medium of history to the medium of film, I would say that the transformation occurs in the realm of poetry. I take the word here to mean poetics, the method of structure, a matter of form, a way of shaping materials and thoughts. And I would say that historians like Walter Benjamin, Aby Warburg and Hayden White have contributed to let the document free, to be reappropriated by the artists.
L: Important Brazilian Cinema historians such as Vicente de Paula Araújo (A Bela Época do Cinema Brasileiro, 1976), Alex Viany (Introdução ao Cinema Brasileiro, 1959), and Paulo Emilio Salles Gomes (Cinema: Trajetória no Subdesenvolvimento, written in the 60s, but first published in 1986) were forced to search for fragments of the past and to uncover footnotes of history in order to paint a picture of bygone cinematic eras for then-present and future generations. To what extent does a work such as Vassourinha follow within that trajectory of historical research, and how in your mind does it deviate from it?
CA: To work with fragments – with the remains, with the small details at the bottom of the page –  is an attitude professed by the École dos Annales and historians like Benjamin and Warburg. The film historians you mentioned worked from a peripheral point of view, where issues of underdevelopment were very present in Brazil, and they were informed by the delayed experience of modernity in Brazil. They definitely conjured up a key body of work and provided references for anybody else interested in the adventure of investigating the Brazilian film past. I think Vassourinha is part of this tradition you mentioned in the sense of a deep research on profoundly national roots, as if the issue of national identity was a crucial and defining issue, and a kind of adhesion to popular subjects in the way defended by Brazilian Modernism (Mário de Andrade, Oswald de Andrade). The elements from popular culture were taken as a password for a revelation of Brazil to Brazilians themselves. As far as Paula Araújo is concerned, my research method is somewhat like his, sharing the deep dive into the primary sources of reference materials. As far as Paulo Emílio is concerned, my mind operates within the same framework as his: a sort of sociological inquiry about the human fact. I think that Vassourinha deviates from this tradition insofar as it radically assumes a notion of a poetic metahistory, in the sense that it is not obliged to clarify nor conclude anything as far as a national project is defined in terms of teleology and a big synthesis. I treasure the gaps, the lapses, the mysterious inconclusiveness; the serious research does not serve to any sort of “redemption” of our pride – the works and the artists compose a moving (in-motion; emotional) constellation.
L: In your essay “Found Footage and Magnetization of Affection” you bring forth from Hollis Frampton’s concept of “Infinite Cinema” the ideal of an “Infinite Archive”. The concept stems from cinema’s relationship to the digital age, and the endless ability to “digitally recycle cinema’s beginnings”. Elsewhere, referring to Aby Warburg and Georges Didi-Huberman’s notion of the Leitfossil, you claim that “In my wonder-room, there is no such thing as a dead archive; just living archives, asleep in their forms”.

Both the notion of an “Infinite Archive” and the denial of a dead archive seem to disregard, at first glance, the seemingly finite state of archiving that has approached Brazil’s institutions for decades now. However, at a second glance, one might realize that you’re not denying the reality that there are ends within the archive, but you’re expanding on the ways in which those ends can be used within the digital age – The footage can be reproduced infinitively in an array of shapes, forms, and expressions.

Can you comment on this interpretation of your ideas? And how can the notion of “Infinite Archive” be looked at under the particular guise of the Brazilian archival situation?
CA: In my PhD thesis and in subsequent articles published in academic journals, I transferred (and transformed) Frampton’s notion to the domain of found footage. I think it is an original contribution to film studies, this conceptual montage that I do between Benjamin, Frampton and Warburg (among many other theoretical, cultural and historical notions). Moving into the geographical and socio-political-economic context of a country like Brazil would require an effort and an extension of argument that I am not capable of in the brief context of this interview. Evidently, at a first glance, the economic difficulties themselves bring other parameters to the question: how to think about the survival of images (as depositories of national memory) if the very survival of the archive (as an institution of that duty) is plagued by risks to its material contingency? On the other hand, the Brazilian condition has unique and original characteristics that distinguish it from other countries: our colonial formation, our peripheral situation, our conservative modernity, our outrageous social inequality, and the artistic and intellectual strength of several generations that have responded to these challenges. We must be reminded that film celluloid is made also of organic material, therefore subject to decay, just as we are. We must bear in mind that what survived until our time of Sappho’s poems are just fragments of her verses, and the beauty of her poetry is in part the beauty of this quality of scarcity. Paradoxically, I would imagine that the very notion of “infinite archive”, when applied to Brazil, would imply a finite cinema, the very finitude of cinema, its material and intrinsic fragility, its “human” condition.
L: As you well know, Brazil’s most important film archive, the Cinemateca Brasileira, is now going through a new crisis in which its entire collection is at risk of being destroyed. The current moment evokes in our minds a Twilight Zone-esque episode in which a found footage filmmaker wakes up to learn that there is no longer any found-footage to be found. While your work has certainly featured found footage that has been sourced beyond the walls of an archival institution, one cannot deny that these institutions are repositories for cultural works that still remain hidden from the public eye. Firstly, can you comment on the long-standing neglect of the Brazilian government to properly invest in preserving Brazilian cultural memory? Lastly, can you comment on what this potentially dystopic scenario evokes for you in relation to your body of work, aspiring found footage filmmakers, and the future of found footage filmmaking in Brazil?
CA: We are currently living under dark and terrible times in Brazil, and many public institutions related to culture (and education) are under threat, at different levels, degrees and circumstances, such as Casa de Rui Barbosa and Cinemateca Brasileira. The latter is our most recognized film archive but there are others, smaller ones, spread across cities in the country, two of which are particularly deserving of our attention and respect, possessing great collections and doing notable, good research work: Cinemateca do MAM (Modern Art Museum) and Arquivo Nacional (both in Rio de Janeiro). In the case of the Cinematic Brasileira, as well as these other archives, there is a problem that has been going on for years and it is a complex issue – what is happening now is of great urgency, because it affects basic issues of maintenance of the archive itself (in addition to the salaries of the technical staff, the current crisis affects services of electrical supply, which threats refrigeration and security). The tragedy of the fire at the Museu Nacional (Rio de Janeiro) in 2018 is as a metaphor for the lack of public commitment to national memory and heritage: the neglect turns memory into ashes. The pathetic episode of Brazilian Government (literally) taking the Cinemateca’s keys, along with that of the Museu Nacional’s fire, is a powerful symbolic image in itself. Of course, as a found-footage filmmaker I have an engagement with film archiving and I think it was not a sheer coincidence that I was commissioned to make the official film of the celebration of Paulo Emílio Salles Gomes’ centenary (A Very Personal Celebration, 2016). Personally, I have always worked with shards, leftovers, remains, incomplete fragments; lost, neglected and forgotten materials. Therefore, I am used to working in scarcity and poverty. I always keep in mind the adage that "it can always be worse", which may not ease many anxieties about the future. Horace’s “carpe diem” verses help us to face our weaknesses and uncertainties, which are much bigger now with the COVID-19 crisis.
L: Part of the astonishment in watching Vassourinha is the fact that it is so rare to see works unveiled from the archive that highlights the lives on important Black artists from the past. In a way, the film projects the role that archives should be fulling in modern-day society – that is, beyond just preserving materials, recovering and presenting heretofore repressed existences and narratives. In your mind, why did it take nearly a century for the world to be able to rediscover Vassourinha in your film? And as you yourself have worked as an archivist in the past, what do you think future archivists can learn from the film? What really is most important to save for future generations?
CA: For me it is far hard to say “why [it took] nearly a century for the world to be able to rediscover Vassourinha”… It would be tempting, and it would be a fallacy as well, to say that Vassourinha was looking forward to meet me, his art & craft was waiting for my gesture…I don’t know why it took so much time… One can think of social reasons, as he was a black boy from a poor family and he didn’t have enough time to build a fame which would endure. On the other hand, we have lots of cases of great artists in different artistic areas who were forgotten. [Found footage filmmaking is] a very personal (verging on crazily idiosyncratic) way to deal with historical artifacts, a creative form to work on history, not only in terms of salvaging the remains but to bring them back to life and to keep them alive. History serving to vibrate Vassourinha’s story. I consider myself a very materialist film maker, in the sense that I treasure most the rare and bare materials that history is made of. I think one can feel in a very palpable way a sensual materiality that my films place onto the screen. Besides the very materials themselves (the “remains”), I think it is most important as well to preserve the flavor of time – the zeitgeist – in which one lives. And that is an order of alchemy: remember Duchamp’s work “Air of Paris”. In fact, as a communist filmmaker, what would be really “most important to save for future generations” is life itself – the lives of so many artists (and thinkers) who inspire us and make us thrive. But that is far from utopia; to try to defeat death… As André Bazin put it, cinema holds a mummy complex.
L: Lastly, since the release of A Voz e o Vazio: A Vez de Vassourinha there has been a new resurgence of interest in Vassourinha’s life. Numerous famous musicians have covered his songs and there are rumors that a feature length film about his life is in the works. Do you view any of this as part of the legacy and impact that your film had? Relatedly, what do you think the likelihood is that there are hundreds of other potential Vassourinhas repressed within the archives: inimitable, historical, and most commonly Black marginalized talents whose legacies have never reached the people of Brazil beyond their time?
CA: As the most humble and the most modest man I am, I should acknowledge that my film definitely and surely had an impact of “bringing” Vassourinha “back to life”. I would hate to look pretentious, but it is a fact: I did contribute to make Vassourinha more well-known and more appreciated. My film went on front covers of the two main newspapers in São Paulo (first page of cultural supplements) which are the main ones in Brazil. I would not compare myself to the status some give Ezra Pound, as being the re-inventor of Provençal to modern times, a poet who embraces a work of translation and criticism; but it is almost that…in a way, I did “invent” Vassourinha for contemporary times, and I am proud that it was made within an avant-garde mode of film. After my film was released, Caetano Veloso (who had already known my films at that time) approached me about a project proposed by Paula Lavigne (his wife and manager) of re-releasing Vassourinha’s original records along with a set of Caetano and Chico Buarque performing new versions of Vassourinha’s repertoire. My film was to be a key piece in that project, in concerts and in a possible DVD release along with the CD; unfortunately that did not go further for some reason, maybe because a label decided instead to hastily release Vassourinha’s songs. Surely there are “other potential Vassourinhas repressed within the archives”: during my research for making the Vassourinha film, I myself found a kind of female Vassourinha almost in the same style–straw hat, syncopated samba–not so famous at her time like Vassourinha, performing from the mid-1930s to the mid-1940s, then completely forgotten by the public. I could find only six 78rpm recordings of her chant-voice (half of Vassoruinha’s entire discography). I would love to make a film about her, but 22 years have already passed by and I have not made it yet…a companion to Vassourinha, in fashion and musical style, her voice has remained indeed lost to a deeper void.
1. Bernardo Vorobow (1946-2009), in addition to being Adriano’s partner until his death in 2009, served as director and programmer of the Society of Cinematheque Friends (Sociedade Amigos da Cinemateca, 1970–75); the film coordinator and programmer at the Museum of Contemporary Art at the University of São Paulo (Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo, 1972–76); founder, director, and programmer of the Film Department at the Museum of Image and Sound (Museu da Imagem e do Som, São Paulo, 1975–85); as well as founder, director, and programmer of the Diffusion and Program Department of the Brazilian Cinematheque (Cinemateca Brasileira, 1982–99), then programmer until 2009.

2. Miécio Caffé would be the subject of Adriano’s 2003 film A Caffé with Miécio.

3. Mario de Andrade’s re-missions (forthcoming), Vassourinha: the voice and the void (1998), Militancy (2001-2002), Porviscope (2004-2006), and From the ruins to the rexistence (2004-2007).
Photo by Giorgia Prates
Abolition: the Atlantic Cinema of Zózimo Bulbul
Questions by
Bernardo Oliveira
September 1, 2020
It should come as no surprise that in Brazil, as in most so-called “underdeveloped” countries, the question of cultural memory and access to history as dictated by the archive is far more precarious than one approaching the subject from the relative wealth of the United States or Europe. There are far more gaps, erasures, and interstices for pieces of Brazilian culture to fall into with a much higher frequency, which is a condition both of political determination and physical incapability. On this second factor, one need only be pointed to the fact that a historical Brazilian film studio had to burn its nitrate prints from the golden era of the 40s and 50s after new safety film copies were made, for fear of the entire studio burning down due to the combination of nitrate film and tropical heat. For a Brazilian archivist—or their counterpart on the side of production, the found footage filmmaker—therefore, the task of even taking the first steps toward the gathering of documents for their work is an arduous one sure to be met with many frustrations, barring a situation where one’s subject has an exceptionally well-kept estate.

Thus such cultural workers find their labor to be determined under the sign of fragmentation, and we find the most compelling work to be that which wears this mark as one of pride and uses its form to reflect its material inconsistencies. Carlos Adriano has worked with Brazil’s cinematic archives for over twenty years, creating films that both preserve and project the gaps and other forms of lack that he encounters when faced with the heretofore undocumented sections of Brazil’s past.
The following interview took place with archivist Hernani Heffner on July 4th, 2020. Heffner has been working at Rio de Janeiro’s historic Cinemateca do MAM since 1996 and is one of Brazil’s most important film archivists. When we spoke on July 4th a lot was different in the world of Brazilian film preservation. At that point, Heffner held the position of chief conservator at the Cinemateca do MAM. Also, São Paulo’s Cinemateca Brasileira, Brazil’s most important film archive, was amidst a major economic crisis. The institution’s bills and its workers had not been paid for months, and as a result of this the workers went on strike. Since then, Heffner has been made the director of the Cinemateca do MAM -- certainly a cause for celebration -- but the crisis at the Cinemateca Brasileira continues, with its future remaining uncertain. On August 12 the Cinemateca Brasileira’s forty-one employees were dismissed from their positions without having received their due payments, and the institution remains without any specialized archival staff. More information about the most recent events related to the Cinemateca Brasileira can be found here.

At the moment of writing this introduction, the collection of films at the Cinemateca Brasileira remains at imminent risk, as the Brazilian government continues to fail in providing the serious and necessary federal support that this institution deserves. Despite having taken place over one month ago, this conversation with Hernani Heffner loses no relevance, as we dealt with the particularities of Brazilian Cinema and Brazilian film preservation from a transnational context. Heffner touches on issues such as access to Brazilian cinema in the digital age, our current precarious state of global unrest, and he provides an overview of the Cinemateca do MAM for those unfamiliar with the important institution. Heffner’s revolutionary approach to film preservation shines clear throughout our dialogue, and we at Limite are very excited to observe and support the undeniable impact he will have on the field of film preservation as the new Director of the Cinemateca do MAM.
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  1. Universal Exhibition or the World’s Fair were large events designed to showcase international achievements that were very important in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Terra Encantada was shot during the Independence Centenary International Exposition, held from 1922 to 1923 in Rio de Janeiro.
  2. Chanchada was the term given to the Brazilian popular musical comedies of the 1940s and 1950s by critics of the time. These critics considered these films to be simply bad copies of Hollywood features of the same genre. Atlântida was the most famous, but not the only, studio to produce chanchadas.
  3. I’m referring here to Christensen’s films Rei Pelé (1961), a biopic, and Cronica da Cidade Amada (1964), a widescreen film that can currently only be seen in a horribly cropped digital copy taken from a VHS tape.

William Plotnick: Can you comment on the recent news surrounding the Cinemateca Brasileira?

Hernani Heffner: The crisis of the Cinemateca Brasileira has worsened this week. The institution is in a dangerous situation because there are no firefighters or guards, the employees are all on strike, and the government has said nothing. It’s a bad situation that is only worsening.

WP: Do you think there might be some light at the end of the tunnel? Is it possible that some of these issues can soon be resolved and things can return to normal?

HH: I don’t think so because Brazil has a president who is a terrible person. Bolsonaro doesn’t give a damn about our culture, our art, or about preservation. There remain no public policies for the preservation sector. There have been five different secretaries of culture in the last fifteen months, and the work in this sector has completely come to a halt. Brazil is now dealing with a resurgence in right-wing ideologies and thought, and even the president’s son has been implicated in scandals of corruption. All of this has paralyzed the country, and it has halted any previous intentions to develop some kind of policy concerning culture, arts, and preservation.

WP: Due to recent social injustices such as the murder of George Floyd, people throughout the world have begun re-evaluating their national histories. Social-justice protests are sparking up, and monuments erected to commemorate visions of the past built on the fruits of slavery and colonialism, are either being absconded with or torn down. In Brazil, São Paulo’s O Monumento às Bandeiras serves as such a reminder, immortalizing Brazil’s settler colonialists and their genocidal trek into the country’s interior.

To what extent do these recent historical evaluations and conversations exemplify the very crisis that the Cinemateca Brasileira is going through right now, as the institution is the safeguard of that history? And how do you perceive the fact that during the moment when the Brazilian people will need to be able to have access to their collective histories the most, the existence of those histories are being threatened?


HH: Brazil is a country that has a long colonial past. For three hundred years we moved forward on this colonial path, and many things from that time period remain today, especially the racism towards black people. The Brazilian elite portray our country like an aristocracy, providing a misleading conception to those outsiders looking in as to what the day to day life for most Brazilians is like. 

In a country with social and economic conditions so distant from one class to another, there is no real democracy. There is no democracy if the people do not perceive a sense of community among each other. A sense of respect. A sense of doing the work to construct a society that includes all persons. If you are a divided society, there is no real democracy and no real social justice. This kind of society, of course, works against the interests of the people.

If I can trace a parallel between the current moment in the United States and the current moment in Brazil - in the United States, you can disagree with the broadcasting of a film like Gone with the Wind (1939) and force the movie to be removed from broadcasting. In the United States, there is no discussion about destroying this film, destroying its materials, destroying the negatives or the prints or the digital copies. People don’t suggest the idea of destroying works that glorify racism, colonialism, imperialism, or authoritarianism because they know that it is important to be able to see these works in order to criticize them.  

But in Brazil, it’s another story. In Brazil, cinema is not important for the elite, and it isn’t thought to represent them. Although most of the time cinema is a very popular expression of art, Brazilian cinema doesn’t have a huge market in Brazil. This is because the people that make these films are coming from the lower classes, and therefore the elite actively choose to ignore these works. The Cinemateca Brasileira, the most important film archive in Brazil, which contains an enormous collection of films, is an institution that does not represent a valuable collection for the government or for the elite. According to them, if you lose the collection of the Cinemateca Brasileira, what important material have you lost? The musical comedies, called chanchadas in Brazil? The films from the Cinema Novo movement, the Cinema Marginal movement, or the state-produced films from Embrafilme? What value do these things have? They consider them all to be like soap operas!

Brazilian cinema is very important. It has received numerous prizes throughout the world, been screened in the main selections at Cannes, Venice, Berlin, and some titles have been nominated for the Oscars. But the reality in Brazilian society is that this collection, this national cinema, is not perceived as important. These works that criticize social problems and that criticize the racism of Brazilian society are often pushed aside and treated as works of little value. When Nelson Pereira dos Santos began his career in 1955 with a film called Rio, 40 Graus, he introduced the favela and the slum to Brazilian cinema. He discussed the situation of Black people and especially poor black people, pointing a finger at the elites of the country. ‘What do you do for these people?’, ‘Why are these people put aside from the main social policies in the country?’, he asked. The government is not preoccupying themselves with the kind of developmental policies that you learn about when watching films, and they therefore do not think about preserving these kinds of artistic expressions, these kinds of films, or these kinds of materials. So, if you lost, for example, the huge collection that the Cinemateca Brasileira is holding, you would be losing almost nothing for these kinds of people. This isn’t something the elite has just made apparent now during the current crisis, but this has been the case for a long time.

WP: In your opinion, what can we be doing throughout the world to stand with Brazilian cinema, the Brazilian film industry, and with the workers of the Cinemateca Brasileira during this difficult moment in time?

HH: Well, the answer is simple: people in Brazil, in the United States, and throughout the world must create value for our national cinema. We can create value for its past, for numerous rare films, and for the preservation of their materials. We can create value by spreading news about Brazilian cinema, by spreading the works through streaming, Blu-rays, and with old DVDs or even VHS tapes. We can find new ways to spread the films to academics, to artists, and to the film community in the United States to influence cinephilic perception at large so that they realize that it is important to access these films and that it is important to know about Brazilian Cinema.

It is also imperative that the cinema-watching audience at large knows that Brazilian Cinema has created and continues to create very original ways of expression in film. In order to create a better world, people must have access to Brazilian cinema, African cinema, Malaysian Cinema, to know that there are other film cultures, there are other languages, and there are other forms of expressions in cinema that are as equally important as what they typically see. If you believe that there is a center, and that the greatest films revolve around this center, then you keep an old value system alive which says that films that are not European or American are poorer works of cinema. We must do away with this by holding screenings, creating cine-clubs (and operating microcinemas — Ed.), writing theses and papers, holding debates, including the works at festivals, airing them on television channels, and including them in streaming platforms. If you create cultural exchange between two or more countries, two or more national expressions, then one begins to learn why the other acts a certain way or does the things that they do.

If you invest in Brazilian cinema in this way, you begin to understand more about the commonly held misconception that Brazilian cinema is bad cinema. You learn that Brazilian cinema is not considered poor because there are no production facilities, nor because there is no money, but because it exudes a form of conscious expression against a foreign cinema that is dominant in the Brazilian market. This conscious expression was created at a moment in Brazilian cinema history, and it was an incredibly profound moment. Brazilian cinema has a very distinctive form of expression which includes its cultures, its landscapes, and its worldview. Yet the fact of the matter is that today, Brazilian cinema history is almost unknown all over the world.

"people in Brazil, in the United States, and throughout the world must create value for our national cinema. We can create value for its past, for numerous rare films, and for the preservation of their materials".
WP: Do you think that cultural exchange between two or more countries could incite the Brazilian government to realize the value of their own national works? Do you think a major initiative abroad, manifested in large retrospectives or more prestigious awards being given to Brazilian films, that these could be the catalyst to make the government in Brazil finally realize that they need to fund the Cinemateca Brasileira and that they need to finally support the film industry and its cultural workers in a respectful and supportive way?

HH: Of course, these kinds of recognitions create a lot of perceived value for our films, and help people realize that they are important. But in Brazilian Society, this kind of importance is very particular. The elite do not value these kinds of recognitions, and they often view the works as very destructive to their right-wing agendas.

It is important for us to sustain a fight for the permanence of Brazilian cinema, of the Cinemateca Brasileira, and of the past, but the real fight is against a larger force that reduces the country to a few people. To one social class. That reduces the country to a view that asks for a future and not for a past. This force accepts and advocates for the destruction of this past with no sorrow or pity. And we as a society must fight to transform and to change that for the better of all of us so that we can become a real democracy.

The benefit Brazilian cinema receives from being recognized around the world is very valuable because these recognitions help us sustain some kind of barrier to harmful government decisions. We can sustain the fight with that. But I believe the real fight is with another, larger force.

WP: You have been associated with the Cinemateca do MAM since 1983 and a formal employee since 1986. Can you tell me about the history of this archive, and provide an idea about what makes it unique, for those less familiar with its operations?

HH: We at the Cinemateca do MAM are only a little archive. In the 60s the director was Cosme Alves Netto, who was very influential in the film preservation movement. He led a movement in which colonial countries or countries that were considered ‘third world’ could learn about film preservation. Cosme asked all the American and European archives for help in constructing film archives in these under-developed countries, because during that time, and in fact still today, these archives have no money, no structure, and no workers. These institutions are facing an enormous task to preserve their entire national cinemas. Today, I think very little has changed from that situation. The same American and European archives are incredibly well funded, while film archives from poorer underdeveloped countries are in the same position.

The Cinemateca do MAM suffered a huge crisis in the beginning of the 21st century, in 2002 and 2003. We were almost closed by a decision of our main institution, the Modern Art Museum. However, we survived. Because of this, we tried to become more connected with important international film preservation communities such as FIAF and AMIA. We also received some important guests here at the archive such as Ray Edmunson, who is a very important thinker about the philosophy of film preservation. We tried to further understand what was happening in the field in the 21st century and what our place was within the larger picture. This was an important moment for us in realizing what we can do at the Cinemateca do MAM to serve the film preservation community of Brazil.

One important thing that we do at the Cinemateca do MAM is provide educations in film preservation. We also send some students and interns to take courses at Filmoteca Española to really learn the skills of film preservation and work in that field. Especially during a time when we are going through the transition from film to predominately digital formats, it is very important to have a new work force in our country ready to meet the technical challenges that come along with this transition. Our program working with the Filmoteca Española ended up being very successful because 20-25 young people discovered a passion for film preservation and decided to have careers in that area. And also, there are even now five or six of my own former students who are working at the Cinemateca Brasileira.

Another thing at that we attempt to facilitate at the Cinemateca do MAM is the presence of foreign students in Brazil. We are a privately run archive so we are open to receiving students from Greece, France, Argentina, the United States, and other countries. It is important for us to receive these students because they will encounter an archive with less money than the national archives they have at home, and with worse conditions to preserve films. This provides them with a more realistic view as to what film archiving is like around the world for those supposedly on the periphery. It is important to us that these people have a perception of these problems, and that they can begin thinking about the best ways to solve them.

Additionally, an important intervention that the Cinemateca do MAM has made in the preservation area is focusing on preserving marginal films, especially experimental works, because in Brazil only a small space is given for this mode of filmmaking. First, we created an experimental cine-club and after that we decided to receive a festival concerning experimental cinema, DOBRA - Festival Int'l de Cinema Experimental. This was very successful because we became the main space in Brazil for presenting that kind of cinema.

We are a little archive with only seven people. So, we try to bring forth smaller initiatives and create a big impact. We try to facilitate the synchronization of information, the synchronization of people, and the synchronization of films. We are what I consider a 'hub’. We are not the terminal, we are not the first step, we are a hub in film preservation in Brazil and we can aggregate some materials, some films, some information, and make connections with a larger array of people. For a little archive, I think that this is a very important position to hold.

"Especially during a time when we are going through the transition from film to predominately digital formats, it is very important to have a new work force in our country ready to meet the technical challenges that come along with this transition."
WP: Can you talk about the ways in the Cinemateca do MAM and the Cinemateca Brasileira have provided access to their collections digitally? The Cinemateca Brasileira, for example, provides access to some of their collections through BCC (Banco de Conteúdos Culturais).

HH: Providing basic access to Brazilian cinema is an old problem in the world of film archives in Brazil. People are not familiar with Brazilian cinema. Why is that? Why are Brazilian people not more familiar with the history of their own national production? It isn’t because we don’t have the proper skills, instruments, spaces, or strategies to provide access to this national cinema. In Brazil, one of the structural problems in the cultural sector is represented by the fact that various states have created many institutions to preserve Brazilian history, but don’t put effort into making sure the public has access to this history. The Cinemateca Braisleira is an example of this. The history of Brazilian cinema is there. But getting access to these works is very difficult. The old Brazilian cinema is there, most of the 20th century Brazilian cinema is there, but the access to this past is very difficult. Using the BCC is very difficult because there is always a huge watermark placed over the film. With this logo there in the center of the frame, you cannot see the film in the proper way.

We need to try to provide access to Brazilian cinema in the best way possible, because people need to know that these treasures exist. If they can’t have this basic access, the films will become ignored and lose their value to the public. We must prevent this and make a complete 180 degree turn in policy when it comes to access.

WP: To what extent do the copyright laws make it hard to effect these changes?

HH: In my opinion, the copyright laws are not a problem. You can talk to the producers, you can talk to the people who own these films. Most of the time, anyway, it is the archives performing the technical elements such as creating new prints of the films and digitizing them. This comes from funds provided from the archives and the states, and not the producers.

Those people who refuse to provide access to the works that they own, are using a strategy of power. They are attempting to control who can see what, and for which price. Because of that, many works of Brazilian cinema are invisible in the world. The dangers of this is that in fifty years, people may no longer be interested our cinema at all. Today, we live in an information society, and in this digital world, people move forward from the past very quickly due to free exchange and the forward direction of freely circulating content.

Going hand in hand with this is the fact that we need to be making good digital copies of films and making them available on the internet. Copyright owners can find ways to get 2K or 4K versions of their works, and even make a profit from them. Once the spectator is connected with this good digital copy, and they begin to personally relate to the film, they will begin to ask for more of this type of content. This puts that viewer in the running to become deeply interested in discovering the many pearls of cinema to be found throughout Brazilian film history.

WP: Put yourself in the shoes of an international programmer interested in doing a program of Brazilian films: An enigma arises, because whether you show older works of Brazilian cinema or newer works, the material is going to be unfamiliar to the majority of those audiences. You have numerous amazing contemporary Brazilian filmmakers on one hand, whose works need to be seen and discussed, but on the other hand, you have the entire history of Brazilian cinema which many international audiences have not yet had the chance to discover. A case in point is that that there has never been a North American retrospective of Humberto Mauro.

HH: There is a contradiction in that situation, no?

In the past, the Brazilian government used to put money towards international programs of Brazilian film. In the 80s there was a huge retrospective of Brazilian cinema at the Centre Georges Pompidou in France, and in 1998 MOMA hosted another. All of these programs were sustained by the Brazilian government which commissioned new 35mm prints and paid for the transportation of said prints as well as the rest of the logistics.

When the 21st century came around, there was no longer the need to spend money sending prints around the world thanks to digital copies. The digital seemed to be the magical response towards the problem of increasing the circulation of Brazilian cinema.

But there is a huge problem with this situation as it stands. To circulate Brazilian cinema on a global scale, especially through the internet, you must be able to digitize the Brazilian films made during the 20th century. You must digitize the films in 2K, 4K, and perhaps in five or ten years, even 10K. However, in Brazil, there is no strategy, no money, and no interest to digitize these older films. Suddenly, once these works are finally digitized, we realize that there is no space being made for them. A gap has been created in their circulation and in their recognition. The new generation of filmgoers is not in contact with these works. This explains why Humberto Mauro has never received a retrospective in the United States up until today.

We desperately need a program that allows us to digitize Brazilian cinema systematically. If we do not come up with one, older works of Brazilian cinema will disappear from national and international programs and will never show up on streaming platforms for a new generation to discover. This is going to be a huge test for us because the status of the mission is critical. It is critical to spread older works of Brazilian around the world so that people can understand: what is Bacurau (Filho & Dornelles, 2019)? What is a Brazilian film about the Brazilian Northeast? What is a film like Karim Aïnouz’s Invisible Life (2019)? What kind of melodrama is that? Do these works stem from a Brazilian filmmaking tradition, or are they completely unique in Brazil’s film history? Why did a director like José Mojica Marins create this famous character of Zé do Caixão, and what does he symbolize for Brazil and for international cinema?

If you do not circulate these older films, then you can’t understand the full picture. Without the full picture, you may still think Bacurau is a great movie and that it is very attractive! But you don’t really understand the content that Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles have put in it. When the international public finally has a chance to see these older works as they were meant to be seen, it will surely be a great surprise for them because people don’t know that this cinema exists, that we have a very unique cinematographic style, and that our point of view so strongly differs from the rest of the world’s.

There needs to be a balance between both the contemporary works and the past works. They need to be able to inform one another for a larger picture of Brazilian cinema to be understood.
"It is critical to spread older works of Brazilian around the world so that people can understand: what is Bacurau (Filho & Dornelles, 2019)? What is a Brazilian film about the Brazilian Northeast? What is a film like Karim Aïnouz’s Invisible Life (2019)? What kind of melodrama is that? Do these works stem from a Brazilian filmmaking tradition, or are they completely unique in Brazil’s film history? Why did a director like José Mojica Marins create this famous character of Zé do Caixão, and what does he symbolize for Brazil and for international cinema?"
WP: Despite all this, one is tempted today to say that we are in a groundbreaking moment as far as having international access to Brazilian films. You can see a much larger presence of Brazilian films on the internet right now than there has been in the past, and many of these works are being translated into different languages too.

However, at the same time there is the sense that this access does not matter if these works are not being properly preserved. So, the digital moment is an illusion in a way – we finally have access and with subtitles, but we know the film print itself is decomposing right now within the Cinemateca Brasileira.


HH: Well, I think that this digital moment is a double illusion. On one side, the difficulties to access Brazilian films have existed for a long time, but nevertheless we must find some way to see them. So, someone takes an old VHS, or they take a poor copy, and you put these films on the internet so people can see them. Of course, this is the worst way to see the film, but when it is all that we have, it is better than nothing. The downside of this, though, is that usually, Brazilian cinema looks bad. Although Brazilian cinema is not bad in terms of its cinematography, sound, texture, and contrast, these copies give off the impression that this is so. This state of preservation causes the feeling among people that Brazilian cinema is not important. We don’t get to see our national works in all their splendor, nor in a state-of-the-art way. We don’t have state-of-the-art 4K restorations of our works. This is very tragic.

On the other side, even if we had pristine 4K digital copies of our films, we know that to present a film digitally is not to preserve it. So, we must preserve the film in its original format. You must create a positive print and an internegative, and you must preserve all the negatives in a professional way. This preservation work is not optional, but mandatory. If it is not done, the material will be lost in a span of twenty years! Then, what do we have? Just a digital copy, and this is not the same thing. Not to mention, these digital copies must be preserved in equal measure. Digital preservation is a completely separate task from that of film, with other demands, which requires different technical specifications. So, you must face the task of preserving both the digital and the physical at the same time. Preserving the materials in this way requires a huge task of planning, of creating an infrastructure of conservation, of digitization, and providing access (mostly through the internet). For us to be able to do this successfully becomes mostly a question of politics. It is a question of whether we will be provided with the necessary funds to carry this task out. It is a tragedy that our cinematic heritage remains put aside on the global scene because of these politics. The impact that this lack of political action on the part of the governmental elite has had can be seen and felt still today.

We are living in a moment in which we need cinema to help us understand what Brazil is today. If we can or if we desire to take down the statues which retain the values of our colonial times, we must be able to know what they represent. Film is a good way to know, to understand, and to perceive that some statues have been around for 100 years. These statues were raised at the beginning of the 20th century, a time in which Brazil was another place and had a different society. What has changed since then?

Films from those periods help give a voice to the anonymous people that have not had their voices heard, and in the event that these people cannot be found in the films, we begin to understand why that is. I think we need to have this debate and film is a good way to hold a debate about our heritage because it has lived with us for over a century.

*This interview has been edited for clarification.
Image by Giorgia Prates
Photo by Giorgia Prates
Abolition: the Atlantic Cinema of Zózimo Bulbul
Questions by
Bernardo Oliveira
September 1, 2020
It should come as no surprise that in Brazil, as in most so-called “underdeveloped” countries, the question of cultural memory and access to history as dictated by the archive is far more precarious than one approaching the subject from the relative wealth of the United States or Europe. There are far more gaps, erasures, and interstices for pieces of Brazilian culture to fall into with a much higher frequency, which is a condition both of political determination and physical incapability. On this second factor, one need only be pointed to the fact that a historical Brazilian film studio had to burn its nitrate prints from the golden era of the 40s and 50s after new safety film copies were made, for fear of the entire studio burning down due to the combination of nitrate film and tropical heat. For a Brazilian archivist—or their counterpart on the side of production, the found footage filmmaker—therefore, the task of even taking the first steps toward the gathering of documents for their work is an arduous one sure to be met with many frustrations, barring a situation where one’s subject has an exceptionally well-kept estate.

Thus such cultural workers find their labor to be determined under the sign of fragmentation, and we find the most compelling work to be that which wears this mark as one of pride and uses its form to reflect its material inconsistencies. Carlos Adriano has worked with Brazil’s cinematic archives for over twenty years, creating films that both preserve and project the gaps and other forms of lack that he encounters when faced with the heretofore undocumented sections of Brazil’s past.
PT /
ENG
Limite: Pode dar alguns detalhes sobre O Roteiro do Gravador (1967), um filme que ainda está sendo buscado no arquivo da Cinemateca do MAM? Que tipo de filme era? Quem trabalhou nele?

Sylvio Lanna: Respondendo à primeira interrogação, eu lhe digo que O Roteiro do Gravador contém algumas pérolas: é o primeiro filme, já um média-metragem, de uma juventude inquieta que aos 23 anos, estudante de Filosofia, opta pelo Cinema = Liberdade. Isto, no Brasil, debaixo do processo de arrocho da Ditadura Militar, que se instalara em 1964, e poucos meses antes de Maio de 68, na França, de onde a Nouvelle Vague projetava um Cinema Revolucionário. É um filme existencialista. Fala da perspectiva do mundo apocalíptico da Guerra Fria, no qual vivíamos, para o indivíduo, no seu processo de consciência do amor, e do coletivo. O In memoriam que é um filme em busca (“…do Tempo Perdido”) de O Roteiro do Gravador, abre com uma ?, daí, a precisão da sua pergunta “está sendo buscado no arquivo da Cinemateca do MAM?”  …afinal, são os negativos de imagem e de som de um filme 16mm. com 30 min. e duas cópias, que se encontram por aí… Naquele próprio Recibo de Depósito que aparece no filme de agora, existem outros trabalhos meus aí depositados e desaparecidos. Centrei no Roteiro porque ele é a semente do meu Cinema, poético, questionador e aventureiro. Caligráfico. A sua própria ideia central, de um indivíduo que investe contra uma megalópole de posse de um Gravador, no qual registra as suas memórias de um mundo apocalíptico, é algo que retomo, de outra forma, na fascinante experiência sonora em que se tornou o longa Sagrada Família. O Cinema que faço é assim: um filme puxa o “fio da meada” do outro. Sou da geração de cinéfilos que viu surgir o conceito Cinema de Autor. Agora, a evolução tecnológica, alcançou o estágio do insite vertoviano (Diziga Vertov) do Cinema visto como uma nova caneta.
O Cinema que faço é assim: um filme puxa o “fio da meada” do outro. Sou da geração de cinéfilos que viu surgir o conceito Cinema de Autor. Agora, a evolução tecnológica, alcançou o estágio do insite vertoviano (Diziga Vertov) do Cinema visto como uma nova caneta.
Quanto à segunda, que tipo de filme é…?  Hoje eu tenho uma páginaCinema Caligráfico de Sylvio Lanna.1  O Roteiro, antes de tudo, pode ser classificado como o primeiro destes meus filmes. Poucos trabalhos que fiz em cinema estão fora. Como registro de uma época, em que a ditadura começara já a estabelecer os seus porões de torturas e a arte a se expressar por metáforas, o filme apresenta de forma irritante mente violenta a morte de um porco, sangrado à maneira tradicional, com uma peixeira2  (faca pontuda e fina, para atingir diretamente o coração do animal), no Aterro do Flamengo, na época em construção, com a metrópole ao fundo. Esta sequência dividiu radicalmente a Plateia do famoso Festival 16mm do Cine Paissandú em 1967; em 74, em Copenhagen, fez-me perder uma amiga dinamarquesa. O Roteiro traz as influências de sempre, Luís Buñuel, e da epóca, Glauber Rocha.

Quem trabalhou nele?  Boa pergunta… Foi aí que Andrea Tonacci (fotografia e câmera) e eu selamos nossa grande amizade e parceria, que na sequência proporcionou-nos produzir e dirigir nossos dois primeiros longa-metragens. Bang Bang e Sagrada Família. Voltando ao Roteiro, os protagonistas eram o poeta Pedro Garcia, meu colega na Faculdade Nacional de Filosofia, e Lucia Milanez. Ainda, certamente será muito importante ao recuperar uma cópia que seja do Roteiro, resgatar os vários solos de sax, improvisações em estúdio, assistindo ao copião mudo, de ninguém menos que o genial Victor Assis Brasil e em contraponto com Flávia Calabi na flauta transversal.

L: Houve exibições públicas de O Roteiro do Gravador?

SL: Histórias do Cinema da Vida. Hoje, nem pen drive você necessita. Há uma geração, você carregava na mochila cópias de seus filmes. Eu vivi literalmente on the road, em bons períodos da minha vida; a primeira grande identificação que encarei para com os desígnios da minha geração. No Planeta Terra a vida se dá por Gerações. Em 68, com a grana que recebi da TV Alemã para lhes produzir, roteirizar e dirigir “The History of Superstition Around Brazilian Football” (…e como cinema é montagem, um ano depois, com Tonacci, montei o curta Superstição e Futebol – main prize no Iº Sport Film Festival de Oberhausen, 1970), parti de carona pela América do Sul. Ainda no Brasil, no Rio Grande do Sul, fui preso pelos militares por suspeita de ser informante da UNE (União Nacional dos Estudantes), então na clandestinidade. Passei 15 dias numa solitária e ao ser solto tive uma longa conversa/interrogatório com o coronel que chefiava o DOPS3 de Porto Alegre, sobre O Roteiro do Gravador. Segui viagem e, na Argentina, em Rosário, na Faculdade de Medicina, houve uma sessão que gerou debates madrugada adentro. Em 1979, em NY, numa festa de cineastas, discutiu-se a possibilidade de adaptação do Roteiro, tendo como cenário Nova York ao invés do Rio de Janeiro.
L: Quanto tempo levou entre a descoberta de que O Roteiro do Gravador estava perdido e a decisão de fazer o In Memoriam? E por que fazê-lo?

SL: Assim como o cinema é montagem, assim é a vida. Pelo menos a minha. Desde que fazer cinema no Brasil ficou explicitamente inviável para mim, com o boicote ao meu Malandro, termo civilizado ou MALANDRANDO, em 1987, minha vida girou, girou e me levou de volta à terra da minha infância e a uma longa história: o projeto “A BuchaVegetal Brasileira”.4 Uma proposta prática para um projeto ambiental e socialmente educativo, e facilmente universal. Houvesse boa vontade política para solucionar vários problemas que nos afligem. Trabalhando com agricultore se audiovisual, para mudança de hábito de uso e consumo, na limpeza em geral, das esponjas sintéticas, substituindo-as pelas Luffas, biodegradáveis. Assim, estava eu vivendo distante doCinema, quando há uns 10 anos, um pouco mais, me chega uma solicitação de assinatura para autorizar o traslado dos negativos do Sagrada Família, guardados por mim na Cinemateca do MAM-Rio, para a Cinemateca Brasileira-SP, a qual num convênio com a Cinemateca de Lisboa iriam pagar a restauração e uma cópia nova para exibição em Lisboa. Autorizei. Só que não se encontrou, no princípio, os negativos do longa e eu fui ao Rio para checar e constatei o caos em que, na prática, se encontrava, se encontra aInstituição, e agora, também a Cinemateca Brasileira, onde ficaram depositadosos negativos, depois de tirada aquela cópia. E agora, de resto a mesma situação se repete num “desmonte” criminoso e sistemático, em todo o País.  
Sylvio Lanna com sua Luffa Biodegradável
Quanto à decisão de fazer o In Memoriam, são Coisas da Vida (daria um ótimo título para um filme, não?). A vida girou, larguei da Luffa e decidi voltar ao cinema. Conheci o grande Cavi [Borges]. Ele me propôs lançar meus filmes antigos. E foi nesta conversa que eu lhe falei da importância do Roteiro, e foi também nesta conversa que me surgiu o conceito de Cinema Caligráfico. Ele me instigou a fazer um clipe de 6 a 8 minutos sobre o filme desaparecido na Cinemateca. Do clipe que seria saiu o In Memoriam - O Roteiro do Gravador.

Ainda, quanto a por que fazê-lo?...  Certamente não o fiz por causa disso… Mas o fato é que a Arte antecipa a História. Agora você está precisando deste filme para denunciar ao mundo a tragédia que está acontecendo com a nova tentativa contemporânea de genocídio da alma brasileira. Da Brasilidade.

L: Quem era Adriano Fonseca Filho? Por que o filme é dedicado a ele? Você considera seu filme um desaparecido político também?

SL: É exatamente isso. O Roteiro do Gravador é um jovem (juventude é promessa) desaparecido político, desarmado, assassinado e enterrado sem cova no território do Araguaia.5 Adriano Fonseca Filho, como outros na sua geração de românticos, morreu aos 27 anos, depois de passar pela vida como um cometa. Contemporâneo na Faculdade Nacional de Filosofia e meu primo, foi o primeiro beatnik do Rio de Janeiro, em seguida, dos primeiros hippies. Depois, larga tudo e se engaja na luta armada contra a ditadura.
L: O filme é apropriadamente intitulado "In Memoriam", como que aceitando a perda de O Roteiro do Gravador e tecendo um elogio a ele. Como esse processo se daria no público, que não conhece o filme? Como elogiar um filme que não se pode assistir?

SL: Como eu já disse, o título "In Memoriam" vem precedido de uma ?. Ainda espero encontrá-lo.  Assim como o Brasil precisa de se reencontrar… Justamente no acervo do seu passado.

De qualquer forma, tecendo mais que um elogio, eu diria, uma elegia ao meu primeiro filme (“elogios não devem ser confundidos com elegias, que são poemas escritos em tributo à morte de alguém”), com o In memoriam, cuja sinopse é, “um filme sobre a morte e o renascimento do Cinema”. Considero que o Cavi, cumprindo o seu papel de produtor, me passou a bola na hora certa para eu fazer um gol de placa. Fazer um filme sobre um filme que não existe é para o público exatamente o que é o Cinema. A eterna busca pelo tesouro perdido.

De qualquer forma, tecendo mais que um elogio, eu diria, uma elegia ao meu primeiro filme (“elogios não devem ser confundidos com elegias, que são poemas escritos em tributo à morte de alguém”), com o In memoriam, cuja sinopse é, “um filme sobre a morte e o renascimento do Cinema”.

L: O filme se concentra muito nos espaços da Cinemateca do MAMe na história de lá. Por que foi importante contar a história da Cinemateca junto com a história de seu filme?

SL: Porque a Cinemateca do Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, foi, não apenas para a minha Geração do Cinema de Invenção Brasileiro, o abrigo, na figura do seu Diretor Clovis Alves Netto; lá, madrugadas adentro montei a maior parte dos meus filmes.
Mas também e principalmente, anote-se o plano de abertura do In memoriam, pela força da arquitetura pujante de um Brasil pulsante, que começou a ser castrado em 1964. O Edifício do MAM, do arquiteto Affonso Eduardo Reidy é um símbolo vivo de uma época/alma brasileira que precisa ser resgatada. E isto pode ser mais viável do que se imagina.
L: Você está trabalhando em algum novo projeto?

SL: Com certeza! Sem projeto, o que é da vida? E como Cinema é a Arte que não se faz sozinho  (mas de mãos dadas) e para mim, quase sempre os filmes começam por seus títulos: FOROFINA To Africa L’Afrique Na África, uma coprodução Brasil/Africa para a qual já estou reunindo colaboradores numa organização sem fins lucrativos, Centro Cultural África/Brasil/África, que terá por objetivo principal promover a Coprodução de filmes, em todos os formatos, entre o Brasil e a África.

Começando pelo curta Forofina Um Filme A Ser Feito. Trata-se de um curta-metragem promocional para o lançamento de um crowdfunding. Quanto a sinopse de Forofina, trata-se de uma história de amor, como milhares que acontecem todos os dias, cada uma com a sua particularidade, sendo a particularidade desta a de envolver a paixão entre dois continentes, dois povos, dois sangues gerando Vida e mais Amor.

1. Sylvio Lanna’s Calligraphic Cinema  

2. A large, thin knife that can go straight through an animal’s heart.

3. Departamento de Ordem Política e Social (Department of Political and Social Order), was the official repression agency of the military dictatorship, where political prisoners were taken to be tortured and interrogated. There was a DOPS building at every state capital.

4. Sponge gourd, or Luffa cylindrica.

5. The Araguaia Guerilla was an armed political movement which opposed the military dictatorship in the Araguaia river basin. During the 1970s, the military executed most of its members and concealed their remains.


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Limite: What can you tell us about the film O Roteiro do Gravador (1967), a work that is still being searched for within the Cinemateca do MAM archive? What kind of film was it? Who was involved?

Sylvio Lanna: To answer the first question, O Roteiro do Gravador is filled with gems: it was the first film, a medium-length film, made by a restless youth who, as a 23-year-old Philosophy major, chose instead Cinema = Freedom. Meanwhile, Brazil had been under a military dictatorship since 1964, and a few months later the May 68 protests would erupt in France, where the Nouvelle Vague projected a revolutionary cinema. O Roteiro do Gravador is an existential film. It takes place from the perspective of an individual in the apocalyptic world of the Cold War (which was the situation we were living in then), and his process of knowing love and the collective. In Memoriam is in search (“...of Lost Time”) of O Roteiro do Gravador. It opens with a ?, hence why you’re very precise when you say “still searching for it within the Cinemateca do MAM archive”, after all it is two copies of the image and sound negatives of a 16mm, 30-minute film that are around somewhere… In that deposit receipt shown in the film, other works of mine are listed, they are also stored there and have temporarily disappeared. I chose to focus on Roteiro because it is the seed of my cinema - poetic, inquisitive and adventurous. Calligraphic. The main idea, an individual charging against a megalopolis with nothing but an audio recorder in which he registers his memories of an apocalyptic world, is something that I go back to, in a different way, in the fascinating sound experience that became the feature film Sagrada Família. Such is the cinema I make: one film generates the other. I belong to the generation of cinephiles that saw the birth of the concept of auteur cinema. Now, the evolution of technology has reached Dziga Vertov’s insight, and the camera is like a pen.
Such is the cinema I make: one film generates the other. I belong to the generation of cinephiles that saw the birth of the concept of auteur cinema. Now, the evolution of technology has reached Dziga Vertov’s insight, and the camera is like a pen.
As for the second question, “what kind of film is it?”, I keep a website called Cinema Caligráfico de Sylvio Lanna.1  O Roteiro, first and foremost, can be classified as the first of my calligraphic films (a few of my films don’t fit into that category). Because the film was a document of a period when the dictatorship had institutionalized torture, art had to be metaphorical. The film therefore shows the slaughtering of a pig in an annoyingly violent way, bled with a peixeiraat the Aterro do Flamengo (which was under construction then), with the city in the background. This scene accounted for radically mixed reactions from the audience of the famous Cine Paissandú 16mm Film Festival of 1967; in 74, in Copenhagen, that same scene made me lose a Danish friend. O Roteiro has the main influences of my whole life, Luís Buñuel, and the one big influence from that period, Glauber Rocha.

Who worked on it? Good question… In that film, Andrea Tonacci (as cinematographer and cameraman) and I sealed our immense friendship and partnership, which soon after made it possible for us to direct our first feature films, respectively Bang Bang and Sagrada Família. The main actors were the poet Pedro Garcia, who was my classmate at the National Faculty of Philosophy (Faculdade Nacional de Filosofia) and Lucia Milanez. It is imperative that, once a copy of O Roteiro is recovered, the music is preserved, with the sax solos of none other than the brilliant Victor Assis Brasil, improvised in the studio while watching the film without sound, accompanied by Flávia Calabi on the transverse flute.

L: Did public exhibitions of O Roteiro do Gravador take place?

SL: Stories from the Cinema of Life. Today, you can store your film on things smaller than a pen drive. One generation ago, you would have to carry copies of your films in your backpack. I literally lived on the road for a good portion of my life. This was the first time I truly identified with the ideas of my generation. On planet Earth, life happens in generations. In 68, with the cash I got from German TV to produce, write, and direct “The History of Superstition Around Brazilian Football” (... and since cinema is editing, one year later I would put together, alongside Tonacci, the short film Superstição e Futebol which was awarded the main prize at the 1st Oberhausen Sports Film Festival in 1970), I hitchhiked through South America. Still in Brazil, in Rio Grande do Sul, I was arrested by the military, a suspect of being an informer of the União Nacional dos Estudantes (National Student Union), which had been designated an illegal organization. I spent fifteen days in solitary confinement, and when I was freed, I had a long talk with the colonel who commanded the Porto Alegre DOPS3  about O Roteiro do Gravador. I resumed my trip and in Rosário, Argentina, held a screening of my film at the Faculty of Medicine followed by a night-long debate. In 1979, in New York, at a party for filmmakers, we discussed the possibility of adapting O Roteiro to a New York setting.
L: How long did it take between the discovery that O Roteiro do Gravador could not be tracked down and the decision to make In Memoriam? And what made you decide to actually begin making this film?

SL: Cinema is editing, and so is life. At least mine is. Since making films in Brazil was explicitly impossible for me, because my 1987 film Malandro, termo civilizado ou MALANDRANDO had been boycotted, my life took a turn and led me back to my hometown, and to the beginning of a long story: the project “A Bucha Vegetal Brasileira”.4 It was a practical proposition for an environmental and social educational project and these ideas were universal. If only politicians had enough will to solve the problems that afflict us…

During this project, we worked with farmers and audiovisual artists to propose changed habits of consumption and to replace synthetic sponges with biodegradable Luffas. And so, I had been far from cinema when, about 10 years ago, I got a request to sign an authorization to move the negatives of Sagrada Família, which I had stored at the Cinemateca do MAM in Rio, to the Cinemateca Brasileira in São Paulo. Together with the Cinemateca de Lisboa, they were going to finance the restoration, and make a new copy to be screened in Lisbon. I authorized it. But at first, the archivists weren’t able to find the negatives, so I had to go to Rio, where the negatives were stored after the new copy was finally made, and I witnessed the chaos the Cinemateca do MAM was then embroiled in. Now, the same situation is happening again with the Cinemateca Brasileira in São Paulo, as criminal and systematic destruction goes on throughout the country.
Sylvio Lanna with his Bio-degradable Luffa
As to why I decided to make In Memoriam, it’s things of life (that would be a great title for a film, huh?). Life moved on, I abandoned the Luffa project, and decided to go back to making films. I met the great Cavi [Borges]. He proposed a re-release of my old films. And I told him of the importance of O Roteiro, in the same talk where I had the insight of the concept of Calligraphic Cinema. He urged me to make a 6 to 8-minute clip about the the film in the Cinemateca. That’s where the idea of In Memoriam - O Roteiro do Gravador came from.

Still about that subject... I certainly didn’t make the film for this, but the fact is, Art anticipates History. Now my film is necessary to show the world the tragedy of this new attempt at the genocide of the Brazilian soul.

L: Who was Adriano Fonseca Filho? Why is the film dedicated to him? Do you consider your film to be politically disappeared too?

SL: That’s exactly right. O Roteiro do Gravador is young (youth is promise), politically disappeared, unarmed, assassinated, and buried without a grave in Araguaian territory.5 Adriano Fonseca Filho, like other romantics of his generation, died at age 27, after going through life like a comet. He went to college with me at the Faculdade Nacional de Filosofia, and he was my cousin. He was the first beatnik of Rio de Janeiro. Then, he became one of the first hippies. Later, he abandoned everything to join the armed resistance against the dictatorship.
L: The film is titled "In Memoriam", as if a eulogy is being made to O Roteiro do Gravador while it is still being searched for. How does one memorialize a movie that cannot be seen? And if the film cannot be seen, what then is being memorialized?

SL: As I said before, the title In Memoriam is preceded by a ?. I still hope to find it. Just like Brazil needs to find itself again… Precisely in the archives of its past.

Anyway, I would call it an elegy to my first film (an eulogy shouldn’t be confused with an elegy, which is a poem in honor of someone’s death). The synopsis of In Memoriam reads, “A film about the death and rebirth of Cinema”. I think Cavi, in his role as the producer, passed me the ball just in time for me to score a great goal. A film about a film that doesn’t exist is, to an audience, exactly what cinema is. The eternal search for the lost treasure.

Anyway, I would call it an elegy to my first film (an eulogy shouldn’t be confused withan elegy, which is a poem in honor of someone’s death). The synopsis of In Memoriam reads, “A film about the death and rebirth of Cinema”.

L: The film focuses a lot on the spaces of the MAM Cinematheque and the history of the institution. Why was it important to tell the story of the Cinematheque along with the story of your film?

SL: It was important because the Cinemateque of the Rio de Janeiro Museum of Modern Art represented, to my generation of the Brazilian Cinema de Invenção, a shelter in the figure of its director, Cosme Alves Netto. It was there that, long into the night, I edited most of my films.
But also, and mainly, as seen in the opening shot of In Memoriam, due to the strong and powerful architecture of a pulsating Brazil, which began to be castrated in 1964. The MAM building, made by the architect Affonso Eduardo Reidy, is a living symbol of a time/soul in Brazil that needs to be recovered.And that may be more viable than it seems.
L: Are you working on any new projects?

SL: Of course! Without projects, what is life? Cinema is the Art form that can’t be done alone (but hand in hand). My films almost always begin by the title; Forofina To Africa L’Afrique Na África is the name of my current project. The film stems from a Brazil/Africa/? co-production to which I am gathering new collaborators in the goal to create a non-profit organization, the Africa/Brazil/Africa Cultural Center, whose main objective is to stimulate the co-production of films in all formats between Brazil and Africa.

We begin this work with the short film Forofina Um Filme A Ser Feito. This short film intended to promote the crowdfunding campaign to gather money in. As for the plot, Forofina is a love story like millions that happen every day, each one with their peculiarities, and the peculiarity of this one is the passion between two continents, two peoples, two bloods which begets Life and more Love.

1. Sylvio Lanna’s Calligraphic Cinema  

2. A large, thin knife that can go straight through an animal’s heart.

3. Departamento de Ordem Política e Social (Department of Political and Social Order), was the official repression agency of the military dictatorship, where political prisoners were taken to be tortured and interrogated. There was a DOPS building at every state capital.

4. Sponge gourd, or Luffa cylindrica.

5. The Araguaia Guerilla was an armed political movement which opposed the military dictatorship in the Araguaia river basin. During the 1970s, the military executed most of its members and concealed their remains.


IMAGE BY luiz paulo lima

Abolition: the Atlantic Cinema of Zózimo Bulbul

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Abolition: the Atlantic Cinema of Zózimo Bulbul

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Abolition: the Atlantic Cinema of Zózimo Bulbul

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Abolition – A Brief Introduction to the Film
1988 marked the 100th anniversary of the Lei Áurea in Brazil, the legislation that officially emancipated slaves throughout the country. This anniversary sparked conversations about the historical significance of the Lei Áurea, and provoked new criticisms about how far Brazil had come in its treatment of Black people since that historical decree. It was in light of this renewed interest in the Lei Áurea that actor/filmmaker/activist Zózimo Bulbul debuted Abolição (Abolition), his first and only feature film as a director and the product of more than ten years of thorough research. Bulbul intended to use this anniversary as an opportunity to critically reflect on the conditions of Black Brazilians after the emancipation and to demonstrate that the abolition in fact had been a farcical scam. Notwithstanding that there were other films1 produced at that time which covered the Lei Áurea and racism in Brazil, Bulbul’s film explored these topics in a particularly unique way - it was the first Brazilian film shot by a nearly all-Black crew to portray the reflections of Black Brazilians on their own post-abolition condition.

One of the major aspects which made Bulbul’s filmmaking process stand-out from the other works that explored the conditions of Black people in Brazil is the breadth of locations which the film covers. The crew of Abolition traveled with their camera through sites and cities that remain crucial to the development of Afro-Brazilian culture. These included Bahia and Pernambuco (Northeast), Manaus (North), Rio Grande do Sul (Deep South), and São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro (Southeast). Another of Abolition’s achievements is the way that Bulbul managed to shed light on a diverse array of situations in which Black people were living. For example, the crew captured interviews with key icons from the Afro-Brazilian community, such as Abdias do Nascimento, Lélia Gonzalez, Carlos Medeiros, Beatriz Nascimento, Grande Otelo, Joel Rufino dos Santos and Benedita da Silva. In the film, these interviews are occasionally shown on-screen sharing perspectives informed by their own Blackness, but in other moments, voices from the interviews materialize as the camera shifts its attention to Black bodies that are, despite being part of our social urban fabric, perpetually rendered invisible throughout our history: workers, the homeless population, the impoverished living in the slums, the street artists and so on.
Why Abolition?
I’ve been involved with the work of recuperating Abolition’s historical materials on a daily basis since I began the graduate studies program in Communications at Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro two years ago, and I recently concluded the program with a master’s dissertation on the film. As I began conducting research for my dissertation, I encountered a scarcity of information on Bulbul’s lone feature film. There are only a few academic works that cover the cineaste’s life—all of which barely discuss Abolition—and I had not come across any work that provides it with a thorough analysis. This makes clear that despite receiving awards at Brazilian film festivals, as well as overseas,2 the documentary went on to make only a minor impact on the world of film academia. Noel dos Santos Carvalho, a film teacher and researcher from Universidade de Campinas (UNICAMP), attests to how the film was met with indifference: “With its 150 minute duration, Abolition did not find approval with the audience. Not even among Black people. The conversation around it was limited to a small circle of intellectuals and Black activists”.3 Carvalho’s testimony poses several questions: Why was Abolition seen by so few people? Why was its impact so minimal? What is the film’s legacy among today’s Black researchers?

Aside from investigating these questions, this article will bring together some of the memories and recollections from the Abolition film crew that I gathered while interviewing them for my master’s thesis. These memories and recollections are vital towards gaining an updated understanding of the film today, as it is important to appreciate that Abolition was the universal effort of many forces of Black creativity. In the eyes of researcher Heitor Augusto (2018), investigating the creation of Abolition allows us to comprehend the nuances of a film that was conceived and executed by Black creators during a moment when new ideas, projects, and perspectives, both in Black Brazilian cinema and intellectual thought at large were emerging. The core crew members of Abolition were/are trailblazers in that they executed roles that were unprecedented for Black professionals. However, perhaps even more importantly, they reclaimed the legitimacy of their enunciative position and their right to tell their own stories. From behind the camera (or even because of it) this crew contributed to the theorization and structuring of Black cinema, a field that was practically nonexistent in Brazil at that time.
In conversation with the film crew
On January 28, 2020, on a hot Rio de Janeiro afternoon, I first encountered Vantoen Pereira Jr. Pereira Jr. played a decisive role as a facilitator on Abolition’s production, and he still works to promote the film and fights to preserve its memories. In my conversation with Pereira Jr., he started off by bringing me back to the origin of Abolition, towards the earliest days when Bulbul first began developing the project.

According to Pereira Jr., Abolition began to take shape around 1977 on an immersive trip that he and Bulbul took to Búzios, a city located in Rio de Janeiro’s lake areas. He recounts that Bulbul, who had just returned from a self-imposed exile4, rented a house at Rasa beach and immediately began writing. Bulbul set out to incorporate some of the social, historical, and aesthetic investigations to be found within his previous films Alma no Olho (Soul in the Eye, 1973) and Dia de Alforria (Emancipation Day, 1981). In addition, Bulbul had gathered new ideas and information throughout his journey through Africa, Europe and the United States, and he was eager to incorporate this into a new project. While working in Búzios, Bulbul used a typewriter to register his memories and recollections from this journey.

Then, in 1986, after nearly a decade of research during which he was working towards a final draft of the screenplay, Bulbul put together the crew that would bring Abolition to life. From the very beginning, Bulbul expressed his predilection for having an all-Black crew since he believed that only professionals from the Black community would be able to bring the specific perspectives needed to make the film. However, though the race criteria was important to Bulbul, it was not the determining factor as to who would get hired to work on Abolition. While I will touch on this point further on, I find it imperative to now introduce eight crew members from Aboliton and explain the important role they played in its production. But before delving into these testimonies, I must stress the importance of analyzing Abolition through the point of view of the professionals whose jobs aren’t typically perceived with the same level of prestige enjoyed by screenwriters and directors (both roles personified by Bulbul in the case of Abolition). The conception and the construction of a work of cinema such as Abolition is necessarily based on the input of a collective, and by bringing to light the voices and experiences of the crew members on this predominantly Black film set, we are able to delve deeper into the film, following the tracks left by their accounts and collective memories. We can then begin to comprehend how the need for collectivity, or “aquilombamento”5 stems from the desire to forge a space where people can show each other affection, actively listen to one another, forge new connections, and discover identities.
Deusa Dineris

The first crew member that I would like to highlight was the only Black woman to be a part of the making of Abolition, Deusa Dineris. Dineris was one of the film’s most important contributors and she was invited to join the project in 1986, right before shooting started. At the time, she had been working as an advertising executive for the advertising company Momento Filmes.6 During the film’s funding stage, the producers identified the need to create a co-production in order to compete for a grant from Embrafilme, and therefore Momento Filmes acted as the co-producer. Through this co-production, Dineris got involved with the film; but she explains that her involvement only happened by chance, since she wasn’t working in cinema at that time.

Dineris and Bulbul’s first encounter took place at Momento’s headquarters. She knew very little about Abolition, only that the crew was made of eleven men and one Black woman, Anya Sartor, who was expected to work as the continuity supervisor despite having a previous career in acting. Just before shooting began, Sartor had to withdraw from the project for personal reasons. This left a major gap within the production crew, and there was now the challenge to find another Black woman who could fill in for Sartor. Bulbul believed it was necessary to have a racialized feminine perspective as part of the crew and to the surprise of Dineris, Bulbul and owner of Momento Filmes (Jerônimo César) decided to invite her to fill the position vacated by Sartos. Although Dineris initially showed reluctance in accepting this offer due to her lack of experience in the film industry, in the end, Bulbul managed to convince her to work on the film.
Dineris on the the set
Image From the collection of Deusa Dineris

In our interview, Dineris recollected that being the only Black woman on the crew was not a challenge for her, as she had three prior experiences working for publicity agencies where there were no other racialized women on staff. However, the real challenge for her was accepting a job that she had no previous experience in. By working on the documentary, she likely became the first Black woman to serve as a continuity supervisor on a Brazilian film. The fact that it took so long for a female to fill this role may come as a shock to many. But it is important to keep in mind that it was only in 1984 — 4 years before Abolition — that the first feature length film directed by a Black Brazilian woman hit the theaters. This was Adélia Sampaio’s Amor Maldito (Cursed Love).
In a film industry dominated by white men, the presence of Dineris was of fundamental importance to Abolition. Throughout the interviews I conducted with the film’s eight crew members, each emphasized that the presence of Dineris on the predominantly male film set allowed the film to be less oriented towards the male-gaze. However, during the production of Abolition, there remained the all too common gender-oriented working dynamic that privileged men. Dineris recounts that because the crew was so small, she accumulated new tasks beyond her initial role as the continuity supervisor, becoming actively engaged as assistant director and producer. “While the crew would go to the bar after the shooting, I’d stay indoors working and getting everything ready for the next morning”, she recalls. Such unbalanced divisions of labor reveal that there was still gender stereotyping throughout the making of Abolition.

Despite these obstacles, Dineris reveals that being part of the film had a direct influence on the growth of her own budding racial identity. It is no coincidence that, after working on the documentary, Dineris decided to quit the advertising business and become engaged with the Black struggle, eventually launching an event-production company7 solely dedicated to promoting Black artists.
Deusa Dineris during the shooting of Abolition at the Pelourinho square in Salvador, Bahia
Image From the collection of Deusa Dineris
Dineris has preserved both her personal memories and memorabilia from the period of making Abolition. On the day of our interview, she brought pictures, a book autographed to her by the journalist Edmar Morel (who is featured in the film), and a publicity folder produced for the release of the movie. She passed that folder onto me as a gift, remarking on the importance of sharing it with future generations in order to show the ways in which Brazilian films were advertised during the pre-Internet era.

My conversation with Dineris and the act of investigating her role in the film was one of the most thought-provoking parts of my research, and her narrative is crucial towards understanding what working dynamics were like on the film set of Abolition. A Black cinema — that is, a cinema made by Black creators — must be mindful of intersectionality. In its efforts toward building a nearly all-Black crew, Abolition contributed to larger efforts of inserting Black professionals in the film industry, all the while reproducing gender stereotypes and sexist microaggressions in its division of labor.
Vantoen Pereira Jr.
Vantoen Pereira Jr. and Zózimo Bulbull
Coming from a career in photography, Vantoen Pereira Jr. joined the crew of Abolition with former experiences in the arts. But it was through Bulbul, who was like an uncle and godfather, that he first began to learn about cinema. Since Bulbul never had children, he and Pereira Jr. were able to forge something like a father-son relationship. I would like to stress that this close relationship, as well as Pereira Jr.’s previous experience as a still photographer for well-regarded directors such as Nelson Pereira dos Santos, José Medeiros and Roberto Farias, helped create a familial atmosphere on the set of Abolition.

The official role that Periera Jr. had on Abolition was assistant cinematographer alongside DP Miguel Rio Branco, but his involvement in making the film went beyond that—he witnessed and contributed to early research in Búzios, and he read over Bulbul’s initial screenplay drafts. Bulbul also had a profound influence on Periera Jr., as he was able to develop his photographer’s eye while working on the set of Abolition. Bulbul changed my "understandings around image-making, visual poetics and working practices”, Pereira Jr. said. During our conversation, Pereira Jr. walked me through each step of Abolition’s filmmaking process. He made sure to reiterate that Abolition is a very meaningful film, and insisted that we can glean much more from it than what was initially grasped during the time of its release.According to him, it was a film for the future, to be explored by generations to come.

Pereira Jr. is not merely a source for valuable archival material related to the film (as he has preserved photographs and documents from the film sets), but he also serves as a precious carrier of memories related to Abolition’s production previously known only to him. Of these memories, Pereira Jr. recollects that Bulbul often stressed the “importance of family” throughout the filmmaking process; according to him, Bulbul emphasized this idea because he believed that it was an important force in providing a reconnection and reconstruction for Black families who were torn apart as a result of centuries of slavery. Pereira Jr. also discussed how community building and the power of encounter were key ideas that influenced Bulbul throughout his career, even claiming that one of Bulbul’s intentions with Abolition was to explain why thousands of Black families were separated and decimated since the Lei Áurea.

Pereira Jr. was instrumental to both Abolition and to my research. In our conversations he shared fresh information and diligently helped me contact the rest of the crew. As I look back at those moments when I held my interview with seven of the crew members, sharing the same space for the first time in years, I realize how important it was to have them all together in a friendly environment.
Severino Dadá

Severino Dadá worked as the editor for Bulbul’s second film, the documentary Aniceto do Império em dia de Alforria? (1981). In our conversation, Dadá recalled that he was first to be formally invited by Bulbul—with whom he had been friends since the 1970s—to work on Abolition. The two shared thoughts throughout the entire pre-production process, from providing input on the screenplay to helping Bulbul choose the interviewees. Every member of the crew who worked on Abolition is reverent towards Dadá, who is famous for his encyclopedic knowledge, and recognized for his fundamental contributions to Brazilian cinema. Dadá is one of the most active film editors within the history of Brazilian Cinema, his credits amounting to more than 300 films. His fondness for Bulbul was visible when he spoke about Abolition, as he emotionally recalled the intimate friendship which he had with the filmmaker that contributed to this crucial chapter in Brazilian cinema history.

Before working on Abolition, Dadá had already enjoyed a prolific career as an editor, having worked with prominent Brazilian directors such as NelsonPereira dos Santos and Rogério Sganzerla. A native of Pedra, a small city located in the backcountry of Pernambuco state in the Northeastern Coast of Brazil, Dadá began his career as a radio announcer. However, he soon migrated to cinema once he joined the independent film club circuit. His life-trajectory soon intersected with Brazil’s immediate political history as he was incarcerated and tortured by the military during Brazil’s military dictatorship8. Both Dadá’s background as a native of Pernambuco and his political activism were vital to the ways in which he contributed to Abolition. Also, as one of the few white crew members, his political convictions and perspectives as a nordestino9 offered a fresh perspective to the film.

One of the many stories Dadá told me recounts the day that Bulbul was informed of Embrafilme’s decision to fund Abolition. The director invited the editor to São João Batista Cemetery in Botafogo on the South Side of Rio de Janeiro, in order to deliver an ebó, which is a type of offering that is part of the tradition of various Afro-Brazilian religions. The ebó was being delivered by Bulbul to express his thankfulness for receiving the awarded grant that would make the production of the film possible. As they entered the cemetery, a police car that was circling in the vicinity approached them. One of the officers stepped out the vehicle, and he recognized both Dadá and Bulbul. That officer was Paulo Copacabana, who had worked as an actor in some films, including Roberto Farias’s O Assalto ao Trem Pagador (Assault on the Pay Train, 1962) and J.B. Tanko’s Bom Mesmo é Carnaval (Carnival is Truly Good, 1962). As he questioned them for their reasons of being in front of the cemetery late at night, Dadá and Bulbul explained they were about to execute a thanking ritual. Copacabana then proceeded to put them both inside the police vehicle and drove them to a nearby bar in order to celebrate the film grant; they all sat together—Dadá, Bulbul, Copacabana and another cop, who eventually paid the bill.

Another less humorous anecdote recounted by Dadá involved Pelé, elected in 1980 as the Athlete of the Century by the French paper L’Equipe. As an international superstar and the Black symbol of soccer at the time, Pelé was invited to be interviewed and share his thoughts on racism in sports. Pelé declined the invitation, explaining that he believed racism did not exist in Brazil. Disappointed with his stance, Bulbul and Dadá were forced to look for another figure to be interviewed in the film, someone who had a more critical perspective on racial issues in sports, especially in soccer. They ultimately invited Paulo Cézar Caju, who was known throughout his career as a lone critical voice of racism in soccer. Caju promptly accepted being interviewed for the documentary, where he devoted harsh criticisms towards Pelé due to his lack of engagement in the Black struggle. The response to this was immediate: Pelé’s lawyer contacted Bulbul to communicate the athlete's wishes to have the interview removed from the film, as it tarnished his image. Despite such extreme pressure, Caju’s opinions remained in the final cut.

This situation illuminates the difficulties one faces when trying to begin a conversation about racism in Brazil. What Bulbul encountered with Pelé is a common situation in Brazil: eitherBlack figures refuse to acknowledge structural racism or they give the packaged, standardized answer that, despite the existence of prejudice in society, they themselves were never the target of it. I’m left to wonder how painful it must have been forBulbul to hear from Brazil’s most important athlete that racism is a fiction by which he was never hurt. The episode serves as a clear testament to the obstacles that the film had to overcome in providing a more truthful representation of Black life in Brazil.
Alexandre Tadeu, Edson Alves, and Biza Vianna

Alexandre Tadeu, a film electrician, met Vantoen Pereira Jr. when they worked together on Roberto Farias’s Pra Frente Brasil (1982) and they quickly became friends. Soon thereafter, Tadeu met and became friends with Bulbul, as they both frequently attended the bars and night life of Lapa, a historic neighborhood in downtown Rio de Janeiro. Their favorite place to meet became “Tangará”, a tavern where they would exchange new ideas about cinema. Tadeu recalls that they never directly talked about Abolition during those encounters and that he only became familiar with the project when editor Severino Dadá took Bulbul to the offices of Memento Filmes. As a staff member of Memento Filmes, Tadeu naturally became involved with the production of Abolition, offering the crew support with company rental equipment. Tadeu also remembers that during post-production, he would accompany Dadá and Bulbul in the cutting room, and after a long shift of work they would head to São Salvador square, in Laranjeiras, to discuss all of the editing choices of the day.

Edson Alves, aka “Edinho”, was a professional lighting technician and electrician who had a brief stint working on the set of Abolition for ten days. His work can be prominently seen in the fictional sequences in early half of the film.10 However, despite the fact that Ediho only worked on the set for a short period, his presence was very important to Deusa Dineris, who recounted in our interview that she learned many of the ins and outs of a film set from Edinho. I would like to emphasize this relationship between Edson and Dineris it reflects the importance of aquilombamento on the making of Abolition. It was made evident throughout the interviews I conducted that the sense of shared identity and communion that Abolition’s production offered the crew was a respite from the previous experiences that they had in white-dominated working environments which precluded this form of collectivity.

Bulbul’s widow, Biza Vianna, shared with me that the couple were forced to break the agreement they had made to never work together, especially on film shoots. She joined the project at the last minute because it urgently needed a costume designer for the aforementioned fictional sequence in which Princess Isabel reads the proclamation of emancipation. Vianna had a career working in fashion and theater, so she joined the crew and was responsible for both the costume of the fictional characters and the clothing of the crew members who would eventually be shown on-screen in key sequences. Vianna used Zapatistas Army of National Liberation as an inspiration for dressing the crew as a way to suggest an image of a Latin-American resistance. She considers her role on the film to have been small, but other members of the team such as Pereira Jr. and Flávio Leandro think otherwise, stressing the importance of Vianna as both a professional and Bulbul’s partner, whose legacy she oversees today.
Alexandre Tadeu, Fernando Spencer, Severino Dadá e Zózimo Bulbul, during the film editing
Miguel Rio Branco

Lastly, it is paramount to explore the role of cinematographer Miguel Rio Branco, the only white man on the Abolition shooting crew. Prior to joining the production, his work as a photographer had shown a predilection for popular culture, as can be seen in the series Maciel (1979). Maciel documents the precarious conditions in the oldest areas of Pelourinho, a historic neighborhood in Salvador, Bahia. Years later, Rio Branco directed Nada levarei quando morrer, Aqueles que mim deve cobrarei no inferno  (1985), a key short film in his career.11 By the time he worked on Bulbul’s documentary he already was a nationally and internationally acclaimed artist, especially praised for his photography. In August of 2019 I travelled to Araras, a city on the mountains of Rio de Janeiro, to interview Rio Branco and record his memories from working on Abolition. Rio Branco did not maintain close contact with Bulbul and the rest of the crew after shooting completed, and therefore his thoughts on the final version of the film are enigmatic. According to Biza Vianna, Rio Branco distanced himself from the documentary upon its completion, “never [making] any effort to learn about the film”.

Although Bulbul had wanted to assemble an all-Black crew, he faced challenges when it came to choosing a DP, since, according to Dadá and Flavio Leandro, there were very few Black cinematographers in Brazil. Bulbul believed that Rio Branco’s vast oeuvre12 of photographing Black bodies would provide him with the necessary experience to shoot Abolition. When I brought this up to Rio Branco during our conversation, he disagreed that this was the reason that had led Bulbul to choose him as DP. According to him, “As long as you have the ability to gaze and possess technical knowledge, you can photograph any type of body, black or white”. I believe that this statement deserves further scrutiny.

Rio Branco’s understanding is opposite to that of Eustáquio Neves, another well-regarded Brazilian photographer who has discussed his struggles during the 1980s to find the right camera equipment appropriate for capturing different shades of dark skin. Neves became known for having developed alternative and multidisciplinary techniques to manipulate film negatives and positives to suit this purpose. According to Neves:
Lighting standards weren’t developed having darker skins in mind, but rather to the Caucasians’. It used to be very difficult to photograph a Black woman in a white wedding dress. One ended up having to lighten the skin instead of portraying the color as it was originally. I used to believe that I didn’t know how to photograph, until I realized the issue wasn’t me, but the standards.13
Neves’s statement reveals that it wasn’t just a matter of having a pure ability to take good photographs, since properly photographing Black bodies involved overcoming different technological factors and social norms that were created by the photographic industry and which went unchallenged for many years. As Abolition would be a film that mostly rendered Black bodies, the aesthetic choices behind the film’s cinematography was a matter taken into serious consideration by Bulbul. Not only was Bulbul forced to reckon with the technical limitations of producing an authentic image of Black bodies, but he also had to consider the cinematographer’s subjective gaze. It was therefore necessary to count on a DP who could be sensitive to these issues. Despite his declared indifference to the systemic prejudices of technical cinematography at the time, Rio Branco’s success with Maciel led Bulbul to believe that the photographer could deliver an image similar to what he had in mind. Despite the disparate choice, the partnership between Bulbul and Rio Branco yielded beautiful results, as the film went on to win the Best Cinematography award at the Festival de Brasília. Rio Branco revealed that he was surprised to receive this award, since he believed that the film’s strengths were its research and screenplay, particularly the unprecedented coverage of the emancipation of slavery by Black creators.

There was also a disagreement between Bulbul and Rio Branco over Bulbul’s decision to pre-conceive the form in which the film would take, as this implied that there would be very little room for debate and experimentation in the film's mode of visuality. Of course, this “preconceived form” was in fact a reflection of Bulbul’s clarity of vision for Abolition. The film was the very definition of a passion project for Bulbul, who therefore knew how he wanted the film to look and what form of construction it should take. For a white cinematographer such as Rio Branco who was used to having greater autonomy in the decision-making process on the set of a film, being relegated to the role of an observer felt like a disappointment. The friction between Rio Branco and Bulbul, of which remnants can still be felt today, reveals the social hierarchy of race within working relationships, and how it was and still is difficult for white people to take directions from Black professionals.

In fact, as a white man, Rio Branco was amazed that he was even invited to work on Abolition.14 During our conversation he expressed that: “In the United States they would never cast me as the DP of a film like this, and my presence in it shows that we Brazilians enjoy the possibility of a bigger interracial relationship than other countries”. However, when we look at the history of racial disparities within the Brazilian film industry, they reveal that Brazilian cinema has always been a predominantly white industry. A thorough examination of the Brazilian film industry sponsored in 2017 by GEMAA (Study Group for Affirmative Action)15 revealed a severely segregated landscape throughout the history of Brazilian cinema. GEMAA’s study looked at the highest grossing Brazilian films between 1970 and 2016. Their findings revealed that gender and racial inequality have always been the norm within the Brazilian film industry. The study claims:
Between 1970 and 2016, the highest grossing films (works seen by more than 500 thousand people) were predominantly directed by white men (98%). We couldn’t identify a single director who was a person of color, though we must state that 13% of the titles couldn’t be analyzed due to lack of data. When it comes to gender, we noticed a very low number of women working as directors: only 2%. And none of them were Black.16
When analyzing the screenwriters of those titles, “only 8% were women and the only Black woman we could identify in the sample was Julciléa Telles, who was the co-writer of the sex comedy A Gostosa da Gafieira”.17 Despite the fact that GEMAA’s study only took into consideration feature-length fiction films, I believe the landscape wouldn’t be much different had other modes or formats of filmmaking been considered.

There is one final element related to Bulbul hiring Rio Branco that is important to note. In my conversations with the film crew, they revealed that Bulbul saw this hiring as a strategic decision: by inviting in a member of the Brazilian elite,18 Bulbul was inverting the common social hierarchy in which white men had all of the decision-making power on a film set. When we consider the hiring from this perspective, we see the irony in Bulbul’s choice. It’s surely no accident that Rio Branco is the only crew member that is never featured on-screen throughout the film. This indicates that the self-reflexivity of Abolition was not intended to include the position of its own DP.

In concluding my analyses of the roles that each crew member had on Abolition, I would like to highlight one last component related to the personal dynamics of the crew. Throughout the interviews I conducted, each crew member mentioned the importance of “tavern talk”, an expression of Bulbul’s that was meant to be applied and understood as an ethical value. Cultivating a bohemian lifestyle was seen by Bulbul as an important ritual that one must always engage in, and even include it within work processes. Upon listening to the crew’s memories of working on the film, I soon realized that many decisions that went into the construction of the film were made during encounters at bars and taverns. It is worth noting here that the word “bohemia”, beyond its connotations of pleasure and entertainment, also connotes a social-cultural practice that takes into account lived experiences from different subjectivities. There are political implications to be gleaned when considering that a nearly all-Black crew was circulating and, to a certain extent, occupying areas of Rio de Janeiro, a city that still to this day disguises its hostility towards Black bodies. Congregating within these spaces and sharing discussions among one another certainly played a significant role in the film’s construction and in the way that the crew bonded throughout the filmmaking process.
The Commercial Distribution and Further Legacy of Abolition
Abolition was finished in 1988 after extensive periods of research, production, and post-production. Bulbul’s expectations for the film were high, as he had just completed a work of unprecedented depth that was to be released in the same year that marked the centennial of the Lei Áurea, one of the most important moments for Brazilian Black activism in the 20th century. This was a period of intense conversations and debates around many topics involving racial issues, and the representation of Black people in film and television was among the most discussed. Bulbul’s goal was to make a major contribution to that conversation.

Everyone involved with the film hoped Abolition would spark a meaningful and broad conversation around these issues, and they all hoped that the film would be released in the commercial circuit and screened at various film festivals. One of the reasons that the crew hoped the film would achieve this success is summarized by researcher Noel dos Santos Carvalho, as he claims the documentary “objectively manifests the political stances taken by Black activism since the 1970s”.19 Bulbul believed Abolition would also serve as a counternarrative to other contemporary productions around the centennial celebration of the emancipation. Bulbul made sure to detach himself from any production that he believed posed an opposition to his political values, which, according to Carvalho, led him to refuse taking part in a special production by Rede Globo, Brazil’s biggest communications conglomerate, that would celebrate the anniversary. He claimed, “There were artists and Black activists who pressed me to be there. But I don’t work for free for [Globo’s founder] Roberto Marinho. And besides, I found their show a demagogic piece”.20

Bulbul was completely engaged in securing a commercial run for his film, and his widow Biza Vianna recalls how releasing the documentary became one of the biggest frustrations of his life. Abolition did not resonate with the public nearly to the extent he had hoped for. When I asked the crew and Vianna about why the film was received so poorly, they all referred to a boycott coming from certain players and intelligentsia within Brazil’s film circles, and within Embrafilme, the state-owned company responsible for distributing the documentary.
    
The topic of Brazilian commercial film distribution was analyzed by researcher Patrícia Selonk, who highlighted the role played by Embrafilme as the main sponsor of our films since the company’s conception in 1969 until its implosion in 1990. According to Selonk, Embrafilme provided a certain level of infrastructure and helped forge a new public interest in Brazilian cinema despite the fact that the market was dominated by foreign studios. However, Embrafilme’s practices were also met with criticism from filmmakers who made the accusation that they prioritized certain films while delaying the commercial release of others:
Júlio Bressane and Rogério Sganzerla were critical of Embrafilme for its close ties with specific producers, such as Luis Carlos Barreto. The company’s chief of distribution, Marco Aurélio Marcondes, would justify his practices on the basis that these filmmakers’ works were underground, therefore wouldn’t be the recipient of a major financial injection by any distributor.21
Although the fundamental role of Embrafilme was to sponsor new works of Brazilian cinema, they often made insufficient efforts to distribute the films that they had funded to make. When analyzing Abolition’s commercial run – or lack thereof – the mindset of those at the head of Embrafilme becomes evident. The crew members I’ve interviewed assert that the documentary was never officially released, and its distribution was limited to screenings at film festivals in 1988, among which were the Festival de Brasília and the Cine Rio Festival.22 During the latter festival, Vianna recollects that the film was not programmed as part of the main section, in which films were projected within an actual film theater. On the contrary, Abolition was only programmed in a sidebar of outdoor screenings. Similarly, the first showing of Abolition was at an outdoor screening in Bulbul’s hometown, the affluent neighborhood of Ipanema. The screening took place at Nossa Senhora da Paz square and was packed with many viewers and guests. One of them, according to Vantoen Pereira Jr., was a young Spike Lee, who was in Brazil promoting his second feature, She’s Gotta Have It.

Edinho Alves and Alexandre Tadeu explain that the film crew ended up taking the task of distributing the documentary into their own hands. They improvised a communications strategy, which included spreading posters around the city and booking screenings outside of Rio de Janeiro. Regardless of their initial success in attracting a large crowd to the film’s premiere, Abolition would go on to barely make an impact on the national film market, never enjoying an official commercial run.

Beyond Embrafilme’s active disengagement from helping to distribute Abolition, another factor that contributed to the film’s poor reception is its duration. The current cut of Abolition is two hours and thirty minutes long, and according to Flávio Leandro, this negatively influenced the audience’s ability to embrace the work. The length of the film proved to become a point of contention between Bulbul and his crew. The first cut was over four hours long, and it required a strenuous effort on the part of the film crew to convince him to acquiesce to a shorter version.

Therefore, without adequate institutional support or the financial means to distribute Abolition independently, the documentary was only shown overseas years after its completion:
Abolition was awarded at Festival de Brasília ’88 and it also won something in Cuba and while I was at a film festival there, I was invited to show the film in New York. I was also awarded there, but in my country not even a line was written on the papers on the film and on the awards. I came back to Brazil profoundly sad with the international recognition the film enjoyed, while here nothing happened, neither with the film, nor with me. I expected to be known, to show the film, I wanted to be out there talking about it, discussing both Brazilian film history and the topics touched by my documentary, but in the end it felt like “shut up, nigger, there’s no racism in Brazil! You’re making these things up!” That brought a great deal of frustration.22
The lack of acknowledgement and financial support for Black filmmakers, even those with proven abilities such as Bulbul, caused the cineaste to take a long hiatus as a director. Only in 2001, when he received a grant from Rio de Janeiro’s state production fund dedicated to short films, did he produce and direct another film, the documentary Pequena África (2001).23 In the same year he also finished Samba no trem (2001).24 Despite not working as a director between 1988 and the early 2000s, Bulbul’s life was filled with remarkable experiences. He would go on to cement his important legacy with the creation of the Centro Afro-Carioca de Cinema (Afro-Carioca Center for Cinema). The frustrations that Bulbul experienced throughout the release of Abolition drove him to take a personal journey that resulted in the idea to create a space where he could show his films as well those of other Black filmmakers.

In 1997, when he had the opportunity to travel to Burkina Faso to participate in the 15th Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou,25 he realized how much his work was recognized and appreciated.
(...) They gave me warm reception. From the airport to the hotel and throughout the duration of the festival, I was respected as a Black Brazilian, as a filmmaker and as a guest. When I saw all those people at the opening ceremony, more than 20 thousand people gathered at a track field, it moved me. The difference between “FESPACO” and other film festivals around the world is that over there regular people from Burkina and the neighboring countries engage with the event, while “Cannes” or even “Festival do Rio” are held to the elite, not to the people. 26
Experiences such as those at FESPACO helped to forge Bulbul’s conviction that a new landscape for Brazilian cinema needed to be established. It wasn’t enough to just make films, there was also an urgency to create a circuit for the screening of Black-directed films. As Abolition’s distribution saga illustrates, Black creators faced a double impediment: even when they were able to overcome the difficulties in completing their films, they still had to fight a distribution and exhibition system that was specifically designed to exclude them from theater screens.
Team photo with Edmar Morel
Final considerations
In conclusion, I wish to share with you my individual trajectory throughout the course of conducting research for my Master’s thesis. I consider myself a member of a generation of Black youth that have been promoting long-silenced conversations and reclaiming the memories of those who have paved the way for us to finally occupy spaces to which we have been historically denied. The very possibility of being able to conduct my research was the result of those who have paved the way before me. In my eyes this is the true legacy of Abolition: providing greater esteem for Black culture, giving it the regard and study it deserves, and scrutinizing history for the purposes of making intellectual contributions to society at large. As an art form, cinema is a tool that has the power to affect, to move and to create new ways of seeing and understanding. To be able to watch and identify myself in a documentary made 32 years ago illustrates how cinema can be timeless.

This change was made possible by the social policies implemented throughout Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s and Dilma Rousseff’s administrations, as they pushed for programs aiming to fight for equal access to education. The implementation of race-based affirmative actions and the establishment of programs such as Universidade Para Todos (PROUNI, University for All,)27 provided an important aid that allowed a younger Black and unprivileged generation to go to college, graduate and find better opportunities within the job market. My own trajectory intersects with these policies: as a recipient of a scholarship from PROUNI, I managed to finish college and subsequently enroll in an advanced studies program. At that program, I was inspired to conduct the research from which this article stems.

It’s also important to highlight the expansion of broadband internet throughout new territories in Brazil, as well as the arrival of cheaper technological devices that enabled the rising of new voices from underprivileged areas of Brazilian society. These voices are now creating radical works of art that continue to push forward the conversations kept alive by Bulbul and others. I would also like to take the opportunity to acknowledge that I was only able to start my research on Abolition due to an unofficial, sole hyperlink that is available on a Facebook page devoted to the film (@AbolicaoZozimoBulbul). In the early stages of my research, before I was provided with an official link to the film, that page allowed me to re-watch the documentary multiple times, thus structuring the analysis I’ve developed during my master’s thesis. That same hyperlink, and , and the video available on Limite, makes it possible for Abolition to be seen by a wider range of people.  Bulbul’s accomplishment is a work that must be revisited today so that we can finally acknowledge it as an important and unique historical documentation of our country and a pioneering work of Black cinema throughout the world.

1. For example, Eduardo Coutinho’s documentary Fio da Memória (1988) and Abolição, a miniseries written by Wilson Aguiar Filho for TV Globo.

2. Best Historical Research and Best Cinematography at the 21st Festival de Brasília do Cinema Brasileiro in 1988; Best Documentary at the New York Latino Film Festival in 1989; and Best Poster at the 11th Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano, in 1989, Havana, Cuba.

3. Noel dos Santos Carvalho,. “O Produtor e o cineasta Zózimo Bulbul – o inventor do CinemaNegro Brasileiro”. Revista Crioula, São Paulo, n. 12, nov. 2012,p. 18.

4. In 1974, Bulbul attempted to obtain permission from Brazil’s censorship bureau that would allow him to screen his latest film, “Alma no Olho”. However, he was called upon by the military to be interrogated. “They were suspicious about the film and its authorship, so they requested Bulbul to decode the images, since they thought there was some implicit subversive leftist message. After this event, which lasted for days, feeling psychologically pressured by the general political atmosphere, and fearful of the repressive state forces that were then persecuting artists, he traveled to New York intending to remain away from Brazil for a while.” (CARVALHO, 2012, p. 14)

5. The “quilombos” (“maroon communities”) were constituted, according toBeatriz Nascimento, as spaces for resistance, for political organization and for reframing cultural and social values for Black people and their descendants. “Aquilombar”, which in English could be interpreted as “gathering ourselves as a quilombo”, is a political and epistemological notion that hase merged specifically out of the cultural-historical Afro-Brazilian process. SeeAnother Gaze’s discussion of the concept here.

6. Momento Filmes is a production company located at Laranjeiras, a neighborhood at the South Side of Rio de Janeiro. The business operations of Momento Filmes were mostly focused towards advertisements, but they also partnered in the production of several short films and some feature films, particularly from independent filmmakers. Additionally, Momento Filmes rented out film equipment.

7. Among the events produced by her company, Dineris emphasizes a party called “100% afrobrasileiro” (“100% Afro-Brazilian”), which was dedicated to promoting Black artists who weren’t part of the mainstream Rio de Janeiro cultural circuit.

8. Brazil was being ruled under a military dictatorship between 1964 -1985  

9. Besides serving as a geographical marker, “Nordestino” also represents a specific cultural and sociali dentity that relates to characteristics specific to the Northeast side ofBrazil. Abolition documents some of the cultural expressions of the “nordestino” identity, such as the “Teatro de Mamulengo and the “Emboladoresde Recife”.

10. These fictional scenes took place at the house of the Marquess of Santos in São Cristóvão neighborhood, located on the North Side of Rio deJaneiro.

11. This film belongs to the Inhotim Museum’s collection in the state Minas Gerais.

12. Miguel Rio Branco is a photographer who documented areas marked by violence, degradation and neglection by the state. The majority of the population in these areas, due to reasons made explicit by this article, were Black.

13. Velasco, 2016, n.p

14. Rio Branco was with the crew members for the majority of the shooting, but had to withdraw from the film when they were shooting the scenes at the Palace of the Marquess of Santos, due to health complications related to hepatitis that was aggravated by his heavy alcohol consumption during the filming.  

15. The full report can be read at: http://gemaa.iesp.uerj.br/boletins/boletim-gemaa-2-raca-e-genero-no-cinema-brasileiro-1970-2016/ (only in Portuguese)  

16. Ibid.

17. Ibid.

18. Miguel Rio Branco is the great-grandson of the Baron of Rio Branco and the great-great-grandson of the Viscount of Rio Branco, besides being the son of a diplomat.

19. Noel dos Santos Carvalho,. “O Produtor e o cineasta Zózimo Bulbul – o inventor do Cinema Negro Brasileiro”. Revista Crioula, São Paulo, n. 12, nov. 2012, p. 17.

20. Ibid 19.

21. Selonk, 2004, p. 98

22. The Rio Cine Festival was launched in 1984. After a fusion with the Mostra Banco Nacional de Cinema, it became, in1999, the Festival do Rio, as it’s known today.

23. Bulbul, 2007 apud DE; Vianna, 2014

24. Noeldos Santos Carvalho,. “O Produtor e o cineasta Zózimo Bulbul – o inventor do Cinema Negro Brasileiro”. Revista Crioula, São Paulo, n. 12, nov. 2012, p. 19.

25. The Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou is the largest African film festival. It’s a biennial event held at Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capital, where the headquarters are located.

26. Bulbul, 2007 apud, DE; Vianna, 2014

27. Established by the Law nº 11.096, officialized in January 13, 2005, the Programa Universidade Para Todos (PROUNI, University for All) offers scholarships for students who have enrolled in private universities, since in Brazil only the State and Federal universities are tuition-free. The program, which also sponsors students interested in further specialization, is funded through a system of tax-exemption organized by the national government.
REFERENCES

AUGUSTO, Heitor. Past,Present and Future: Cinema, Black Cinema and Short Films. In: Catálogo do 20o FestivalInternacional de Curtas de Belo Horizonte, Belo Horizonte, Fundação Clóvis Salgado, 2018. 

CARVALHO, Noel dosSantos. Cinema e representação racial: o cinema negro de Zózimo Bulbul. São Paulo, 2006. Tese (Doutorado) – Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas.Universidade de São Paulo. São Paulo, 2006. 

_____. O Produtor e o cineasta Zózimo Bulbul – o inventor do Cinema Negro Brasileiro. Revista Crioula, São Paulo, n. 12, nov. 2012.  

DE Jefferson e VIANNA, Biza. Zózimo Bulbul: uma alma carioca. Rio de Janeiro: Centro Afro Carioca de Cinema, 2014. 

NASCIMENTO, Beatriz. O conceito de quilombo ea resistência afro-brasileira. In: Nascimento, Elisa Larkin (Org.). Cultura emmovimento: matrizes africanas e ativismo negro no Brasil. São Paulo: Selo Negro,2008. p. 71 -91. 

SELONK, Patrícia. Distribuição Cinematográfica no Brasil e suasRepercussões. Pontifícia Universidade do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, 2004.  

VELASCO, Suzana. Sob a luz tropical: racismo e padrões de cor da indústria fotográfica no Brasil. Revista Zum, São Paulo: Instituto xMoreira Salles (IMS), n. 10, 2016. Disponível em:< https://revistazum.com.br/revista-zum-10/racismo-padroes-industria-brasil/> Acesso em 14/03/2020
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  1. Universal Exhibition or the World’s Fair were large events designed to showcase international achievements that were very important in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Terra Encantada was shot during the Independence Centenary International Exposition, held from 1922 to 1923 in Rio de Janeiro.
  2. Chanchada was the term given to the Brazilian popular musical comedies of the 1940s and 1950s by critics of the time. These critics considered these films to be simply bad copies of Hollywood features of the same genre. Atlântida was the most famous, but not the only, studio to produce chanchadas.
  3. I’m referring here to Christensen’s films Rei Pelé (1961), a biopic, and Cronica da Cidade Amada (1964), a widescreen film that can currently only be seen in a horribly cropped digital copy taken from a VHS tape.

In 2007, I worked as a cataloguer at the Cinemateca Brasileira, Brazil's largest film archive.  A major part of the job was analyzing materials that had recently been donated to the archive and it was not uncommon to run into large collections of 16mm films, still kept in Kodak and Ansco film boxes, complete with nicely handwritten notes displaying what they contained. Despite the quantity of home movies that arrived at the archive, prior to this moment I had rarely heard or read about Brazilian home movies and amateur films. After having the opportunity to view some of these films, I quickly became fascinated with them. It was surprising to me that they provided a chance to see life in Brazil in the 1920s and 1930s from a different point of view, meaning not only a glimpse into the lives of amateur filmmakers and their common aesthetics — trembling cameras, faces directly gazing into the camera, jump cuts and discontinuity — but also images of city life that were made from an unofficial perspective. Despite the fact that home movies of this period were produced by bourgeois families, they remain extremely valuable historical documents because they provide us with a closer look at elements that went beyond the middle class home, such as images of  historical events, people enjoying leisure time and living within public spaces. In my young cataloguer’s mind, it was obvious that this topic needed further research.
My first encounter with home movies became the starting point of a long path of research that began with a project that focused on the collection of home movies that are deposited at Cinemateca Brasileira. Working on this collection resulted in my dissertation, "Filmes domésticos, uma abordagem a partir da Cinemateca Brasileira”, the research for which was undertaken at the Federal University of São Carlos. My goal in this project was to build further knowledge about this collection of home movies and to bring more visibility to what was an emerging field in Brazilian film historiography. My research focused on establishing the historical roots underlying the arrival of amateur film equipment in Brazil. Later, my aforementioned path of research led me towards learning about the amateur cinema clubs and festivals throughout the 1920s and 1950s that formed in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. As Brazilian home movies remain a field with numerous research possibilities, I am currently studying one of the most important film festivals of the 1960s, the "Festival de Cinema Amador JB/Mesbla" organized by the Jornal do Brasil newspaper, which screened the first short films of filmmakers such as Rogério Sganzerla, Andrea Tonacci, Neville D'Almeida, and many other important filmmakers, editors, producers, actresses and actors who were amongst its participants.
I begin with this personal note because more than ten years ago, home movies and amateur films were not a common topic of discussion among those working in the fields of audiovisual preservation and academia in Brazil. But since then, many “Home Movie Day” events have been organized in film archives and festivals across the country. As a field of research in Brazil, the history of domestic filmmaking once mainly relied on foreign references, but over the past few decades numerous dissertations and theses have been written about the national history of home movies. In this regard, I wish to highlight the recent publication of the book Cinema doméstico brasileiro (1920-1965) by researcher and professor Thaís Blank, a pioneer work within our field. Blank’s work focuses on a wide-ranging field of research that begins with  examining the historical roots of home movies and its different genres, taking different collections deposited in Brazilian archives as primary sources. The book provides close investigation of films and contains thorough archival research. The author delineates the process of patrimonialization of domestic cinema and the increasing interest held by national and regional archives in preserving an area of film production (home and amateur movies) that allows different perspectives regarding film history and a deeper understanding of local and regional histories.
The last part of Blank's book is dedicated to the migration of raw material in home movies from their original state to their incorporation into documentary films. The archival fever that has overtaken contemporary cinema has also given a new centrality to home movies and amateur films, materials often used in weaving a personal and experimental cinema. Here I mention some Brazilian short and feature films derived from a much more extensive list that prominently utilize or incorporate home movies:
Supermemórias (Danilo Carvalho, 2013), an experimental film using Super 8mm film from the city of Fortaleza that has been screened in numerous film festivals and has received academic attention.
Já Visto, Jamais Visto (Andrea Tonacci, 2013), an intricate montage film made with Andrea Tonacci’s personal archive and "left overs" from his lifelong career in filmmaking.
Extratos (Sinai Sganzerla, 2019), a short-film made with 16mm footage shot by Rogério Sganzerla and Helena Ignez (the director’s parents as well as the major figures of Brazilian underground experimental filmmaking in the late 60s and 70s) during their years in exile, as they escaped the Brazilian dictatorship installed in 1964.
Fartura (Yasmin Thayná, 2019), a collage film with photographs and home videos of  Black families and their affective bonding through the sharing of food and common festivities.
Academic research and contemporary cinema has evidently played a pivotal role in the discovery of home movies as a valuable source for history and artistic creation. What also stands as one of the most important conquests of the field is the launch of LUPA - Laboratório Universitário de Preservação Audiovisual, a university film archive dedicated to film preservation education and collecting amateur films from the State of Rio de Janeiro. Part of the Department of Cinema and Video Studies of UFF - Universidade Federal Fluminense, one of the only films schools in the country with a mandatory course on film preservation integrated in the curriculum, LUPA began operating in 2017. Guided by the energy of coordinator Rafael de Luna Freire, film preservationist and professor of the same department, the initial LUPA project nurtured the desire to create a space where the work of researchers and film preservationists could walk hand in hand, shortening the gap between universities and film archives.
Another one of LUPA’s foremost prerogatives is to contribute to the preservation of those film materials that still receive little attention from film archives: amateur films and the wide array of orphan films from the state of Rio de Janeiro. As the concept indicates, orphan films are those which do not possess a clear status of authorship or legal right holdings. They can also be understood as film materials that don't belong in the traditional cinematic dispositif (a narrative feature screened in a movie theater), as they have different functionalities: educational, scientific, nostalgic, along with the myriad other forms of appreciation the moving image can assume. What I’ve learned from my experience with these kinds of materials is that, rather frequently, people are not aware of the historical research value they hold and are unsure where to take these artifacts when practical help in film conservation is needed. As the only film archive dedicated to this kind of production in Rio de Janeiro, LUPA soon received its first donation: The J. Nunes Collection. The J. Nunes Collection holds nine reels of 9.5mm film shot in the 1930s and 1940s. Digitized at the laboratory of Cinemateca Brasileira, these images are now available on LUPA's website.
The J. Nunes Collection gives us an interesting look at amateur film culture and how the production and consumption of moving images worked in the 1930s and 1940s. During this time period, amateur films were often produced by Pathé and many portrayed quotidian life in the streets. The images within the J. Nunes Collection provide insights into how leisure time was enjoyed by a middle-class family in Rio de Janeiro: bullfights, religious festivities, trips to the country and a day at the beach. Carnaval was definitely the favorite pastime of this particular family. The films dedicated to this national festivity also show different forms of capturing the extremely popular celebration, each one with a particular aesthetics.
Pathé Baby apresenta: O Carnaval de 1936 was most likely made by hired professionals who sold images to Pathé or produced films exclusively in the 9.5mm format. The film is introduced with steady titles (“Pathé Baby presents”) and serves as news coverage of the parades and street festivities taking place on the Avenida Rio Branco. The corsos,1 with people parading in cars (at the time a very important indicator of social status), the "ranchos”2 and the "sociedades carnavalescas"3, which paraded with large, ornamented cars and gentlemen riding horses: all these can be seen in the six minute reel. These professional reels were sold by Pathé, the French giant that served as the main supplier in feeding a demand for cinematic home viewing in Brazil, while also offering film projectors and accessories. Pathé maintained a consumer market the company had inaugurated in 1912 with the 28mm Pathé-KOK system, known as "Cinematographe du Salon", or “cinema in the living room”. In 1913 this French system was already sold in Rio de Janeiro by Companhia Cinematographica Brasileira. In 1922, Pathé launched its most successful system for domestic cinema, the 9.5mm Pathé-Baby, and in September of 1923 the company established the Societé Franco-Bresilienne du Pathé-Baby, a branch for the Brazilian market. Two months later, the company was permitted by Brazilian authorities to start its commercial activities in Rio de Janeiro. Understanding that the history and preservation of film technology and equipment is a crucial aspect of film history, LUPA has acquired and organized a collection of film cameras and equipment, part of which have been made available to different exhibitions.
In O Carnaval de 1936 and Tourada, Festa da Igreja da Penha e Carnaval, images of carnaval are captured by amateur hands, noticeable through the shots in which the camera comes in close proximity to the dressed up “foliões".4 Even though some of the locations in these films are the same as those that were captured in the more professional cinematic productions of Rio, here we find a rarer depiction of these areas, with spontaneous street celebrations, followed by the adults and children of the Nunes family playing and singing while dressed up as Chinese dancers. The beauty and the energy of the crowded streets, the body movements, the joy of a group of children; this spontaneity gives the spectator a very intense feeling of the cultural and existential meaning of carnaval, a feeling of rare translation. Expressions of joy can also be found in the core images of Festa da Penha, a religious celebration in a traditional neighborhood of Zona Norte, and in the scenes of the bathers in Balneário da Urca. The film displays a day spent at the beach and views of the Urca Casino and the Sugar Loaf, both famous sites for tourists. In a different film, Amador J.Nunes saúda todos os amigos e presentes, amateur dexterity can be seen in nicely shot intertitles, as the film begins as a sort of reflexive home movie: a woman holds an amateur 16mm camera and points it directly at the main camera which is shooting.  This reflexive gesture denotes the popular interest in cameras and in the act of filming itself, and we understand from the film that amateurism is about the sheer love of image making and the subjective cinematic experience.
The process of safekeeping these images and making them accessible are gestures of extreme importance towards building the perception that home movies and amateur films are vital materials to be studied and preserved. As a regional film archive, LUPA has amassed different collections in the past few years, including important personal archives such as documentation regarding Carlos Fonseca, film critic and producer with a long career in cultural management at institutions such as Instituto Nacional de Cinema (INC), as well as the materials of many other amateur filmmakers and collectors.  These new collections have been revised and organized by students, and the documentation is made available through LUPA's website even while the cataloguing work is still in process, making LUPA an indispensable space for practice and experimentation with strategies for granting access to archival collections. Decentralizing preservation efforts is an urgent issue in Brazil and LUPA is an example of how we can observe that home movies and amateur films are important sources for local histories. The maturation of what was a new field of study ten years ago is a cause for celebration, as amateur and orphan films solidify their place as one of the central initiatives in contemporary film preservation.

1. A parade of cars, very common in Carnaval celebrations of the first decades of the 20th century.  

2. A group of costumed Carnaval goers playing musical instruments, singing and celebrating in the streets.  

3. Associations dedicated to promoting parades and competitions during Carnaval. Some researchers indicate that they were the inspiration for the Samba schools.

4. Foliões are people who participate in the Carnaval parties.
1. Attraction and Retraction
Usually, we would begin an analysis of black representation in Brazilian cinema by listing a group of films associated with the Cinema Novo movement: Aruanda (Linduarte Noronha, 1960), The Turning Wind (Barravento, Glauber Rocha, 1962), Five Times Favela (Cinco vezes favela, Carlos Diegues, Leon Hirszman, Marcos Farias, Miguel Borges and Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, 1962), Bahia of All Saints (Bahia de todos os santos, Trigueirinho Neto, 1961), The Big Market (A grande feira, Roberto Pires, 1961), Ganga Zumba (Carlos Diegues, 1964). One can disrupt this corpus by offering an expanded view, mentioning two films that do not adhere to the stereotypical, paternalistic or submissive portrayals of black people often found throughout Brazilian cinema. Closer to the filmic language of Cinema Novo, we have Compasso de Espera (Marking Time, Antunes Filho, 1972). Compasso is linked to the movement's second phase where urban themes and the contradictions of the middle class are present in films such as The Dare (O Desafio, Paulo César Saraceni, 1965) and Bebel, Advertisement Girl (Bebel, garota propaganda, Maurice Capovilla, 1968). Soul in the Eye (Alma no Olho, Zózimo Bulbul, 1973), on the other hand, the first film by black filmmaker Zózimo Bulbul (made with leftover film stock from Compasso de Espera), distances itself from the Cinema Novo films, finding its strength in John Coltrane’s jazz and performance elements. Zózimo Bulbul stars in Compasso and directs Soul, so these films form a diptych via an umbilical relationship. Inspired by Eldridge Cleaver’s book Soul on Ice (1968),1 Soul in the Eye is Bulbul’s seminal work. It was made in the context of Cinema Novo but marks itself right from the start with an ambiguous distancing, an oscillation which would accompany the filmmaker throughout his oeuvre, both aesthetically and politically. Consequently, the films of Antunes Filho and Bulbul are simultaneously close and distant from the priorities that the Cinema Novo movement had delineated in the 1960s.
Despite eventual criticism towards black representation in the films of the Cinema Novo movement, Noel dos Santos Carvalho points out that the movement marked an important change of attitude in that respect:
Cinema Novo put black people front and center, away from the stereotypes spread in the past by the chanchadas, the films of the Vera Cruz Company and such. Its anti-racism was based on: 1) condemning racial stereotypes; 2) ignoring the concept of race in favor of the generalistic concept of people; 3) dealing with aspects of black history, religiosity and culture. (...) However, we want to emphasize the change of attitude, the disruption represented by a group of films that took black people away from stereotypical roles and made them the protagonists of their own stories.2
Applying cinema as a tool for thought and anti-racist political practice marks the common ground among Cinema Novo films. However, when considering the form and approach of the films, particularly those associated with black matters, Bulbul’s films appear distant from the Cinema Novo movement. In 1982, amid obscure transactions by Embrafilme,3 Bulbul harshly criticized Carlos Diegues and Walter Lima Jr., and even turned down an offer to work on King Chico (Chico Rei, Walter Lima Jr., 1985), because he considered it “historically abhorrent”, and “mild”, made to be shown “on Globo”.4 He opposed the film’s representation of black people but also the kind of filmic experience it provided, which to Zózimo was innocuous and lacking invention.
The plot thickens. Years later, in the epigraph of his first feature film, Abolition (Abolição, 1988), Bulbul inserts a dedication to two members of the Cinema Novo movement, Glauber Rocha and Leon Hirszman. It was a controversial move because, upon returning to Brazil after a self-imposed exile in Europe,5 it was noticeable how his relationship of attraction-retraction to Cinema Novo remained intact. In fact, today, it seems more accurate to evoke Bulbul as the filmmaker who worked with forms and themes that required an experimental style that no other Cinema Novo filmmaker had the tools to create. This dichotomy offers us a way to determine just how much of an alien Abolition is, be it in relation to Brazilian documentaries, to Cinema Novo or even to Bulbul’s own oeuvre. When considering the relations between cinema, Blackness and racism in Brazil, we identify in Abolition a sort of forcefield which indicates that, rather than integrating or not integrating hegemonic movements, Zózimo chose to follow his own path.
2. Atlantic Cinema
Abolition deals with filmic language within a specific technical and aesthetic dimension by extrapolating its documentary values and proposing a singular experience. Abolition is therefore linked to a group of films that deal with the relationship between documentary and fiction. It is organized in registers, interviews, archive footage and staged scenes in order to expose the opportunistic articulation between the historical lie of the abolition of slavery and the lived reality of black people in contemporary Brazil. Today, more than thirty years after its debut, Abolition seems less like “an expanded Alma no Olho”6 and more like an experience which resonates with these formally exploratory documentary and fiction works. It can accordingly be seen as an “Atlantic” film, i.e., a film made to bring forth a cosmos of free associations. Other examples include films such as The Age of Earth (A Idade da Terra, Glauber Rocha, 1980), Twenty Years Later (Cabra Marcado para Morrer, Eduardo Coutinho, 1984), Ôrí (Raquel Gerber, 1989), and The Thread of Memory (O Fio da Memória, Eduardo Coutinho, 1991). Atlantic Cinema is a cinema of crossing, a cinema pervaded by colonial and racial themes that are at the same time direct and indirect, objective and subjective. Atlantic Cinema contains a myriad of signs in movement through historical ages and facts, with a broad and dilated referential, in an audio-logo-visual polyphony embedded in the film’s form.
The film, with its unique approach, was not well-received by black filmmakers, black researchers or the black public — who, frankly, don’t usually have access to movie theaters. In a later essay on Bulbul, Noel dos Santos Carvalho reinforces the perception that Abolition’s experimentalism could not accomplish its intended effect, as it constituted “an inventory of speeches, performances and lectures regarding the abolition of slavery, which in part accounts for its irregular nature, its repetitions and excesses”. Carvalho also points out that “from the perspective of narrative structure, it’s the most didactic of these films, which adds to its irregular nature” and he adds: “Abolition, with a running time of 150 minutes, couldn't find acceptance from the audience. Not even among the black population. It was restricted to a small circle of intellectuals and activists of the black movement”. In his essay “Esboço para uma História do Negro no Cinema Brasileiro"7 Carvalho calls attention to the fact that the crew of the film was composed almost exclusively of black men and women (the exceptions being Miguel Rio Branco with his experimental cinematography and Severino Dadá with his precise editing), noting that “what we see is mediated by the gaze of this crew. So, it’s not only about telling the history of black people in Brazil, but having a black perspective of history”. In both cases, there seems to be a consensus that the eventual qualities of the film are present on a purely symbolic level, i.e., “out” of the film itself, whether due to the initial effort to try and problematize the abolition of slavery from a black gaze, or due to the representation of the ethnic composition of the crew. Ahead, I will propose some ideas based on the internal structure of the film, to affirm it as a major representation of Atlantic Cinema, the group of films that have formed a singular trajectory in Brazilian film.
3. Material and Treatment
In an interview with Peter Hessli in February 1994, American cinematographer Arthur Jafa makes a distinction between material and treatment. Not being able to choose the material with which to work, African diasporic creativity, self-affirmed by finding new uses, appropriates and deeply transforms the materials at hand: “So a lot of our creativity coalesced around the notion of treatment, that is, transforming in some meaningful fashion, given materials. (...)” Unlike photography and painting, in which the image, as a material product, is the point of arrival, the image produced by cinema is merely a point of departure. The equipment and materials needed to make a film are even more inaccessible to black populations, and so when black people appropriate it, it’s noticeable in very subtle ways. Jafa gives this example: John Coltrane taking My Favorite Things away from its original territory and, with a particular treatment, creating openings which were unthinkable until then, “African-American creativity has been shaped by the specific circumstances Black people found themselves in; we weren’t generally able to dictate the materials we were given to work with”. What makes Abolition extremely exceptional is that, unlike Bulbul’s first film, made with leftover film from Compasso de Espera, unlike the Cuban “archive cinema” of Nicolas Landrián and Santiago Álvarez or even Jafa himself, this film seems to be controlled both ways: in the style of its production and approach, there is a complete ownership of the creation and transformation of the material and the treatment. Said material and this treatment, coupled with the choice of a predominately black crew, indicate conscious aesthetic choices. 
Besides all this, Abolition holds its place in the realm of “Atlantic Cinema” for the cosmic quality it possesses. In the film, a linear narrative and a propagandistic representation of reality give way to a field in which Bulbul articulates interviews, archive recordings and photos. Organized in a non-linear way, the film is an ample space without a center, a work in favor of orality, a trancelike sequence of shots, staged interviews, rhythmic editing and local energy. Abolition cannot be simply reduced to a film that features a black gaze on black history, because history for the diasporic is never an ends but a means, a strategy always aimed at the future, for survival in a tough environment. This strategy has one purpose: to make life in the present possible. This seems to me to be he most potent definition of “ancestry”: the ability to tell one’s own history with enough power to break it apart and retell it, to build a singular historicity. So, this is not about an absent or idealized blackness, nor an integrated and coherent resistance movement which unravels in the light of mistakes and conflict. This is about a black man’s gaze encompassed by a black and non-black cosmos which involves him and with which he negotiates his very existence.
Abolition cannot be simply reduced to a film that features a black gaze on black history, because history for the diasporic is never an ends but a means, a strategy always aimed at the future, for survival in a tough environment. This strategy has one purpose: to make life in the present possible. This seems to me to be he most potent definition of “ancestry”: the ability to tell one’s own history with enough power to break it apart and retell it, to build a singular historicity.
4. “What about May 14th, 1888?”
The opening minutes of Abolition are crucial to understanding the way the film moves and develops. An intertitle with an historical marker exemplifies critical irreverence: May 12th, the day before the signing of the Lei Áurea, the documentation of Brazil’s official abolition of slavery. Further ahead, another intertitle: May 14th, 1888. In a text about the film, Bulbul asks: “how was May 14th, 1888?” Playing around with the dates moves the historical axis from the abolition as key event, in favor of relating its causes and consequences to the brutal, incomprehensible present, far from the grasp of history. Every image in the opening of the film is accompanied by the sound of the shutter cracking like a whip. We hear the voices of Clementina de Jesus, Tia Doca and Geraldo Filme singing "Canto I", from the 1982 album O Canto dos Escravos, part of the repertoire of work songs collected by philologist Aires da Mata Machado Filho in the late 1920s, in São João da Chapada, Diamantina, Minas Gerais. The shutter/whip accentuates each change of image — ultimately amassing a collection of photos and paintings that depict the horrors of slavery — in cuts that sometimes follow the rhythm perfectly and other times in a syncopated manner. The association between the shutter and the whip is meant to be in understood critically, signaling new and unexpected ways to think about racial issues in Brazil.
Finally, a third intertitle indicates: May 13th. “Dia de branco” (“day of the white [person]”), a once-common racist saying that was used to refer to the days of the work week in Brazil. A storm hits the city as the Abolition film crew arrives at the Imperial Palace, in Rio de Janeiro, where the shooting will take place. The key grip, a young black man, sets up a light. The lights are for the behind the scenes, there is no interview or any other reason for them. The film then proceeds to show a Congada8 coming into a church with banners. This elliptical manner of free associations, without explicit reason, is a prevalent structural element of the whole film. The variations in rhythm of editing and the interior lighting in the shot indicates a free conception of film form. All of the interviews in the film suggest a dramatic staging, contrary to the historical staging of the signing of the Lei Áurea. The über-fake feeling of this fictional signing of the Lei Áurea conveys to us that the law that freed the slaves was all an act. The purposefully idiotic intonation of actress Camila Amado, playing Princess Isabel, contrasts with the following scene, a long Carnaval parade in the Sambódromo,9 intercut with hilarious shots of the delirious Princess screaming from the balcony of her palace. From the portrayal of the colonial Princess who believed she was playing a key historical role, to the complex expression of Carnaval one hundred years later, an uncertain feeling stands out - something between beauty, discomfort and irony. In the Carnaval of Rio, Black bodies play instruments, dance, sing and work by pushing allegorical vehicles in the procession.10
The sequence of dedications which come soon after is peculiar: “to the master Glauber Rocha”, to Leon Hirszman and "to black filmmaker Hermínio de Oliveira", followed by a mention of the Movimento Negro Unificado (Unified Black Movement) over the images of carnavalgoers leaving the Sambódromo and heading to the Central do Brasil station. This station is where people usually take the train to the Zona Norte and Zona Oeste neighborhoods, as well as to the municipalities in Baixada Fluminense. At this moment in the film, we spot the great samba composer Catoni among the passerbys. We leave the harmonious sounds and dancing bodies of the Carnaval for the Central do Brasil station, and then move into the trains that take the black carnivalgoers to their homes in the Rio suburbs. Cut to a puppet theater show for children which deals directly with racism. Then, shots of the crowded Rio-Niterói ferry feature a synthesizer-heavy soundtrack reminiscent of Krautrock. Black construction workers and shoeshiners, a dog taking a dump, a woman at work, as we go into her house. A baby, a birth certificate dated 1868, and, then we stumble upon an impressive interview with Mr. Manoel, a former slave who, at 120 years of age, gives the following statement: “today we live in bitterness, we didn’t get paid but we had satisfaction. We were satisfied with the food, everyone was satisfied”.
A tone of subtle irony can be detected when we cut from the interview with the grandson of Princess Isabel, João de Orleans e Bragança, to the crew of black technicians with their equipment in hand leaving the Imperial Palace in a hurry. Then, with a single statement, Maria Beatriz do Nascimento dismantles the official truths of the Royal family by demonstrating how the political pact which culminated in the abolition of slavery threw the lives of the black population into precariousness. The passage from a Monarchy to a Republic:11 “black people stopped obeying their masters and started being controlled by the State”.
Joel Rufino sitting on a curb on the idyllic Pedra do Sal, the original stronghold of Rio’s urban samba. Bulbul and his editor, Severino Dadá, make use of an Eisensteinian montage, intercutting the Rufino interview with shots of waves hitting rocks. The sound design allows the urban soundscape and the musical soundtrack to coexist within the interview. Joel Rufino presents Aunt Carmen as a bastion of the Praça Onze, a location in Rio which at the start of the 20th century was known as Little Africa. Writer and actress Thereza Santos makes the assertion, while standing in a storm, that after the abolition the living conditions of black women grew worse.
Abolition, in effect, sets itself far from Cinema Novo by posing a different set of questions. The film relates to Brazilian history by parodying its sociological rules, and its style is similar to that of Frederick Wiseman’s in its use of cinema to apprehend reality by capturing objective information as well as fragmentary and temporary aspects. Such seemingly random displacements accentuate the polyphony and allow for an ambiguous relationship, either emphasizing Bulbul’s very presence, or sharing a space with the spectator, the crew, and the characters. It is not just about black gaze or Bulbul’s gaze; he captures a reality in the film that extrapolates subjectivity, organizing it by fields of action: modulation, intersections, fragments, rhythm and cutting, symbols, posters and words shown on screen.
5. Atlantic Trance
In Abolition, Bulbul allows for sections of the film to modulate through and from subtle changes in themes, signs and elements. One example of this is the samba and the various forms in which it is presented. There are sections in crossing, marked by intersections of the central issue with other “presences”, fragments and details which make it unstable: Native Brazilians, Northeasterners,12 and even white people, aiming at a tridimensional black gaze, i.e., opening up to a cosmological and sociological assimilation that is broader than what white hegemony allows. There is a fragmented and incomplete field intercut by shining presences. This field is marked by a very peculiar use of talking heads, shaped by the interaction of the camera with the interviewee: the theatrically beat-down presence of Benedita da Silva; Lélia Gonzalez talking and gesticulating in the sunlight. The bishop Dom Hélder Câmara providing a critical analysis of beaches overflowing with white bodies while Jards Macalé sings Rio sem tom, a song he wrote to criticize the fact that Tom Jobim had sold a song to Coca-Cola.13 Perhaps due to the influence of orthodox Marxism, Zózimo noticeably devoted very little time to Afro-Brazilian religions, favoring Dom Hélder’s strange interview. Even so, there is a precious interview with Mãe Filhinha, the founder of the IIê Axé Itayle terreiro14, in Cachoeira, Bahia.
Some critics and researchers have commented that Abolition is repetitive. I think this repetition is a necessary asset in the film’s structure, organized by intertwining themes and treatments. There is a trace of repetition which, like the absence of a narrator, can be understood as an aesthetic choice. And, like in The Age of the Earth, the repetition aims to provoke a state of trance, of hallucination. To repeat in order to hallucinate. Repetition brings forth the Atlantic trance. The consensus regarding Glauberian expression as an allegory begets very particular ways of exploring dynamic stasis, the static progression of the dispute between antagonistic forces, which indicates that, when it comes to Brazilian racism, everything is transformed in order to keep the status quo intact. As a complement to that field, there is the written word, posters, watchwords, and intertitles to rectify and break open the shots.
Some critics and researchers have commented that Abolition is repetitive. I think this repetition is a necessary asset in the film’s structure, organized by intertwining themes and treatments. There is a trace of repetition which, like the absence of a narrator, can be understood as an aesthetic choice. And, like in The Age of the Earth, the repetition aims to provoke a state of trance, of hallucination. To repeat in order to hallucinate. Repetition brings forth the Atlantic trance.
A particularly dark moment in the film is that of the anti-interview with anthropologist Gilberto Freyre, author of the classic study Casa Grande & Senzala.15 Unable to speak due to his poor health condition, Freyre is represented by hisson, who limits himself to repeating platitudes from Freyre’s work regarding the value of the “afroblack” element (his words). The camera moves slowly out of the room, as if to indicate an abandonment, which is reinforced by the underexposed cinematography. Other particularly interesting moments: the presence of communist politician Luís Carlos Prestes just twenty minutes into the film indicates a movement towards the unexpected, as it allows for a white political leader to speak in its first few minutes. Black sociologist and journalist Muniz Sodré walks through the corridors of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (I have to note how weird it is to see black people inside a Brazilian university in 1988). Francisco Lucrécio and Correia Leite tell the story of how the Frente Negra16  was founded in the 1930s. The Revolt of the Lash gets a special mention in the interviews of historian Edmar Morel and of the daughter of João Cândido.17 Two repentistas18 sing about the Abolition and the situation of black people in the history of Brazil.The widow of black poet and cultural agitator Solano Trindade complains that her husband’s memory is being erased. Abdias do Nascimento, a playwright, activist and politician, talks about his experience with the Black Experimental Theater.19 Reminiscent of Kanye West, a current icon who has blamed black people for slavery, singer Agnaldo Timóteo insists that first and foremost black people have to change their mentality. Composer Nei Lopes drinks beer while Paulo Moura plays his saxophone, in contrast with the part of São Paulo which is inhabited by people from the Northeast, cornered between misery and the commodification of life itself. Then, Zózimo exposes the violence of the Military Regime on black bodies. Despite the reflexive tone usually attributed to this film, Abolição doesn’t only express the vision of its author. Simultaneously close and away from Bulbul, a cinema with a collective soul is born, in a panel of diffuse presences, always elusive.
6. The Party is Over
The price paid for being black in Brazil is huge. Zózimo Bulbul’s trajectory in Brazilian cinema is linked to a personal effort to conquer his own ground to work in, and to make it possible for a black filmography to arise. The generosity of Bulbul’s Atlantic aesthetics is contrasted at times by a collective tendency to reinforce militant watchwords and the demand for basic rights. When a black person fails to correspond to what minority groups, society and even his brothers and sistas expect of him, his walk is even harder. Just ask Albert Ayler, John Coltrane or Itamar Assumpção. The list of black men and women who were misunderstood by the black movement because they failed to follow what the community considered appropriate is a long one. These black people are usually unlucky. Bulbul’s name is on that list, and so Abolition might have been a huge disappointment to those who followed his work. Either way, the film bets on collective experimentalism as a way to survive, even though it doesn’t end on an optimistic note.
Amid images of streets filled with trash and the luxury of show houses, Grande Otelo calls on the black “taskforce”: “Nothing was ever abolished and today we have it even worse, because now black and white people are slaves.” Next, black street children impress us with their direct, political discourse: “We are still slaves. No work, no healthcare, no education…” The tragic symbolism is exacerbated. These crescendo signals the end is near, just as the mamulengo doll announces: “And thus, ladies and gentlemen, we end our tragicomedy in various acts, without ever reaching the ending! The abolition of slavery in Brazil. Or, to put it bluntly: black people can go fuck themselves.” An intertitle announces the ending: “the party is over”. The camera is pointed at the Central do Brasil station, then moves slowly down behind the grates of Campo de Santana. The last shot is the Central do Brasil station seen from behind iron bars, materializing, with the camera movement, the mutual imprisonment and the thin dialectics of oppression.

1. Published in Brazil in 1971 under the title Alma no Exílio.

2. Carvalho, 2005

3. Embrafilme is the main producer of Brazilian films since the company’s conception in 1969 until its implosion in 1990. Embrafilme provided a certain level of infrastructure and helped forge a new public interest in Brazilian cinema despite the fact that the market was dominated by foreign studios. However, Embrafilme’s practices were also met with criticism from filmmakers who made the accusation that they prioritized certain films while delaying the commercial release of others.

4. Rede Globo is Brazil’s largest TV network and the largest media conglomerate in Latin America.

5. Carvalho, 2005

6. Ibid.

7. Draft for a History of Black People in Brazilian Cinema, translated freely, 2005.

8. A popular street procession with song and dance that reenacts the coronation of a king in Congo.

9. A large construction in Rio de Janeiro where the samba school parades take place during Carnaval.

10. Tall vehicles designed in accordance with the theme of that year’s parade.

11. The Republic was installed on November 15th, 1889.

12. People from the Northeast of Brazil are historically subjected to prejudice from the richer regions of Brazil. Especially the South and Southeast.

13. The song was Águas de Março, which was used with new lyrics in many Coca-Cola TV spots during the 1980s.

14. Terreiros are the houses in which the Candomblé religion is practiced.

15. Published in English under the title The Masters and the Slaves.

16. Frente Negra Brasileira, or Brazilian Black Front, was the first black political party in Brazil.

17. The Revolt of the Lash (Revolta da Chibata) was a naval mutiny which took place in Rio de Janeiro in November, 1910. It was a response to the frequent whipping of black sailors by white naval officers. The Revolt was led by João Cândido Felisberto.

18. Repente is a kind of improvised poetry typical of the Northeast.

19. Teatro Experimental do Negro was a theater company founded in 1944 and ended in 1961.
REFERENCES

CARVALHO, Noel dos Santos. “Esboço para uma história do negro no cinema Brasileiro”. In: De, Jeferson. Dogma feijoada, o cinema negro brasileiro. São Paulo: Imprensa Oficial, 2005.

_____. O Produtor e Cineasta Zózimo Bulbul — O Inventor do Cinema Negro Brasileiro. Revista Crioula (USP), v. 12, p. 1-21, 2012.

DAVID, Marcell Carrasco. Abolição: escavações e memórias sobre o Cinema Negro de Zózimo Bulbul. Dissertação de Mestrado, PUC-Rio, 2020.

JAFA, Arthur. “The Notion of Treatment: Black Aesthetics and Film”. In Pearl Bowser, Jane Gaines and Charles Musser (eds.): Oscar Micheaux and His Circle, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001, pp. 11-17.
Menino da Calça Branca (Boy in the White Pants), Sérgio Ricardo’s first movie,1 is a 1962 short film made while the Brazilian Cinema Novo movement was still consolidating itself. The film tells the story of a boy from a favela who receives white pants as a gift, and proud of this symbol of social status, wears his white pants while walking through the city of Rio de Janeiro. Sérgio Ricardo’s first film reveals his desire to call attention to Brazil’s lower social classes, something that will become a common theme throughout his filmography (as noted by Gustavo Menezes de Andrade in his 2017 dissertation). Looking at his career as a whole, this wasn't the first time that an interest in exploring the lives of the lower classes manifested itself. For example, besides working as an actor, Sérgio Ricardo began his career as a musician and composer. In his song “Zelão”, made one year prior to Menino da Calça Branca, he sings about a favela musician who lost his home to a flood.

Multi-talented, Sérgio Ricardo both directs Menino da Calça Branca and composes its soundtrack, on which he explores the sonorities of Bossa Nova using only his voice, guitar and flute. In this article, we aim to highlight the major themes of this short film about a favela child in the city of Rio de Janeiro, analyzing the way the plot develops alongside the music in the film, while also taking into account the larger context of music in Brazilian cinema at that time.

Menino da Calça Branca
is not the first occasion that a Brazilian film showed images of a favela in Rio de Janeiro. For example, there is the case of a lost 1935 film by Humberto Mauro, Favela dos meus amores. But it was Rio, 40 Graus (Rio 100 Degrees F.) by Nelson Pereira dos Santos which would become an important reference for filmmakers of the 1960s who were looking to film in favelas. This 1955 film portrays the lives of five children from the favela in their daily struggle for survival. Nelson Pereira’s film is considered by many researchers, such as Mariarosaria Fabris (2007), as having been influenced by Italian Neorealism in its compassionately humanist way of looking at the lower classes (holding an “ethical posture”, as Cesare Zavattini recommended). The film is similar to the films of the Neorealists that often have sad endings, where characters have no hope for a better future.2

Rio, 40 Graus contains images made in favelas such as Morro do Cabuçu, and we can even see and hear the samba school Unidos da Cabuçu rehearsing in the favela in the film’s final sequence. It is worth mentioning that Nelson Pereira dos Santos decided to edit Menino da Calça Branca for free because he got excited when he saw Sérgio Ricardo’s initial material. In fact, while Sérgio Ricardo was finishing up edits of Menino da Calça Branca, the Centro Popular de Cultura (CPC)3 put together the collective film project titled (Five Times Favela). This work would be composed of five short films by directors of the emerging Brazilian Cinema Novo movement: Leon Hirzsman’s Pedreira de São Diogo, Cacá Diegues’ Escola de Samba, Alegria de viver, Miguel Borges’ Zé da Cachorra, Marcos Farias’ Um favelado and Joaquim Pedro de Andrade’s Couro de gato (Cat Skin).4

Sérgio Ricardo said in an interview that Menino da Calça Branca was considered to be included in Cinco Vezes Favela, but it ended up being denied for its “excessive lyricism”.5 He added in the interview that maybe the film didn't have the didacticism intended by the CPC. It is coincidental that, among the five films chosen for Cinco Vezes Favela, Cat Skin is also a story about favela children. As the themes of Menino da Calça Branca and Cat Skin are similar, this article will compare both films, while taking into account their influential predecessor, Nelson Pereira dos Santos’s Rio, 40 Graus.

To begin, what could this accusation of excessive lyricism be referring to in Ricardo’s film? Like Nelson Pereira and Joaquim Pedro, Sérgio Ricardo filmed on location in a favela (the now extinct Macedo Sobrinho). In the first shot of Menino da Calça Branca we see slum shacks with shabby rooftops, and as the opening titles run, we hear the song “Enquanto a tristeza não vem” (“While the Sadness Doesn't Come”). Then a boy appears (played by Zezinho Gama), playing games such as hopscotch and hide-and-go-seek alone and with his friends. No details of the favela setting are spared, as we can see an open-air sewage ditch that runs through an alley. Menino da Calça Branca does not beautify any aspects of favela life.
Perhaps the most clear example of “lyricism” in Menino da Calça Branca is when Sérgio Ricardo’s favela boy eventually goes to “the asphalt”. “The asphalt” (“o asfalto”) is a term used in popular Portuguese language to connote the city below the hills of the favelas, where the alleys are typically unpaved. Unlike the peanut sellers of Rio, 40 Graus or the boys in Cat Skin,6 when the boy in the white pants leaves the favela, he does not do so to work. Instead, he is allowed a purely playful experience on the asphalt. There, in his white pants, he spiritedly imitates the posture of nearby walking adults, proudly displaying his clean garment while doing so.

Despite taking the utmost care to keep them clean, the pants of the young boy become completely muddy, causing him to burst into tears. While it is a very sad moment in the film, it is not nearly as inexorable and tragic as the instances of death in Rio, 40 Graus or Cat Skin. In the first example, there is the death of one of the boys; in the second, a beautiful white cat is taken to be sacrificed. The films of Nelson Pereira and Joaquim Pedro display a harshness, a cruelty from which the oppressed cannot escape. This, in a way, echoes some of the destinies of characters from Italian neo-realist films: the unemployed man of Bicycle Thieves (1948) who loses his bicycle and becomes too ashamed to become a thief in front of his son, or the retired man of Umberto D. (1952) who relocates his lost dog, but still has no solution for his own financial survival. In comparison to these examples, Sérgio Ricardo’s boy from Menino da Calça Branca is spared any great tragedy, though tragedy does exist around him. For example, at the end of the film, the boy cries because of his muddy pants and a drunken Santa Claus (played by Sérgio Ricardo himself) tries to cheer him up. The drunken Santa Claus has traits of a tragic character: he also begins to cry and the boy cheers him up in return. Spared of greater tragedy, the boy has his soiled pants washed by his mother and he goes back to playing in the favela in his old shorts.

It is only at the very end of Menino da Calça Branca that an encounter with “the real” (in the sense of Zavatinni’s neo-realism) takes place. We see the boy holding a revolver in a close-up shot, and there is some apprehension as to whether or not the weapon is real and loaded. He shoots and another boy shoots back. The image freezes the dual to a standstill and the film ends.
How should we interpret this ending? Are they simply playing the common game of “Cops and Robbers” with toy guns? Are the guns in their hands real, and a tragedy bound to occur? Or is the film suggesting with this game between the children that they both have future careers in crime? If we interpret the final scene as such, Sérgio Ricardo’s film ends up feeling much more pessimistic than of Rio, 40 Graus and Cat Skin. His lyricism is pregnant with tragedy. The verse of Sérgio Ricardo’s opening and closing title song says it all: “[Happiness] plays a little while sadness doesn't come”.

It should be taken into account that Rio’s favelas were still not so violent during the time of the early 60s when Menino da Calça Branca was made. There was not a large presence of organized crime and drugs, as this is something that only began to occur in the late 1970s. The violence that we do see in Menino da Calça Branca is that of social violence, a violence of being excluded from society. But the end of Menino da Calça Branca, like Paul Klee's Angelus Novus, looks at the future and anticipates, even if unintentionally, the loss of a romantic vision of the slums that will take place, a romantic vision that can still be observed in these films and in their public reception.

One could also argue that there is a “whitening” of the favela in Menino da Calça Branca because its three main characters (the boy, his mother and the doll repairman) are not black. Even though almost all of the boy's friends in the film’s opening shots are black, none play a major role in the movie’s story. Far from being reproaches belonging to our contemporary time in 2020, this same criticism was made at the time of the film by Ruy Guerra and others (Andrade 2017). However, it can be argued that this was a problem of other early Cinema Novo films, as the boy protagonist in Joaquim Pedro de Andrade’s Cat Skin is white as well.7
Music and Rios Favelas in the Years 1955 - 1962
It is important for us to consider how the music composed for Menino da Calça Branca can be contextualized within the larger panorama of Brazilian music of the time. This is all the more interesting because Sérgio Ricardo had already established a career as a musician before turning to a parallel career in cinema. Sérgio Ricardo composed the Menino da Calça Branca soundtrack in the Bossa Nova style that he had been previously exploring.8 However, on the soundtrack he solely chose to include his vocals, the guitar, and flute, which was something quite unusual for soundtracks of the time. More generally, one would have appealed toward orchestration, even if the musical piece had originally been a popular song.

For example, this is what occurred in Nelson Pereira dos Santos’s Rio, 40 Graus. Although the film used Zé Keti's samba “A Voz do Morro” (“The Voice of the Favela”) as its main theme, it was orchestrated by Radamés Gnattali, an experienced musician in orchestration who mostly worked in radio, moving between high-art and popular music fields. According to a 2001 interview with Guerrini Júnior (2009), Nelson Pereira would have preferred a less grandiose use of music, but the “orchestra” was almost a natural imposition, as it was then considered to be the standard for “film music”. As such, despite the fact that Rio, 40 Graus had to be interrupted several times due to financial problems, a lot of money was spent in the production to record an orchestral soundtrack.

Building the soundtrack for Menino da Calça Branca was much different than that of Rio, 40 Graus. Menino da Calça Branca was financed by the director himself, and he chose the short film format as it generally allowed for more experimentation. As such, Ricardo employs a much more minimal soundtrack, utilizing only voice, guitar, and flute. The role of music remains primordial in the film, its presence felt throughout nearly its entire length. 

In Menino da Calça Branca, music is mostly found in the nondiegetic foreground, and speech is reduced to a minimum. In fact, the only time articulate speech occurs in the film is during the previously mentioned scene when drunken Santa Claus and the boy confide in each other. Even so, the speech is that of a drunken character, and therefore it is hard to make out what is being said. The film soundtrack is basically built around two songs, “Enquanto a tristeza não vem” (“While the Sadness Doesn't Come”) and “Menino da calça branca” (“Boy in the White Pants”). “Enquanto a tristeza não vem” can be heard during the film’s opening titles, sung with guitar accompaniment by Sérgio Ricardo, with some additional flute. It then returns in several different arrangements throughout the film. For example, when the song is first used, there is a confluence between the diegetic and nondiegetic spaces of the film: the character played by Sérgio Ricardo whistles the main tune of the song and, shortly afterward, a humming with guitar and flute follows the melodic line on the soundtrack. This variation of the song is also heard when the drunken Santa Claus leaves the white pants as a present for the boy when visiting his home in the middle of the night.
When the boy opens the package and sees the white pants the next morning, we hear another piece of music, “Menino da calça branca”. This music continues over wide shots of Rio de Janeiro´s landscape and favelas. The song lyrics directly connect with the events of the film. In fact, the lyrics of the two songs serve a narrative function9 as the film has no dialogue.

“Menino da calça branca” can be subsequently heard on the soundtrack in varying arrangements. During these later moments, the melody is hummed,10  the song transforming into one without words. It is as if the impact of the earlier sung lyrics have resonated into feelings we can now evoke by only hearing the melody. 

The great turning point in the film’s narrative is also announced by the soundtrack: the boy, out on “the asphalt”, sees a marching band playing with their brass and percussive instruments to an newly arranged version of the first song of the film, “Enquanto a tristeza não vem”. The music here functions as an announcement that the boy’s perfect experience with his white pants will soon come to an end. Shortly after we hear the music, a soccer ball falls in a mud puddle right before him and the mud splashes all over his pants. The brass band music, whose sound had been suddenly silenced (a common Brechtian distancing effect), suddenly returns to mark the eruption of sadness in the boy.
The song “Menino da calça branca” (accompanied by guitar and flute in a minor tone) is hummed again when the boy, angered at the fate of his soiled white pants, rips out an advertisement for the white pants11 from the newspaper, urinates on the newspaper, and throws the now separated advertisement into the wind. The song “Enquanto a tristeza não vem” is then sung by Sérgio Ricardo to close the film. Taking the lyrics into account, it is possible that the song is being used to emphasize the fact that the boy’s happiness and playfulness is just an interlude for the sadness that is to come.

It is also important to highlight, in addition to the general importance of the two previously discussed songs, the great role of the guitar throughout the film soundtrack. Several transition moments that would be conventionally played by an orchestra are made with a percussive pattern on the guitar in Menino da Calça Branca. This reinforces the role of the instrument within the film music, something completely innovative for a score of this period.

Highlighting further comparisons between the music of Menino da Calça Branca and Rio, 40 Graus, it is interesting that both soundtracks are completely based off of one or two songs.12  In the case of Sergio Ricardo’s film, one of the songs is of course “Menino da Calça Branca” and in Nelson Pereira’s film, the previously mentioned samba by Zé Keti, “A Voz do Morro”. In Rio, 40 Graus, “A Voz do Morro” can be heard in the opening titles and functions as the leitmotif of the five favela boys in the film, as well of the favela itself. In almost all of the instances throughout Rio, 40 Graus wherein which “A Voz do Morro” can be heard, Zé Keti’s samba is played in Radamés Gnatalli’s orchestral variation: without lyrics and as nondiegetic music. However, the last time we hear the song in the film, it becomes part of its diegesis, as the music is played and danced to by members of the favela Samba School. It is as if by the films end the samba has returned to its place of origin.

Although Zé Keti’s samba is almost always transfigured into its symphonic format, it is interesting that the film manages to retain its association with the samba musical genre, an association confirmed in its final dance and music sequence. In contrast to this, in the favela shots of Sérgio Ricardo’s film, a samba is twice sung acapella by a (very low) female voice, and the rest of the music is that of Bossa Nova, a genre that was mostly associated with an intellectual urban middle class and which primarily dealt with bourgeois problems. While Bossa Nova typically catered itself to bourgeois life, Sérgio Ricardo was part of a sector of Bossa Nova musicians that aimed to politicize the genre, and his lyrics contain the very social problems displayed within the film, problems the artist was already discussing in his song “Zelão. As for Nelson Pereira dos Santos, his creative partnership with the samba musician Zé Keti continued into Rio Zona Norte (1957), a film about the “theft” of sambas from their original popular composers by sectors of the middle class.13

The problems of musical authenticity in these favela movies are quite complex, even more so if we take into account that most of the musical incursions we have mentioned, such as those in Menino da Calça Branca, are nondiegetic. To problematize the matter further, we could evoke a very influential film of that period, Marcel Camus’s Orfeu negro (Black Orpheus). This 1959 French production was made with an all-black cast, with children as it’s leading characters, and it was shot in a Rio de Janeiro favela. Its musical soundtrack, performed at times diegetically by the main character Orfeu, was based on the 1954 theater play by Vinícius de Moraes, Orfeu da Conceição. In the film, the music was transcribed in arrangements which were closer to the Bossa Nova genre. In a way, this film influenced an entire tradition of utilizing Bossa Nova music within films which were shot in Rio de Janeiro favelas.

In the case of Cat Skin, the music does not stand out as much as it does in Menino da Calça Branca. The music of Cat Skin remains more subtle despite the fact that, similar to Menino da Calça Branca, Cat Skin is a film that predominantly utilizes music rather than the spoken word. However, voice over is featured very early in Cat Skin, and articulated speech can be found in the diegesis at a latter moment, but only as simple words. Cat Skin also bases its soundtrack off Bossa Nova songs, composer Carlos Lyra playing with the accepted conventions of film music by exploring melodic, harmonic and mainly timbristic variations for the musical incursions of the film. Carlos Lyra and his musical partners Nelson de Lins e Barros and Geraldo Vandré were also a part of the Bossa Nova movement alongside Sérgio Ricardo.

The only song heard with lyrics in Cat Skin is “Quem quiser encontrar o amor” (“Who Wants to Find Love”). The song is played during the scene when we can see part of the famous samba school parade in Rio’s Carnival, and it is as if the song were being sung by the parade members themselves. Even so, there is a basic orchestration to the song as it is not played solely with percussive instruments like what typically occurs during the samba parades. This is also the song that marks the central relationship of the protagonist boy Paulinho with the white cat he steels from the backyard of a rich woman. During the first encounter between this rich woman and the boy at an early part of the film, the rich woman, interested in the boy, calls him over to drink juice prepared by her butler. While this encounter between the woman and boy is taking place, the song “Quem quiser encontrar o amor” is played non-diegetically in an instrumental jazz variation. This is interesting because it had become accepted, at least in Brazilian cinema circles of that time, that jazz music was mainly associated with  the bourgeoisie. The same music, orchestrated differently with more stringed instruments, is what we hear in the film’s moving scenes of the boy becoming close to his white cat, struggling with the difficult decision to sell him for pocket change.

The opening and closing song of Cat Skin is “Depois do Carnaval” (“After Carnival”) by Carlos Lyra and Nelson Lins e Barros. In the film’s opening shots, we can see a view of the city of Rio de Janeiro from the favela which reminds us of the opening shots of Rio, 40 Graus. However, in the beginning of Cat Skin, besides the traditional orchestration, the percussive instruments that can be heard during the music of the opening titles linger after the titles are concluded, becoming diegetically represented by shaking tambourines. Thus, we can detect a stronger relationship on display here with the samba of the favelas. It is also interesting that, if some transitions in Menino da Calça Branca were punctuated by Sérgio Ricardo’s percussive guitar pattern, in Cat Skin, percussive instruments both underscore the boy’s “cat hunt”, and later their own persecution by the people from “the asphalt”.
Final considerations
It is thought provoking that both Menino da Calça Branca and Cat Skin do not have the traditional "from the roots" samba at the base of their soundtracks. But the Bossa Nova in both films was perhaps easier for a foreign audience who would have already been familiar with Marcel Camus’s Black Orpheus. Regardless, this type of music has remained a symbol of Brazilian favelas, and by extension, of Brazilian music. However, even Zé Keti’s samba in Rio, 40 Graus is in orchestral form, it is also so distant from “the roots” of samba. Moreover, we can argue that Zé Keti himself already had a great deal of transit on “the asphalt”, composing his sambas while immersed in other influences. This shows us the difficulty of entering into an ontological discussion about what “real” samba is.

In any case, in all three films the directors show a lyrical and humanist look at the lower social classes and put them at the center of the cultural debate. However, it is especially important to have this discussion with Sérgio Ricardo’s Menino da Calça Branca, as this work is usually forgotten in music-related discussions about films of the time that take place in a favela, just as it was left out of the CPC film back in 1962.

1. The film also marks the debut of Dib Lutfi (Sergio Ricardo’s brother) as a cinematographer. Dib will be an essential figure of the Cinema Novo movement, becoming almost synonymous with the technique of hand-held cinematography, mainly employed in important films of the movement such as Entranced Earth (Glauber Rocha, 1967).

2. Zavattini claimed that the filmmaker should represent the lower classes as if he were looking through a hole in the wall. This was not supposed to have a purely voyeuristic goal; instead it was conceived as a means to be able to see the Other in a sympathetic way.

3. An organization linked to the Communist Party at the time.

4. Cat Skin was produced in 1960 and edited in 1961 in France (where the director had been for a small period) and ended up being added to the collective film, exhibited in 1962.

5. Sérgio Ricardo claims this in an interview with Augusto Buonicori made in March 2014 and published in: https://vermelho.org.br/2020/07/25/entrevista-de-augusto-buonicore-com-sergio-ricardo/

6. The boys in Cat Skin catch cats throughout in the city in order to sell them to the fabrication of tambourines.

7. The opening titles indicate that the boys were all residents of the Cantagalo and Pavãozinho favelas. As for the briefly mentioned racial theme, this deserves to be addressed in a separate article.

8. Making a historical analysis of Bossa Nova within the panorama of Brazilian urban popular music, Marcos Napolitano (1999: 171, our translation from Portuguese) observes that, when Bossa Nova appeared around 1959, its musicians inherited “socially rooted aesthetic and ideological formulations”, which comprised, for example, “the recognition of samba as ‘national’ music, leading many of them to propose to renew musical expression without completely breaking with tradition”. After the consecration of the movement in 1959 - 1960, from 1961 on, sectors of the Left realized the potential of Bossa Nova with a young public of students and began to politicize it. Both Carlos Lyra, composer of Cat Skin, and Sérgio Ricardo were part of the so-called “engaged” sector of Bossa Nova (Napolitano 1999).

9. This narrative aspect of the songs will be used by Glauber Rocha in his film Black God, White Devil (1964), in which the nondiegetic songs played by by Sérgio Ricardo (voice and guitar) function as a Greek choir.

10. We have employed the word “hum” here and throughout the article, although perhaps we should more precisely refer to the jazz technique of “scat singing”, which consists of singing without words or employing syllables without logical meaning and improvising. I would like to thank my colleague Alfredo Werney for the information.

11. It is important to call attention to the fact that the child’s interpretation does not reinforce the “angry” side of the revolt, but rather a certain haughtiness and acceptance of what happened.

12. Among 20 musical incursions in the film as a whole, Cíntia Onofre (2011) identifies 13 from “A Voz do Morro” in many rhythmic and melodic variations.

13. On the other hand, Zé Keti was a musician who transited in various social environments, having been invited, for instance, to participate in the famous show Opinião, in the end of 1964, which brought together both traditional popular musicians and artists of the future Tropicália, such as Maria Bethânia. Part of this show appears in the film O desafio (The Dare, 1965), by Paulo César Saraceni.

14. The songs of the play are quite different from traditional samba, though they cannot be considered Bossa Nova either. In any case, the songs from the movie Black Orpheus, especially "A felicidade" and "Manhã de carnaval", were quite associated with the emergence of Bossa Nova. I would like to thank again my colleague Alfredo Werney for this information.
REFERENCES

Andrade, Gustavo Menezes de (2017). As populações marginalizadas nos filmes de Sérgio Ricardo. Dissertation (Undergraduation in Comunication – Audiovisual) – Universidade de Brasília.

Buonicori, Augusto. Interview by Augusto Buonicorewith Sérgio Ricardo. Revista Vermelho. Disponível em https://vermelho.org.br/2020/07/25/entrevista-de-augusto-buonicore-com-sergio-ricardo/Acess: 2 Oct. 2020.

Fabris, Mariarosaria (2007). A questão realista no cinema brasileiro: aportes neo-realistas. In: ALCEU, 8 (15), pp. 82 – 94.

Guerrini Júnior, Irineu (2009). A música no cinema brasileiro: os inovadores anos sessenta. São Paulo: Terceira Margem.

Napolitano, Marcos (1999). Do sarau ao comício: inovação musical no Brasil (1959 – 63). In: REVISTA USP (São Paulo), 41, pp. 168-187.

Onofre, Cíntia Campolino de (2011). Nas trilhas de Radamés: a contribuição musical de Radamés Gnattali para o cinema brasileiro. PhD Dissertation – Universidade Estadual de Campinas, 2011.
O primeiro filme de Sérgio Ricardo, o curta-metragem Menino da calça branca (1962),1 foi realizado quando o grupo do Cinema Novo brasileiro ainda tomava suas rédeas. A partir da história de um menino de favela que recebe uma calça branca de presente e, orgulhoso pelo símbolo de status social, passeia com ela pela cidade, o filme já revela o interesse de Sérgio Ricardo pelos menos favorecidos, algo que permeará toda a sua obra fílmica (como observado por Gustavo Menezes de Andrade em sua monografia de 2017). Mas, se considerarmos a carreira dele como um todo, não era a primeira vez em que esse interesse se manifestava. Além de ter trabalhado como ator, Sérgio Ricardo começou como músico e compositor, e sua música “Zelão, do ano anterior ao filme, tinha como tema um músico, morador de favela, que perde sua casa numa enchente

Colocando seus multi-talentos no seu filme de estreia, a música de Menino da calça branca foi feita também por Sérgio Ricardo, explorando a Bossa Nova com apenas voz, violão e flauta. O que nos propomos a fazer aqui é uma reflexão sobre a temática geral desse curta-metragem (a vida de uma criança de favela da cidade do Rio de Janeiro) e seu desenvolvimento junto à música do filme, considerando como isso tudo se situa dentro do contexto da música no cinema brasileiro da época.

Não era a primeira vez que um filme mostrava imagens de uma favela carioca. Há a referência de Favela de meus amores, filme de 1935 de Humberto Mauro, embora, por ser um filme perdido, não tenhamos como avaliar diretamente suas imagens e sons. Mas uma referência importante da representação da favela para os cineastas dos anos 1960 foi certamente Rio 40 graus, de Nelson Pereira dos Santos, de 1955, filme que retrata o cotidiano de cinco crianças da favela em sua luta pela sobrevivência diária.

O filme de Nelson Pereira foi considerado por vários pesquisadores, como Mariarosaria Fabris (2007), como tendo recebido aportes do Neorrealismo italiano em seu modo humanista de olhar os desfavorecidos (a importância da postura ética, como defendia Cesare Zavattini2), cujas histórias muitas vezes tinham desfechos tristes ou falta de perspectivas. 

Rio, 40 Graus tem imagens feitas em favelas, como no Morro do Cabuçu, e vemos até um ensaio da escola de samba Unidos da Cabuçu na quadra do morro, na sequência final. É digno de nota que Nelson Pereira dos Santos decidiu fazer a montagem de Menino da calça branca sem cobrar nada, ao ficar entusiasmado com o material de Sérgio Ricardo.

Na verdade, na mesma época em que Sérgio Ricardo terminava a montagem de seu curta-metragem o Centro Popular de Cultura (CPC), órgão da época ligado ao Partido Comunista, tinha o projeto de realização de um filme coletivo Cinco vezes Favela. Dele, fizeram parte cinco curtas-metragens de diretores que iriam constituir o chamado Cinema Novo brasileiro: Leon Hirzsman (com Pedreira de São Diogo), Cacá Diegues (Escola de Samba, Alegria de Viver), Miguel Borges (Zé da Cachorra), Marcos Farias (Um favelado) e Joaquim Pedro de Andrade (Couro de gato.)3

Sérgio Ricardo contou em entrevista que seu filme também foi cogitado para compor o coletivo do CPC, mas acabou preterido por “excesso de lirismo”. Acrescentou que talvez o filme não tivesse o didatismo que o CPC pretendesse.4 É curioso que, dentre os cinco filmes escolhidos, Couro de gato também tratasse de crianças e é por isso que faremos considerações sobre ele em comparação com o Menino da calça branca, além de nos referirmos ao importante longa-metragem predecessor de Nelson Pereira dos Santos.

A que corresponderia essa acusação de excesso de lirismo quanto a Menino da calça branca? Assim como Nelson Pereira e Joaquim Pedro, Sérgio Ricardo filmou em locação numa favela (no seu caso, a Macedo Sobrinho, hoje extinta). No primeiro plano do filme, vemos os barracos, com seus tetos mal-ajambrados, e, na entrada dos créditos, passamos a ouvir a canção “Enquanto a tristeza não vem”. A seguir, vemos o protagonista, o menino interpretado por Zezinho Gama, em suas brincadeiras solitárias ou com amigos. Não são poupados detalhes realistas, como a vala de esgoto a céu aberto que corre numa das vielas. Não há maquiagem da favela.

Talvez o maior problema para essa crítica de “lirismo” seja a de que o menino favelado de Sérgio Ricardo, quando se dirige ao asfalto,5 não o faz para trabalhar, diferentemente dos vendedores de amendoim de Rio 40 graus ou, em Couro de gato, dos meninos que caçam gatos na cidade para poder vendê-los na favela para a fabricação dos tamborins das escolas de samba. Ao menino da calça branca é permitida no asfalto uma experiência puramente lúdica, fora do mundo do trabalho, em que, vestido com sua calça branca, imita o andar de adultos, exibindo, orgulhoso, sua peça de vestuário.

Além disso, o fato de, apesar de todos os cuidados, ter sua calça enlameada, embora faça o menino ir às lágrimas, não é algo tão inexorável e trágico quanto a morte presente em Rio, 40 graus e Couro de gato: no primeiro, a morte de um dos meninos; no segundo, do lindo gatinho branco levado ao sacrifício. Há uma dureza, uma crueldade da qual os oprimidos não têm como fugir, nos filmes de Nelson Pereira e Joaquim Pedro, que, de certa forma, ecoa alguns destinos de personagens de filmes neorrealistas italianos: o desempregado que perde sua bicicleta e passa a vergonha de ser considerado ladrão na frente do filho em Ladrões de bicicleta (1948), ou o aposentado que recupera seu cachorro, mas continua sem solução para a sua sobrevivência financeira em Umberto D (1952), ambos de Vittorio de Sica. O menino de Sérgio Ricardo também é poupado de uma maior dimensão trágica, embora ela não esteja ausente. Por exemplo, no final do filme, chorando por causa da calça enlameada, o menino é consolado por um Papai Noel bêbado (interpretado pelo próprio Sérgio Ricardo). Este, por sua vez, com traços de personagem trágico, também chora e é consolado pelo menino. Mas, como o menino é poupado de grandes tragédias no filme, a calça é lavada pela mãe e ele volta a brincar no morro com sua velha bermuda remendada.

É aqui que acontece um encontro com “o real” (no sentido do neorrealismo de Zavattini) no filme de Sérgio Ricardo: vemos o menino segurar um revólver em primeiro plano, o que já nos causa apreensão se seria uma arma de verdade, se estaria carregada. Ele atira e outro menino atira de volta, a imagem congela, o filme acaba. 
O que teria acontecido? Uma brincadeira comum entre meninos de “polícia e ladrão”, uma tragédia naquele momento ou o prenúncio de um futuro no crime? Se olharmos por esse viés, o filme de Ricardo acaba sendo bem mais pessimista que os de Nelson Pereira e Joaquim Pedro. Um lirismo prenhe de trágico. É como diz o verso da canção de Sérgio Ricardo dos créditos do filme e repetida ao final: “Brinca um pouquinho enquanto a tristeza não vem.”

É preciso levar em conta que, na época do filme, início dos anos 1960, as favelas cariocas ainda não eram tão violentas, ainda não tinham concentrado grande parte do crime organizado do tráfico de drogas, algo que começa a ocorrer a partir do fim dos anos 1970. O que havia ali era a violência social contra os excluídos. Mas o final do Menino da calça branca, tal como o Angelus Novus de Paul Klee, olha também para o futuro e antecipa, mesmo que não intencionalmente, a perda de uma visão romantizada das favelas que ainda se nota nesses filmes e em sua recepção pelo público.

Pode-se também argumentar o “branqueamento” da favela do Menino da calça branca, talvez, porque seus três personagens principais, o menino, sua mãe e o reparador de bonecas (o mesmo Papai Noel bêbado) não são negros. Embora, desde os primeiros planos do filme, percebamos que quase todos os amiguinhos do menino protagonista sejam negros, nenhum exerce grande papel na história do filme. Longe de serem reprovações pertencentes apenas ao nosso tempo dos anos 2020, essa mesma crítica foi feita na época por Ruy Guerra e outros (ANDRADE, 2017). No entanto, pode-se argumentar que tampouco é negro o menino que se firma como protagonista em Couro de gato, de Joaquim Pedro de Andrade.6
Música e Favela Carioca nos Anos 1955 - 1962
É importante considerar como Menino da calça branca pode ser posicionado dentro de um panorama maior da música brasileira, ainda mais porque Sérgio Ricardo, antes de se voltar para o cinema com este filme, já tinha uma carreira assentada no meio musical. Sérgio Ricardo compôs a música do filme no estilo da Bossa Nova que então explorava7 e escolhe deixá-la apenas acompanhada por violão e flauta, algo bastante incomum na trilha musical de cinema da época, quando se optava geralmente por se fazer uma orquestração, mesmo quando se tratava de canções populares. 

Por exemplo, é como procedeu Nelson Pereira dos Santos quanto à música de Rio, 40 graus. Embora o diretor tenha usado como tema principal do filme o samba de Zé Keti, “A voz do morro”, ele foi orquestrado por Radamés Gnattali, músico bastante experiente em orquestração por seu trabalho na rádio e acostumado com o trânsito entre erudito e popular. Segundo o que depreendemos de uma entrevista de 2001 de Nelson a Guerrini Júnior (2009), o cineasta teria preferido um uso de música menos grandioso, mas a “orquestra” era quase que uma imposição natural daquilo que se aceitava na época como “música de cinema” e, portanto, mesmo num filme que precisou ser interrompido diversas vezes por problemas financeiros, gastou-se bastante dinheiro para a gravação da música.

No caso do filme de Sérgio Ricardo, sendo financiado pelo próprio diretor e, sendo o curta-metragem em si um formato mais livre e propenso a experimentações, ele recebe essa trilha musical mais “enxuta” de voz, violão e flauta, sem tratamento orquestral. Mesmo assim, o papel da música é primordial no curta. Além de sua presença em quase toda a extensão do filme, em sua maior parte como música extradiegética (não justificada no mundo narrativo) em primeiro plano sonoro, o elemento da fala é reduzido ao mínimo: o único momento de fala articulada é quando o personagem do Papai Noel, bêbado, tenta consolar o menino. Ainda assim, é uma fala pouco clara de um personagem embriagado.

O filme é basicamente construído em torno de duas canções principais, “Enquanto a tristeza não vem” e “Menino da calça branca”. A primeira está na forma cantada (por Sérgio Ricardo), com acompanhamento de violão (do próprio Sérgio) e flauta, nos créditos do filme e voltará em diversos arranjos no filme. Em sua primeira parte, por exemplo, há toda uma confluência entre os espaços diegético (justificado no mundo narrativo do filme) e extradiegético: o personagem do reparador de bonecas assobia o tema da canção e, pouco depois, um cantarolar com violão e flauta segue a linha melódica de maneira extradiegética. O cantarolar extradiegético com violão e flauta é novamente ouvido quando o “Papai Noel”, bêbado, deixa o pacote com a calça branca na casa no menino, no meio da noite.
A partir do momento em que o menino abre o pacote e vê a calça branca na manhã seguinte, escutamos outra música: é a canção “Menino da calça branca”, que ouvimos junto a planos gerais da paisagem do Rio de Janeiro e das favelas. A letra da canção faz menção direta aos acontecimentos do filme. De fato, as palavras das duas canções têm uma função extremamente narrativa8 num filme que abdica de diálogos. 

Da mesma maneira que ocorrera com a canção anterior, “Menino da calça branca” volta em arranjo com sua melodia cantarolada em dois momentos seguintes, numa “canção sem palavras”, como se não precisássemos mais das palavras para recordar os sentimentos evocados pela letra.9  

A grande virada narrativa é anunciada também pela música: o menino vê passar uma banda tocando com seus metais e instrumentos percussivos um arranjo de “Enquanto a tristeza não vem”, um anúncio que o seu idílio com a calça branca terá logo um fim. De fato, pouco depois, uma bola de futebol cai numa poça de lama e mancha toda a sua calça. A banda de música, cujo som havia sido subitamente silenciado (num efeito brechtiano, comum no Cinema Moderno), volta repentinamente para marcar a erupção da tristeza no menino.
A canção “Menino da calça branca” é ouvida novamente em sua forma cantarolada, acompanhada por violão e flauta, e em tonalidade menor, quando o menino, num momento de revolta contra o que lhe aconteceu,10  destaca o anúncio da calça branca do jornal, urina no restante dele e joga o anúncio ao vento, num momento libertador de sua tristeza. A canção “Enquanto a tristeza não vem” fecha o filme na sua forma cantada, enfatizando que as brincadeiras infantis do menino são apenas um interlúdio enquanto a tristeza não vem.

Gostaríamos também de destacar, além da importância das duas canções mencionadas, o grande papel do violão na trilha musical como um todo. Vários momentos de transição, que, em filmes convencionais, especialmente longas-metragens da época, seriam feitos por orquestra, são, em Menino da calça branca, feitos com uma levada percussiva no violão, o que reforça a importância do instrumento dentro da música do filme e a inovação que isso representava como trilha musical.

Relacionando a música de Menino da calça branca com a de Rio 40 graus, é interessante que a do longa-metragem de Nelson Pereira dos Santos, assim como a música do curta de Sérgio Ricardo, tem toda a sua base numa canção,11 o já mencionado samba de Zé Keti, “A voz do morro”. Ele é ouvido já nos créditos do filme e pode ser considerado como leitmotiv tanto dos cinco meninos da favela, quanto da favela em si. 

Em quase todas as incursões musicais, o samba de Zé Keti está na versão orquestral de Radamés Gnatalli e sem a letra, como música extradiegética. No entanto, na última vez, podemos ouvi-lo diegeticamente na quadra do morro. É como se o samba fosse devolvido ao seu lugar de origem ao final do filme.

Embora o samba de Zé Keti esteja quase sempre no filme transfigurado no seu formato sinfônico, é interessante que, ainda assim, temos a associação – confirmada na sequência final –, ao gênero musical do samba, enquanto que, no filme de Sérgio Ricardo, ainda que ouçamos duas vezes um samba cantado a capella por voz feminina diegeticamente (em volume muito menos intenso) em planos da favela, o que predomina é a música de Bossa Nova, gênero que era muito associado a uma música de classe média urbana intelectual, relacionada a problemas burgueses. No entanto, como já mencionado, Sérgio Ricardo fez parte de uma corrente da Bossa Nova que buscou politizar a música e sua letra traz em si os problemas sociais mostrados pelo filme, algo com que o artista já se preocupava em sua canção “Zelão”. Já o diretor Nelson Pereira dos Santos persistiu na parceria com o sambista Zé Keti, num filme que tem o compositor de samba e o roubo de sambas como tema, Rio Zona Norte (1957).12

A questão da autenticidade da música e gêneros musicais em filmes de favela é bastante complexa, ainda mais se levarmos em conta que estão no nível extradiegético, como é o caso da música de Sérgio Ricardo em Menino da calça branca. Poderíamos evocar ainda um filme muito influente da época, realizado numa favela do Rio de Janeiro e com elenco todo negro, tendo crianças também como personagens importantes: Orfeu Negro. É uma produção francesa de 1959, dirigida por Marcel Camus, cuja trilha musical, muitas vezes diegética e executada pelo personagem Orfeu, foi baseada na da peça Orfeu da Conceição de Vinícius de Moraes de 195413 e transcrita para o filme em arranjos mais próximos da Bossa Nova. Ou seja, de certo modo, esse filme influencia uma tradição de se associar música no estilo Bossa Nova a filmes de favelas cariocas.

Quanto a Couro de gato, as músicas estão incluídas de forma mais orgânica com as imagens, no sentido de não se destacarem tanto quanto em Rio 40 graus e, principalmente, em Menino da calça branca. Isso ocorre mesmo que, como no filme de Sérgio Ricardo, a música seja o principal elemento sonoro de Couro de gato (em relação ao elemento falado, a voz over é ouvida de forma bastante econômica no início do filme e há apenas dois momentos de voz articulada na diegese, mesmo assim, apenas na forma de palavras), sendo o filme baseado também em canções da Bossa Nova. Jogando com as convenções aceitas de música no cinema, o compositor Carlos Lyra explora variações melódicas, harmônicas e principalmente timbrísticas para as incursões musicais no filme. Assim como Sérgio Ricardo, Carlos Lyra e seus parceiros nas canções do filme, Nelson de Lins e Barros e Geraldo Vandré, vinham da Bossa Nova.

A única canção ouvida com letra em Couro de gato é “Quem quiser encontrar o amor” (de Carlos Lyra e Geraldo Vandré), em imagens de desfile de escola de samba, como se estivesse sendo cantada diegeticamente por aquele coletivo. Mesmo assim, há uma orquestração de base. Essa é a música que marca toda a relação do menino protagonista Paulinho (nome do intérprete nos créditos) com o gato branco, que ele rouba do quintal de uma mulher rica. A mulher se interessa pelo menino, chama-o para tomar suco e, em todos esses momentos, a canção é ouvida numa variação instrumental jazzística, numa associação convencional já aceita no cinema brasileiro da música de jazz com a burguesia. Essa mesma música, numa orquestração mais vistosa, é a que ouvimos nas cenas mais líricas da relação de amizade do menino com o gato branco, já em sua posse na favela, e sua difícil decisão de ter que vendê-lo para o abate.

Já a canção nas primeiras imagens do filme é “Depois do Carnaval” (de Carlos Lyra e Nelson Lins e Barros), em planos da vista da cidade a partir da favela, que lembram os planos de abertura de Rio 40 graus, sendo também ela a música que fecha o filme. No entanto, nesse início de filme, para além da orquestração tradicional, há a permanência dos instrumentos percussivos que soavam na música dos créditos e que são representados diegeticamente, pouco depois, pelos tamborins, fazendo uma relação maior com o samba das favelas. É interessante também que, se a levada de violão de Sérgio Ricardo pontuava algumas transições em Menino da calça branca, em Couro de gato, a percussão serve como som característico da “caçada” dos meninos aos gatos e, depois, da perseguição das pessoas do asfalto aos meninos.
Considerações Finais
É curioso que tanto Menino da calça branca e Couro de gato não tenham o samba tradicional “de raiz” na base de sua trilha musical, mas sim, a Bossa Nova, que, talvez para um público estrangeiro – e levando em conta todo o sucesso de Orfeu Negro de Marcel Camus –, tenha ficado como símbolo de favela e, por extensão, de música brasileira. No entanto, mesmo o samba de Zé Keti em Rio 40 graus está em formato orquestral, distante também do “samba de raiz”. Além de tudo, é de se argumentar que o próprio sambista Zé Keti tinha um grande trânsito no “asfalto”, fazendo um samba já imerso em outras influências, o que mostra a dificuldade de se entrar numa discussão ontológica sobre o que seria um verdadeiro samba. 

De todo modo, todos os três filmes mostram um olhar cheio de lirismo dos seus diretores para os desfavorecidos, colocando-os no centro do debate cultural. Chamamos a atenção para a importância de considerarmos o filme de Sérgio Ricardo Menino da calça branca na discussão sobre filmes da época passados em favela, já que ele costuma ser esquecido, tal como foi deixado de fora do filme coletivo do CPC.

1. O filme também marca a estreia de Dib Lutfi (irmão de Sérgio Ricardo) como fotógrafo de cinema. Dib será um nome essencial para o Cinema Novo, virando quase que sinônimo de “câmera na mão” em filmes importantes do movimento, como Terra em transe (Glauber Rocha, 1967).

2. Zavattini defendia que o cineasta deveria proceder à representação das classes pobres como se ele pudesse olhar por um buraco na parede. Não se trata aqui de um procedimento com objetivos puramente voyeurísticos, mas sim como um meio para enxergar o Outro de modo compassivo e humano.

3. Couro de gato foi produzido em 1960, montado em 1961 na França (para onde o diretor havia ido para um estágio) e acabou sendo adicionado ao filme coletivo, exibido em 1962.

4. Na entrevista de Sérgio Ricardo a Augusto Buonicori, realizada em março de 2014 e publicada em https://vermelho.org.br/2020/07/25/entrevista-de-augusto-buonicore-com-sergio-ricardo/

5. “O asfalto” é, na linguagem popular, a referência às ruas pavimentadas da cidade, em oposição à favela.

6. Os créditos indicam que os meninos do filme eram moradores dos morros do Cantagalo e do Pavãozinho. O tema racial, aqui brevemente mencionado, mereceria ser tratado em outro artigo.

7. Fazendo uma análise histórica da Bossa Nova dentro do panorama da música popular urbana brasileira, Marcos Napolitano (1999, p.171) observa que, ao surgir por volta de 1959, os artífices da Bossa Nova herdaram “formulações estéticas e ideológicas socialmente enraizadas”, que se traduzia, por exemplo, “no reconhecimento do samba como música ‘nacional’, fazendo com que muitos deles se propusessem a renovar a expressão musical sem romper totalmente com a tradição.” Após a consagração do movimento em 1959 – 1960, a partir de 1961, setores da esquerda perceberam o potencial da Bossa Nova junto ao público estudantil e começaram a politizá-la. Tanto Carlos Lyra, compositor de Couro de gato, quanto Sérgio Ricardo fizeram parte dessa corrente “engajada” da Bossa Nova (NAPOLITANO, 1999).

8. Esse aspecto narrativo das canções será aproveitado por Glauber Rocha em seu filme da mesma época, Deus e o diabo na terra do sol (1964), com canções de voz e violão de Sérgio Ricardo extradiegéticas funcionando como um coro grego.

9. Usamos aqui e ao longo do artigo a palavra “cantarolar”, embora talvez o mais preciso fosse se referir à técnica jazzística do “scat singing”, que consiste em cantar improvisando, sem palavras ou com sílabas sem sentido lógico. Agradeço ao colega Alfredo Werney pela informação.

10. Chamamos a atenção de que a interpretação da criança não reforça o lado “raivoso” da revolta, mas sim uma certa altivez e aceitação do ocorrido.

11. Cíntia Onofre (2011) contabiliza, entre 20 incursões musicais do filme como um todo, 13 são da “Voz do morro” em diversas variações rítmicas e melódicas.

12. Por outro lado, Zé Keti era um músico que transitava em diversos meios, tendo sido convidado a participar do famoso show Opinião, no final de 1964, que reuniu tanto músicos populares mais tradicionais quanto artistas da futura Tropicália, como Maria Bethânia. Parte deste show aparece no filme O desafio (1965), de Paulo César Saraceni.

13. Já havia nela canções bem diferentes do samba tradicional, embora tampouco sejam consideradas Bossa Nova. De todo modo, as canções do filme Orfeu Negro, principalmente “A felicidade” e “Manhã de carnaval”, foram bastante associadas ao surgimento da Bossa. Agradeço todas essas informações ao colega Alfredo Werney.
REFERENCES

Andrade, Gustavo Menezes de (2017). As populações marginalizadas nos filmes de Sérgio Ricardo. Dissertation (Undergraduation in Comunication – Audiovisual) – Universidade de Brasília.

Buonicori, Augusto. Interview by Augusto Buonicorewith Sérgio Ricardo. Revista Vermelho. Disponível em https://vermelho.org.br/2020/07/25/entrevista-de-augusto-buonicore-com-sergio-ricardo/Acess: 2 Oct. 2020.

Fabris, Mariarosaria (2007). A questão realista no cinema brasileiro: aportes neo-realistas. In: ALCEU, 8 (15), pp. 82 – 94.

Guerrini Júnior, Irineu (2009). A música no cinema brasileiro: os inovadores anos sessenta. São Paulo: Terceira Margem.

Napolitano, Marcos (1999). Do sarau ao comício: inovação musical no Brasil (1959 – 63). In: REVISTA USP (São Paulo), 41, pp. 168-187.

Onofre, Cíntia Campolino de (2011). Nas trilhas de Radamés: a contribuição musical de Radamés Gnattali para o cinema brasileiro. PhD Dissertation – Universidade Estadual de Campinas, 2011.
Introducing Menino da calça branca and Esse mundo é meu 
Sérgio Ricardo’s debut short film Menino da calça branca (1962) and his first feature-length film Esse mundo é meu (1964) can together be thought of as sensorial film experiences1 for their unusual combination of elaborate soundtracks and experimental cinematography. Despite their striking audiovisual configuration, the two films remain underseen and under evaluated. Looking back at them with recurrent questions about how to disarticulate inequality and discrimination in audiovisual form brings forth suggestive material. 

Bossa Nova and Cinema Novo composer, singer, actor, and film director Sérgio Ricardo (whose actual name was João Lutfi) wrote and directed Menino da calça branca and Esse mundo é meu. Truly a multifaceted artist, he composed the music for both films and acted in them as well. The films were shot on location in neighboring favelas; the short in Macedo Sobrinho, and the feature in Catacumba. These favelas used to be in proximity to Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas and Humaitá, areas in the affluent neighborhoods of Southern Rio de Janeiro. In the late 1960s, only a few years after the films were shot, both communities were transferred to faraway places with weak infrastructure as part of a government “cleansing” urban policy. Today, the two films offer rare visual documentation of a time when the neighborhood had more diverse populations.

Sérgio Ricardo collaborated on these films with his younger brother, the cinematographer Dib Lutfi.2 At the time, Lutfi worked as a cameraman for TV Rio. He became well known in Brazil and abroad for his technical and creative ability with handheld 35mm film cameras. Lutfi started as an amateur photographer, and then worked with the heavy studio television cameras of the time, which stood on large rolling tripod-carts. After working with this heavy equipment, Lutfi would leave behind the studio work to experiment with lighter equipment that allowed him to create unexpectedly beautiful 35 mm handheld camera movements, such as the ones that can be seen in Esse mundo é meu.3

The way that sound and music interplay in Menino da calça branca and Esse mundo é meu makes them stand out from other works of their period. Indeed, a common element between Menino da calça branca and Esse mundo é meu is the sparse dialogue throughout both films. Another notable element in the sound design of Menino da calça branca and Esse mundo é meu is their use of music not as background sound, but as narrative commentary. This approach does connect the films with other works of their time, such as Glauber Rocha’s Deus e o diabo na terra do sol (1964), a film for which Sérgio Ricardo composed and sang on the soundtrack (Rocha writing the lyrics himself).4 Moreover, the editing of both films avoids the classic configuration of synchronic sounds and images.

The production teams behind Menino da calça branca and Esse mundo é meu included participants of the intense artistic atmosphere from the early 1960s, suggesting that even though he was just starting his career in film, Ricardo took part, and in a way, marked an unusual intersection between Bossa Nova and Cinema Novo.5 Modern film pioneer Nelson Pereira dos Santos edited the short while working on Glauber Rocha’s first feature, Barravento (1962). Barravento and Menino da calça branca were both exhibited in the First Bahia Film Festival, an event that gathered the effervescent film community of the time.6 The Mozambique-born Cinema Novo director Ruy Guerra edited Esse mundo é meu.7 Guerra was part of the CPC (Centro Popular de Cultura), the cultural arm of the National Student Union that produced Cinco Vezes Favela (1962), a collection of short films that featured some members of the burgeoning Cinema Novo movement as directors. CPC did not accept Ricardo’s film to be a part of the collection, citing issues with its poetic and lyrical qualities that were not in line with their more revolutionary artistic efforts.
Scene Analysis of Menino da calça branca
Menino da calça branca tells the story of a boy who has a friendship with a local doll repairer (played by Sérgio Ricardo). The artisan has an undeclared crush on the boy’s mother, who is single and making her living as a laundry woman. He tenderly sculpts the face of a puppet to resemble that of the boy’s mother, and grants the boy’s one true wish by giving him a pair of white pants as a Christmas present.
The shoeless and shirtless white favela boy in shorts playfully somersaults in the grass until, in an upside-down position, he stops and sees the object of his desire between his open legs – a pair of white pants on a passant man (interpreted by cartoonist Ziraldo8). This peasant man is presented through the boy’s upside-down POV. Cinematographer Dib Lutfi then pans to the sky, only to retrieve the boy on his feet by Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, following after the man in white pants. The vibration of a guitar cord emphasizes the spatial transition provoked by the pan shot. No music is used in this scene, but the unobtrusive noise of the streets can be heard on the soundtrack in an attempt to add a deeper layer of expression to the image.
In Menino da calça branca, white pants signal a dream of growing up and being fully included. It is clear that the young boy desires inclusion because, for instance, he mimics a perfectly synchronized diegetic marching band. However, we learn by the films end that white pants were inadequate for the boys daily playful life in a muddy environment, signalizing the impossibility of this naïve and depoliticized dream.
Scene Analysis of Esse mundo é meu
Esse mundo é meu is a particularly bold work for its willingness to confront cultural taboos. The film begins with a solemn Afro-Brazilian religious hymn. It depicts sexual pleasure. It portrays an illegal non-professional abortion (which was highly controversial at the time, and still would be today). It legitimizes the disrespect for a priest in a largely Catholic country, and it advocates for working class unionization. Bringing such a leftist agenda to a film was possible in Brazil in the pre-military dictatorship era, but after 1968 it was forbidden.
The opening sequence of Esse mundo é meu establishes the outside favela landscape with a series of long whirling shots, including many zoom-ins and pans. On the soundtrack, an orchestrated version of an Umbanda Afro-Brazilian hymn begins the film in a peculiarly solemn way, signaling an engaged attempt to bridge the gap between popular and erudite culture through syncretic non-Christian religion.9 

Differences between Menino da calça branca and Esse mundo é meu are the likely result of Ricardo’s attempt to incorporate some of the criticisms the short initially received for having an only white cast and for not being political enough. In parallel editing style, Esse mundo é meu tells the story of two protagonists, a white steel worker named Pedro played by Sérgio Ricardo, and a black shoe shiner named Toninho played by Antonio Pitanga. The steel worker does not have enough money to marry his beloved girlfriend Luzia. Scenes of work inside an actual small factory with diegetic noise music are one of the elements that make this film particularly distinctive.10 
The credit sequence gives way to the introduction of Toninho, played by Antonio Pitanga. As Toninho wanders through a crowd of daily commuters on their way to work, Ricardo sings their names: “Bento, Zé, Tulão, Benedito…”. The purpose of this is to highlight that many people share the same struggles of Toninho. The song is followed by a voice-over dialogue between two secondary characters who have yet to be introduced, Toninho’s love Zuleica and her more affluent (because he owns a bike) boyfriend. From there, the film moves to the factory. Over images of daily work, a dialogue commences between the second couple, Pedro and Luzia. They discuss commemorating Luzia’s birthday by visiting all the places throughout Rio that she loves.
Both Pedro and Luzia are in love, but due to a shortage of money, they cannot afford getting formally married. Despite Pedro’s visible sadness over their situation, the couple decides to take a lovely journey through a park to commemorate Luzia’s birthday. They ride a carrousel and a Ferris wheel. While on the Ferris wheel, Sergio Ricardo’s melancholic song “A fábrica” [The factory] plays on the soundtrack, the lyrics stating, “How can a woman live with a man who doesn’t have a cent?”. In this scene, the music counteracts the romantic atmosphere. Stunning shots of Pedro and Luzia circling through the air on this Ferris wheel mark the couple’s sensual affection. The camera flows with the motion of the Ferris wheel as if to suggest vertigo, love and sensuality. Placed in the seat above the couple, it moves between their bodies, the sky, and other surrounding seats. Luzia moves into Pedro’s shack, she lies down, he starts to take her clothes off. A medium shot avoids showing whole bodies. The camera fixes on her face as she gets aroused. 

Even though Luzia initially was the one to propose having kids, when she actually gets pregnant their lack of financial conditions motivates her decision to go through an illegal non-professional abortion. This in turn leads to her death. Pedro, now a resentful widower, leads a workers’ strike for better wages. By talking about abortion, still one of the main causes of female death in Brazil, Esse mundo é meu violates another persistent taboo. Also, it is important to note that this female character detains agency, albeit her decisions lead to her death.
A black shoeshiner, Toninho, saves money to buy a bike in order to win over Zuleica, the woman he loves. Toninho is left without his savings because his mother used them to pay for his stepfather’s funeral, so he ends up stealing a bike from a priest. Despite robbing this priest, his ending is a happy one. Having won Zuleica over, the new energetic couple embraces and turns around and around in an empty lot. The film celebrates the couple’s affection with an amazing 360 degree tracking shot, capturing their long embrace. Mid-shot, the cameraman begins to move around them in the opposite direction, intensifying the feeling of dazzling encounter. 
Favela Situation Films
In his well-known critique of Cinema Novo, French-Brazilian researcher, professor, and filmmaker Jean Claude Bernardet considered Menino da calça branca mushy (“piegas”).11 Bernardet situated the short among what can be thought of as a wave of favela situation films. He considered Menino da calça branca within his broader notion of marginalism, i.e. films made by middle class filmmakers who chose to approach subjects that were not at the center of their contemporary life. Even though these filmmakers attempted to teach viewers about revolution, Bernardet observed that because they were allied with the bourgeoisie in the so-called national popular alliance, they had to avoid the main structural class conflicts. Instead of focusing on the contradictions of daily working-class life, films approached subjects such as different segments of the lumpen proletariat, favela urban inhabitants, and Northeasterner outlaws from the backlands. In doing so, filmmakers remained alienated from the working classes, despite their best intentions.12

In the early 2000s, Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund's City of God (2002) became part of a transnational wave of what international film festivals were calling favela situation films. Some of these favela films have been immensely popular among viewers and international critics. Others have provoked criticisms for their roles in reinforcing gender, race, and class discriminations. In Brazil, these criticisms have stimulated a debate about how to disarticulate visual expressions of discrimination. Favela films deal with sensitive places and bodies, making discrimination and inequality visible within high-valued public transnational filmic spaces. In doing so, these works provoke multiple sensitive reactions among audiences. 

National governments do not like what they understand to be negative representations of their beloved countries. Strong reactions to Luís Buñuel’s Los olvidados (1950) by the Mexican government, for example, already suggested that making poverty visible to a world-wide audience can incite an explosive reaction from governments. Nelson Pereira dos Santos’s Rio 40 graus (1955) was another work that was censored, this time due to its depiction of favela children struggling to survive. Black Orpheus13 (Marcel Camus, 1959), on the other hand, was a popular success in Brazil and abroad, but its artificial mise-en-scene offended the search of realism and improvisation that drove New Cinemas.

The sentimentality in Sérgio Ricardo’s films might appear to undermine predetermined revolutionary reactions against class and racial discrimination. Nonetheless, both films approach work, women, and religion in ways that were not common at the time. The female characters in Ricardo’s films present a realistic depiction of lower-class women from that period: they face the hardship of an unassisted illegal abortion, or they’re single mothers who have to work hard to support their children. 

Sérgio Ricardo’s initial films enrich our knowledge about the political and aesthetic debates that animated effervescent filmmakers in early 1960s Brazil. The ways in which transmedia references inform musical choices - including an orchestrated Umbanda hymn, a band play, a song from a Chico de Assis play, atmospheric noise – and collaborations by other fellow artists, and filmmakers suggest the potential of thinking about the complex web of art production, and circulation, within the arts community of that period. 

In the two films, sound and image rhyme in unexpected asynchronism in ways which combine sensuality, complex visual movement, silence, noise, and instrumental/sang explanatory lyrics. This audiovisual sensory quality might disarticulate common sense audiovisual class, race, and gender discrimination, and open horizons for change.

1. Elsaesser, T. a. M. H. (2009). Film Theory: An introduction through the senses. London, Routledge

2. Sérgio Ricardo would go on to collaborate with his brother Dib Lutfi on his next two feature length films, Juliana do Amor Perdido (1970) and A Noite do Espantalho (1974). The two brothers collaborated with Glauber Rocha in Terra em transe (1967). Lutfi would go on to work with Eduardo Coutinho, Domingos de Oliveira, Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Walter Lima Jr., among others.

3. Dib Lutfi took Arne Sucksdorff’s 1962-63 film course, which first introduced NAGRA direct sound equipment to filmmakers in Brazil. In 1963-64, besides working on his brother’s films, Lutfi assisted Sucksdorff on his feature Fábula or Mitt hen är Copacabana (1965). The differences between Sucksdorff’s “academic” tripod and lightening and Lutfi’s hand held cinematography and natural lightening techniques are remarkable. The differences suggest the varying ways in which the local appropriation of foreign techniques can result in different aesthetics. Hamburger, E. (2020). "Arne Sucksdorff, professor incômodo no Brasil." https://dialnet.unirioja.es/servlet/articulo?codigo=7287020 (access 11/15/2020)

4. Glauber Rocha created a cordel style song and asked Sérgio Ricardo to listen to his recordings of popular Northeasterner repentistas, who sing, and play the rabeca in popular markets and other public spaces. Their compositions absorbed ongoing events and figures, mixed with old Iberian structures. While this folk style was familiar to Rocha, Ricardo was introduced to cordel to compose the music. The result is a well-known song that managed to bring popular culture to an experimental film. Xavier 1999 [1997], Carvalho 2011, Debs 2014

5. Leal, H. (2008). O Homem da Montanha, Orlando Senna. Carvalho, M. d. S. S. (2003). A nova onda baiana: Cinema na Bahia 1958-1962. Salvador, Editora da Universidade Federal da Bahia.

6. Although Guerra is credited for editing the film, and not credited for the song, his dense and detailed biography mentions his friendship with Sérgio Ricardo and authorship of the lyrics of the song “Esse mundo é meu”, but does not mention the editing work on Esse mundo é meu. Even though the film is named after the song, only the main chorus from the original song is there. The song would reverberate as it was recorded by Sergio Ricardo in the film’s album, and later by the very popular singer Elis Regina. Borges, V. P. (2017). Ruy Guerra, paixão escancarada. São Paulo, Boitempo.


7. An emblematic example of this dynamic occurred in 2008, with the presence of the Executive Director of the Cinemateca Brasileira at the 3rd annual CineOP. The theme of CineOP that year was National Audiovisual Preservation Policy: Needs and challenges. Throughout the event, the Executive Director took a firm stand on opposing the articulation of other audiovisual heritage institutions with the Ministry of Culture’s representatives, and the creation of the Brazilian Association of Audiovisual Preservation (ABPA).

8. Ziraldo also designed the film’s credits. He also appears in Esse mundo é meu; Visual artist Lygia Pape designed the credits for the feature.

9. This Umbanda hymn says Oxalá / meu pai / Tem pena de nós /Tem dó / A volta do mundo é grande / Seu poder é bem maior (Oxalá/ my father / have pity on us / have mercy /the turning of the world is large /but your power is much larger) Maestro Gaya is credit for the film’s music, therefore this and other orchestrations are his.

10. Esse mundo é meu includes “ Canção do último caminho” from the cordel playAs Aventuras de Ripió Lacraia, written by CPC playwright Chico de Assis. The play is featured in the sound track to indicate that Luzia died: “Neither hunger nor temptation, neither pain nor love, His soul became a little bird, beautiful flight took off, He went far away on his way, He went to heaven to fly there.” (p. 17) https://issuu.com/todoteatrocarioca/docs/as_aventuras_de_ripi___lacraia_-_19 (acess 11/15/2020).

11. Bernardet, J. C. (2007 [1967]). Brasil em tempo de cinema, São Paulo.

12. See for example Cardenuto, R. (2008). Discursos de intervenção: o cinema de propaganda ideológica para o CPC e o ipês às vésperas do golpe de 1964. PPGMPA. São Paulo, Universidade de São Paulo. Mestrado. , Cardenuto, R. (2014). O cinema político de Leon Hirzsman (1976-1983): Engajamento e resistência durante o regime militar brasileiroibid. Doutorado.

13. Based on an original play by Brazilian poet, and diplomat Vinícius de Moraes.
The Cinemateca Brasileira (CB, or “Brazilian Cinematheque”), the leading audiovisual heritage institution in Brazil, is going through its worst-ever crisis in 2020. As a result, its extensive collection and elaborate technological machinery are threatened, as well as the knowledge that permeates from both. At the beginning of the year, a flood occurred in the Cinemateca’s warehouse, drastically affecting part of the film and equipment collection stored there. Since August 2020, the collection and facilities are without proper technical support; and at this moment of writing, there is no news of an immediate resolution that meets the urgency. Inaction and neglect with the Cinemateca Brasileira are just two examples of the Brazilian government’s perversities, which additionally include the structural dismantling of the public health, education, and cultural systems,1 and the ecocide and genocide of the country’s native and black populations, the latter of which has been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Cinemateca crisis took on unprecedented proportions in 2020, but its origin came earlier, going through the administrative and political turmoil of 2013 and a fire in early 2016. This article discusses the work carried out at the institution in mid-2016, the challenge of its continuity after the team’s reduction in 2017, the alleged solution with a new management model in 2018, and the 2020 hecatomb.2 This text also presents a few conjectures about the relationship between Brazil’s audiovisual heritage and its audiovisual production industry. The series of crises over the last 74 years, marked by the four fires and the flood, are the broad consequence of what Brasília-based museologist Fabiana Ferreira highlights in her thesis “A Cinemateca Brasileira e as políticas públicas de preservação do acervo audiovisual no Brasil” (2020).3 She claims, “the only stable aspect in public policies for audiovisual preservation is its inconstancy. A succession of disagreements and disarticulations by the political agents responsible for the creation and implementation of policies without a real national governmental project that crosses mandates” (2020, p.109). According to Hernani Heffner, chief curator of the Cinemateca do MAM in Rio de Janeiro, this is not only the biggest crisis in the history of the Cinemateca Brasileira, but also the biggest crisis of Brazilian audiovisual heritage.4

Overview of the Last Two Decades
Brazil is a federal republic of continental dimensions – the fifth-largest in territorial extension. It has 26 states and a federal district. The country has undergone two re-democratization processes, the most recent in 1984 after the end of the military dictatorship. In the 21st century, Brazil has had economic growth, a reduction of social gaps, and extreme-poverty rates. Universities flourished and the audiovisual industry solidified through new federal policies and programs as a result of the investment policies of the Audiovisual Secretariat (SAv) / Ministry of Culture (MinC),5 and the Audiovisual Sector Fund (FSA).6 These investments allowed new professionals to emerge in the film production sector and the consolidation of new film production companies, which, in turn, supplied an increasing number of new films each year. Eventual municipal and state resources for film production were added to the federal ones. However, Laura Bezerra observes that while the government invested in decentralizing cultural production policies, the same did not happen with film preservation (2015). While there were substantial investments in the Cinemateca Brasileira during this period and after the inclusion of the CB in the SAv’s organizational chart, there were also few political discussions about the implementation of policies and actions for the field in a profound way.7 This is a problem that is fundamental for understanding the development of the current crisis. As Fabiana Ferreira diagnosed, “The Cinemateca does not act in the creation and implementation of preservation policies, either by conducting discussions and holding dialogues with the sector or by actively participating in political spaces at the federal level, such as the National Film Council, for example. There was also no structured dialogue with other memory management entities” (2020, p.108). The State’s insufficiency in their management of Brazilian heritage causes profound reverberations, especially affecting the audiovisual production industry which seems to not recognize preservation as a necessary element for their works. Still, the current Cinemateca Brasileira crisis has become yet another argument for the decentralization (and increase) of investments in audiovisual heritage nationwide.8 Brazil has many federal, state, municipal, and private heritage institutions that are not in the spotlight and that also demand urgent actions and resources.

Over the last few decades, there has been constant maturation in the field of audiovisual preservation. For example, the establishment of specific financing programs; the distribution of new publications; the creation and growth of the festival Mostra de Cinema de Ouro Preto (CineOP), where the National Meeting of Archives and Audiovisual Collections takes place;9  the formation of the Brazilian Association for Audiovisual Preservation (ABPA) and the elaboration of the National Plan for Audiovisual Preservation (PNPA).10  Also, there has been a growing number of Preservation-related events each year.
Cinemateca Brasileira – A Brief History
The Cinemateca Brasileira has had several administrative arrangements. It began as a civil society organization and later moved to the public sphere. Its long history includes many setbacks with some positive developments. The writer, essayist, critic, researcher, professor, and activist Paulo Emílio Sales Gomes (1916-1977) is the protagonist in the creation, defense, and management of the Cinemateca Brasileira. Paulo Emílio’s impact on the field of Brazilian Cinema is broader than his work on the Cinemateca itself. His work was fundamental in the valorization of Brazilian cinema, in its qualification as a historical document, in the defense of its preservation, and in creating university cinema courses. Paulo Emílio was also active in international politics as a regular member of the Executive Committee of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) between 1948 and 1964, eventually becoming the organization’s vice president. He is also a renowned author in historiographic studies of cinema, with publications on the French director Jean Vigo and the Brazilian filmmaker Humberto Mauro, among others. As a teacher, he was vital in the formation of numerous important scholars, film critics, and preservationists, such as Carlos Augusto Calil, Carlos Roberto de Sousa, Ismail Xavier, Jean-Claude Bernardet, Maria Rita Galvão, and Olga Futemma – some of whom continued his work at the Cinemateca Brasileira.

In consideration of the many publications on the Cinemateca Brasileira in Portuguese and the limited English repertoire that exists in comparison, what follows here is a brief overview of the institution’s key historical moments. In 1940, intellectuals from São Paulo created the Clube de Cinema de São Paulo (São Paulo Film Club), which promoted the exhibition of films, conferences, debates, and publications before being closed in 1941 by the country’s then-reigning dictatorship government. In 1946, Paulo Emílio went to France to study at the Institut des Hautes Études Cinematographiques (IDHEC). He grew even closer to the Cinemathèque française, an institution founded in 1936 with which he had contact since living in Paris during the previous decade – the period when his passion for cinema awoke. The second São Paulo Film Club was created in 1946, and in addition to its previous activities, it began to develop the initiative of prospecting and preserving materials from Brazilian films. 1946 is therefore considered to be the milestone year of the Cinemateca’s creation. Paulo Emílio affiliated the Club to FIAF in 1948. In the following year, the Film Library was created, and then connected to the newly created Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo. In 1956, the archive was detached from the museum and became the Cinemateca Brasileira, a non-profit civil society. The Advisory Council was formed the same year.11 As a result of the self-combustion of a cellulose nitrate reel, the Cinemateca’s first fire occurred in the summer of 1957, which “completely destroyed the library, the photo library, the general archives, and the collection of devices for the future cinema museum, as well as one-third of the film collection” (Gomes, 1981, p. 75). The tragedy elicited support and donations from national and foreign entities, and the Cinemateca resultingly gained space in the largest urban park in São Paulo, Ibirapuera Park. In 1961, the Cinemateca became a non-profit foundation, an essential status for its autonomy and ability to raise public resources.

In the following year, a new non-profit civil entity called the Sociedade Amigos da Cinemateca (SAC, Portuguese for “Society of Friends of the Cinematheque”) was created to assist the Cinemateca in its management of financial resources and to develop various activities to support the Institution. Initially, the Cinemateca mainly held film screenings, but from the 1970s onwards preservation became its axis partly due to the declining state of its collection. The late 1960s and mid-1970s formed a critical period for the institution, as it had few employees and much voluntary work. Unfortunately, the Cinemateca was unable to pay its annuity fees, and therefore it was disconnected from FIAF in 1963. The CB became an observer in 1979 and received its full FIAF membership again in 1984. The Cinemateca’s second fire occurred in the summer of 1969 for the same reason the previous fire was triggered, resulting in the significant loss of film-related materials. In 1977, the institution’s Laboratory was created with equipment from commercial film laboratories that had been deactivated. Paulo Emílio passed away from a heart attack that same year. 

In 1980, an operations Center was opened in São Paulo’s Conceição Park for documentation and research work. The third fire occurred in the autumn of 1982. As a result, a move was made to incorporate the Cinemateca into the public sphere. In 1984, the CB Foundation was extinguished, and the Cinemateca was attached, as an autonomous organ, to the National Pro-Memory Foundation. In 1989, a cinema12 theater was rented to screen the archive’s collection in the busy neighborhood of Pinheiros, which significantly leveraged São Paulo’s cinema scene. By the end of the decade, the Cinemateca staff consisted of about 40 people (many of them former students of Paulo Emílio), 30 of whom were hired with formal contracts.

In 1990, the government extinguished the National Pro-Memory Foundation and the Cinemateca was incorporated into the Brazilian Cultural Heritage Institute (IBPC). This organization transformed into the (still-active) National Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage (IPHAN) four years later. In 1997, the Cinemateca’s current facility was founded, a heritage site converted from a slaughterhouse after nine years of reformations. The definitive headquarters13 aggregates the conservation and screening departments that had previously been scattered throughout the city of São Paulo. This centralizing was a crucial element in the institution’s consolidation process after decades of scarce resources, precarious infrastructure, and oscillations in institutional dynamics. 

In 2001, a vault with a proper climatization system was inaugurated with an initial capacity of one hundred thousand reels. In the same year, the Brazilian Cinematographic Census project began14 with funding from BR Distribuidora.15 The Brazilian Cinematographic Census project was an essential step for appraisal and basic conservation procedures in the collection,16 and the training of technicians. The project “was organized around four basic axes: the appraisal and examination of the existing collection, which was previously concentrated and dispersed; the duplication of reels threatened by deterioration; the dissemination of the work and its results; the study of legal measures for the protection of audiovisual heritage” (Souza, 2009, p.258). In 2003, upon resolving that IPHAN was not meeting the scope of its tasks, and after deliberation by the Council, the CB was attached to SAv/MinC. In the following years, the resources transferred by MinC gradually increased. In 2003, the CB implemented a short internship program for technicians from other institutions. From 2004 to 2006, the Prospecção e Memória (Prospecting and Memory) project followed the Census project, especially concerning the cataloguing of Brazilian movies compiled in the Cinemateca’s Filmografia Brasileira (Brazilian Filmography) database.17 In 2005, SAv created the Brazilian Audiovisual Information System (SiBIA) which was coordinated by the CB. It was “a program that aimed to establish a network that currently counts on more than 30 institutions that dedicate themselves, primarily or in subsidiary fashion, to the preservation of moving image collections throughout Brazil”.18 In 2006, the CB hosted the 62nd FIAF Congress, “The Future of Film Archives in a Digital Cinema World: Film Archives in Transition”. In that same year, on the institution’s 60th anniversary, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva became the first (and only) president of Brazil to personally visit the CB, with representatives’ delegation. In 2006, the CB published the “Manual de Manuseio de Películas Cinematográficas” and the “Manual de Catalogação de Filmes” da instituição (Film Handling Manual and Cataloging Manual), which became a primary reference for other preservation institutions, as scarce technical publications existed in Portuguese at the time. In 2008, SAC became a Public Interest Civil Organization (OSCIP) and, since then, the transferring of resources to projects carried out at the Cinemateca has been massive. Under SAC management, SAv’s projects were carried out in an agile way, unlike the Ministry’s bureaucracy. At that time, many of SAv’s programs were achieved at the Cinemateca, such as “Programadora Brasil”.19 As of 2008, annual reports that described the archive’s operations throughout the year were published online,20 except for the following years: 2013, 2015, 2018, and 2019. As a result of the census, the lab preserved and restored numerous films and created new access materials. In 2009, the CB launched the DVD box set “Resgate do Cinema Silencioso Brasileiro” (Rescuing Silent Brazilian Cinema), with 27 early films accompanied by new soundtracks. In 2011, a secondary site was opened in the neighborhood of Vila Leopoldina21 to store films, documents, and equipment. In 2012, the first edition of the magazine Revista da Cinemateca Brasileira was published and in the following year, its second edition was published.22 In 2013, a political-administrative crisis was initiated, and the Cinemateca’s executive director was dismissed without due dialogue with the Council or appropriate measures taken for finding his replacement or formulating a transition plan. The Comptroller General of Brazil carried out several audits regarding SAv resources executed by SAC and the acquisition of collections by the government.23 At the end of the year, of the 124 employees that had been working before the crisis, just a few remained, including 22 public servants directly linked to the Ministry.24 From the 2014 Report, it is possible to verify that some of the institutional workflow continued. Below, I present data that reflect the interruption of work in 2014 (and 2015). This work stoppage would drastically affect the CB’s collection:25
In the summer of 2016, the Cinemateca’s fourth fire occurred, again due to a nitrate reel’s self-combustion. The loss was estimated at a total of 1003 reels of cellulose nitrate films referent to 731 titles. In addition to the discontinuation of the nitrate collection analysis after the 2013 crisis, technicians realized a few years later that someone had allocated new reels at the Cinemateca’s nitrate vault without the proper removal of the transport packaging. This could have been avoided if the technical team had been tasked with allocating and reallocating works within this film collection. This oversight potentially created conditions for a microclimate prone to self-combustion, and it could have been the second factor responsible for the fire. However, the first and most important factor for the fire will always be the government's neglect, given the lack of resources for the institution’s primary activities.
Cinemateca Brasileira – 2016 and 2017
The 2016 fire coincided with hiring 11 new technicians, an action made possible by a one-year contract signed between SAv/MinC and the Educational Communication of the Roquette Pinto Association (Acerp) at the end of 2015. Altogether, until the middle of the year, 42 technicians were hired, in addition to the 15 public servants directly linked to MinC. Third-party companies were contracted for essential services (maintenance, cleaning, security, and IT). Seven technicians were also hired for the flow of Legal Deposit,26 made possible by the Brazilian Film Agency (Ancine). The tone set by Cinemateca Brasileira director Olga Futemma27 in the 2016 Report is one of optimism and pride in meeting the goals established in the contract’s Work Plan, though there are due signs of the difficulties and challenges created from the discontinuity of work in the previous years in the report as well. A highlight of the work carried out as a result of the fire:
“Appraisal and reporting the losses […]; examination, separation by technical deterioration [...] for lab processing; provisional allocation of the remaining 3,000 nitrate reels; creation of a project, for the burnt vault, for fire prevention devices [...]; basic renovation of the vault, carried out by the Cinemateca’s team, for the return of the collection [...]; technical disposal of fire residues”.
Despite the disaster, MinC did not provide resources for preventing further fires.28 Another challenge explained by Futemma was the situation of the Laboratory, which had undergone a work stoppage. “The scenario was heartbreaking”, she claimed. To stress its importance: The Laboratory at the Cinemateca Brasileira is the most complete (and possibly last) of the photochemical labs in South America. It has the ability to process film-to-film, including 35mm and 16mm, b&w of all materials and color prints. The Lab can process smaller gauge film formats such as 8mm, 9.5mm, and 16mm film as well. In addition to its capacity to specifically work with film, the Lab also contains a wealth of digital equipment. These include the ability to scan 35mm film-to-digital (HD, 2K, 4K, 6K) and the ability to print digital back-to-film, such as printing digital to 35mm film. The Lab can scan several video formats to digital, including U-Matic, Betacam SP, Digital Betacam, DVCam, and others. It also has the capacity to conduct digital image and sound manipulation, including color correction and restoration. The machinery has even been outfitted over the years to process materials with advanced deterioration.29 However, due to the lack of staff over previous years and the resulting lack of maintenance and parts, it became impossible to resume some of these workflows. 

The Cinemateca’s current audiovisual collection comprises about 250 thousand nitrate, acetate, and polyester film reels, in addition to a large gathering of magnetic tapes and reels, and approximately 800 terabytes of digital data – mainly comprised of digitized materials from the collection and Legal Deposit materials. The film-related collection comprises about one million documents, such as posters, photographs, drawings, books, scripts, periodicals, censorship certificates, press materials, and documents from personal and institutional archives.30 There is also a non-cataloged equipment collection. In recent times, the institution’s resources and activities were divided among the following departments: Film Preservation, Documentation and Research Center, Access – Programming31 and Events, Administration, Maintenance and IT.

In the Film Preservation sector, several task flows were executed throughout 2016: monitoring of the climate control of the deposits, movement of materials according to their physical state of deterioration, documentation review, applicant services, and emergency duplication of materials (which will be discussed more later on). A significant element of our workflow was to document mandatory preservation actions in a collective fashion, a task for which the Cinemateca lacked sufficient resources. After months of corrective maintenance and evaluation of lab chemicals and raw film stock, the processing of deteriorated film materials began: per the 2016 report, “the selection was made by considering the technical conditions of the materials, [with an investment of] less time and resources in the complementary actions of a single work so that it would be possible to make feasible actions, although incomplete, in a wider number of materials”.32
Due to goals established in the Work Plan and the limited available time and staff in 2016, the selection of films for processing in the Lab was only carried out by one technician. However, the ideal context would be one in which there were institutional debates and discussions about the film selection process. Attention was taken not to select consecrated narrative feature films,33 but instead, to cover “material from fiction films, documentaries, newsreels, domestic films, and scientific films… without subjective evaluation of the content of the works or any curatorship” (2016 Report). The selection prioritized the state of deterioration of the materials and not their content. An aspect of this workflow worth being critical of is that many worthy films were not being selected, which possibly further increased their ostracism. Throughout the analysis process, some materials were evaluated as not processable. Since these films were considered unique, if they were not processed and restored, it would represent the death of the images and sounds they contain. Countless materials so deteriorated that they did not meet the conditions for a complete duplication. Also, newly generated materials often contained photographic marks of deterioration that were existent in the material prior to them. During this workflow, the film stock purchased in previous years was used. However, a few years later, the archive ran out of raw film stock for its workflow.

The eventual losses of films and the specificities of processing them raised awareness around the need to create a standardized methodology for evaluating and documenting films. Because every film is its own unique material, this standardized methodology could help guide preservation and access actions. The “preservation status” was thus created, and this categorization was integrated into the film’s internal documentation and incorporated into communications with the rights holders. This documentation would include the categorization of the preservation status, like “partially preserved” and “partially lost”, with recommendations such as lab processing or research for new materials.34 Since these categories would frequently vary throughout the year as the materials’ physical conditions could change, the original date that a film’s status was proclaimed was as important as the actual status itself.

The database solution used at the Cinemateca Brasileira was WinIsis,35 which is a poor tool for complex data analysis. Several workflows – analysis, outflow of materials, and creation of new materials – required constant updating of the audiovisual database, which was interrupted because of the institution’s broad structural problems. In parallel, the open-source and Web-based project Trac36 was purposed and standardized for internal documentation workflow on the intranet. Trac was basically a Wiki documentation and ticket system. According to the 2017 Report, this intranet “makes it possible to maintain information horizontally among sectors, collaboration in the construction of documentation, the continuity, and organization of information on the same platform, […] used to document different internal procedures; norms and instructions for internal documentation; reports and texts related to the institution; information related to external requests and data of materials analyzed and processed”. The effort to keep internal documentation accessible, horizontal, and transparent, consistent with a memory institution’s role, did not comprise communications with Acerp and the projects sent to the Ministries. An essential element for those years was the investment in technological development, as documented in the 2017 report, which allowed the analysis of information from the database in a dynamic way and the research for solutions to foster the institution’s autonomy. 

The ClimaCB project is worth mentioning, as it allowed for the online monitoring of climate control. It is a combination of open-source software and hardware that would list which guidelines and codes would be available in Git for free use. Unfortunately, the project was not published. Considering the potential cardinal role of the CB within the scope of Brazilian audiovisual heritage, it is clear that participation in technical discussions and the publication of proposals and technological solutions are both wanted and needed.

During the two years under the Service Contract, Olga Futemma held meetings with the technical staff to share news, impressions, and strategies. The meetings reinforced the notion of the team’s proportion and strength and served as an injection of spirit. Another positive development that brought the preservation team together was the Cinemateca’s new website, as the previous site had had obsolete navigation and tools. A moment of heightened visibility came when a short video made by the technical team showing the history of the institution’s logo dating back to 1954 became widely shared on the internet.37

The staff in the Film Preservation department was balanced between former technicians who ensured the continuation of workflows and new technicians who provided fresh evaluations for the workflows. The difficulties in creating interpersonal relationships during previous years and feelings of insecurity over the 2013 crisis were negative aspects that we avoided discussing within the workspace.

2016 was marked by the autonomy and intense communication of the technical team, but also by setbacks. In May, MinC published a public tender for electing a Social Organization (SO) to undertake the CB’s management. This was still during the Presidency of Dilma Rousseff. Shortly afterward, a misogynist coup occurred – by dint of the process of impeachment which eventually led to Rousseff’s ousting and the taking of power by her former vice president. Shortly after he took office, he tried to end MinC, but reversed this position in response to intense popular pressure. The new Minister of Culture canceled the public tender for electing a Social Organization for the Cinemateca Brasileira, and it was released months later with changes.

July 2016 brought one more surprise: after a restructuring of MinC, five positions at the Cinemateca were eliminated. At the time, these positions were occupied by the director and experienced technicians. A new director would be indicated by the Ministry, without the necessary expertise and without the Council’s participation, a move considered to be unprecedented at the time. Audiovisual associations issued letters against this announcement and the Council issued a manifesto38 in favor of revoking the layoffs and proposing a partnering with the Brazilian Museum Institute (IBRAM). The stance eventually led to the reversing of the dismissals and a rehiring of the director and technicians.

In the following months, the CB and SAv/MinC jointly sought to prevent a gap between the expiration of the Service Contract with Acerp, which would end in December, and the new management determined by the selected SO after the public tender. A solution was finally found a day before the contract’s expiration – an extension until April 2017. But, “as the residual value is not enough to remunerate for four months all technicians previously hired, it was necessary to reduce the staff (by about 75%) and, as a consequence, workflows”, according to that year’s report. The year ended with mixed enthusiasm for the future of the CB. While there was Paulo Emílio’s centenary celebration, which included the launch of a series-specific website,39 courses for the general public and publications devoted to Paulo Emílio’s work, there was also discouragement for the downsizing of the Cinemateca’s team, as the staff would not be the same size again until June 2017. The impact on the CB of the substantial reduction in technicians is evident, as can be observed in this 2016 and 2017 lab processing chart which reflects the amount of processed material:
In May 2018, the contract with the SO for the CB’s management was signed, followed by a ceremony attended by the then-Minister of Culture, who claimed that “the crisis is over” thanks to the new management model. Acerp, which managed the CB via a Service Contract that began in 2016, was the SO selected in the public tender. In the case of the Cinemateca Brasileira, this legal indenture would contribute to the current crisis. It was not legally possible for Acerp to directly sign a contract with the Ministry of Culture (to which the Cinemateca was linked) due to its preexisting contract with the Ministry of Education (MEC). Thus, the management of the Cinemateca was officially fulfilled by an amendment to the main contract.40 After the contract’s signing, Acerp appointed a new director without the deliberation of the Council, which was then ostracized from further organizational discussions. Acerp’s first action that had a substantial impact on the dynamics of the institution’s technical team was creating a new customer service department, installed for meeting the growing number of outside requests, especially requests for access to the Cinemateca’s audiovisual collection. The other sectors’ services and fulfilling access requests never stopped; the main bottleneck was providing access to the audiovisual collection. Every collection request was in theory recorded, answered, and eventually met in the order of their arrival, the possibility of completing the request, and the processing time to complete it. Despite this protocol established by the team, a sign of the CB’s subjugation would be the intensification of projects becoming prioritized over others, as determined by the Minister or the board of Acerp. This non-conformity with the institution’s protocols generated personal discomfort among the preservation team.

For the Film Preservation department workers, the new customer service meant there would be no more contact with researchers and producers, who were used to the greater agility in meeting their requests that the larger staff provided before 2013 and were frustrated by the reduced team’s limited response. Besides, the dialogue with producers and researchers about their practices showed a lack of understanding of preservation’s importance. Furthermore, this dialogue proved to be shortsighted from a market perspective when accessing materials held in the CB for digitization without proper processing.41 Another indication of incomprehension and disrespect for the preservation team was that the agreed upon financial compensation that the institution was expecting never arrived. This matter was elegantly noted by Olga Futemma, who stated in the 2016 Report: “some of the bad situations we faced were due to: tight deadlines; the total disregard of the need for compensation – not in monetary terms, since the Cinemateca cannot charge [for admissions, loans, or services at the time], but in actions that should have been foreseen in its projects and that would allow expanding the collection [...]; the misunderstanding that unique (preservation) materials should not leave the collection without supervision […]”. She added that “it is necessary, therefore, to continue to make efforts to change the conception of the public good as something that can be freely available for the achievement of private projects, and for the understanding of the need, still in the elaboration phase, to consult with the Cinemateca on the feasibility of the project in concerning the intended materials and the deadlines necessary for their availability. These are two necessary conditions for planning whose meeting benefit both the requester and the collection”.

In September 2018, former members of the Board issued an Extrajudicial Notification to MinC, requesting the “revocation of acts […] and rules that violate the technical, administrative and financial autonomy ensured in the deed of incorporation of the Cinemateca Brasileira Foundation […], in addition to: 1) The constitution of a new advisory council in compliance with the necessary autonomy of the body; […] 3) Return of the Cinemateca Brasileira to the structure of IPHAN”. The notification also mentions the “SAv’s omission in the face of the [2016] fire […], and that the Cinemateca Brasileira is no longer part of the structure of the Ministry of Culture and has not earned any public positions”.
Cinemateca Brasileira’s Management by the Social Organization
At the time of the Cinemateca Brasileira’s consolidation in the first decade of this century, maintaining its technical staff was a constant challenge. The technicians were hired for projects with specific durations via different forms of hiring.42 This dynamic created fragility and instability in workflows and compromised strategies and structural solutions, in addition to leaving the technical team in vulnerable positions.43 The SO management model would be the desired solution to enable the stabilizing of the technical team’s employment statuses after years of scarcity. Futemma evidenced this hope in an e-mail sent to the ABPA listserv: “This discussion [of the SO management model] has been taking place for eight years, involving MinC, SAv, the Council and the Cinemateca team. We have great expectations that, by the end of this year, a new management model will allow the Cinemateca Brasileira to exercise its full potential in favor of Brazilian audiovisual heritage”.44

The SO management model was the solution deliberated upon after a period of instability among the Cinemateca’s technical staff. It came with the possible preference of a SO created especially for the management of the CB, Pró-Cinemateca, built in 2014 by members of the Council and SAC with the sole purpose of managing the Cinemateca. It would potentially have the participation of professionals from the field in the construction of a Work Plan – the core document for the management itself and one of the selection criteria in the public tender. Pró-Cinemateca qualified for the first tender call, but it could not advance in the second tender call due to a new requirement for previous experience of the institution in the management of public resources. The Pró-Cinemateca itself had no experience, as it had only been created recently. Still, its representatives had spent many years at the Cinemateca’s Council, which, in practice, could have been argued as a more relevant credential than the company’s management history.

Today, following the emergence of controversies surrounding the management of other public entities, cases of corruption, and a series of publications made in the Academy and on the internet, the SO management model is widely questioned.45 It has been shown to be particularly risky for cultural heritage institutions with insufficient government funds, contexts in which essential conservation workflows (often costly and of low visibility) can be overshadowed for the benefit of actions with greater visibility. The elaboration of a work plan without the technical team’s effective participation can compromise its primary objectives. As diagnosed by Fabiana Ferreira:

“Another problem with this tenure is, claiming people are free to raise funds through means other than the State ignores that they also end up at the mercy of the State. Because, in Brazil, there is no tradition of private institutions supporting culture. The private sector in Brazil does not support cultural initiatives. Traditionally, millionaire families and Brazilian corporations do not make donations or investments in cultural equipment, even less for those who do not give visibility to the brand”. (2020, p.110)

In the CB’s case, the management by the SO enabled the CLT (Consolidation of Labor Laws)46 hiring of a good part of the team, whose choice, fortunately, fell to the institution’s coordinators without the intervention of Acerp. However, the technical staff gradually became conditioned to the Acerp guidelines. This conditioning was evident during internal meetings, where it was no longer possible to play an active role in collection prospection47 or to speak on behalf of the institution without Acerp’s consent. Signs of change were perceived in the team’s modes of social interaction in a dystopian way. For example, a camera network to oversee the collection and equipment was installed by Acerp and covered spaces previously used during work breaks. This modern panoptic lookout generated discomfort among us. 

Internal courses on technical subjects or on workflows and activities between sectors, which had been held regularly since 2017, were suspended. Fundraising for the Cinemateca was among the actions sought by Acerp, and the usages of the collection and facilities proved to be a quick means to this end, thus generating long periods with a constant flow of production of major events that held varied themes, sometimes apart from the cultural and audiovisual spheres. Since Acerp did not issue the 2018 and 2019 Reports, access to information about these events is not possible to obtain. The absence of the publication of annual Reports is a dangerous indication of the failure of the SO model for the Cinemateca, as they have been essential documents for accountability and transparency of the institution’s management. During the SO period, Acerp issued reports for the Ministry on the performance of Work Plan goals. However, these documents are quite technical and not very informative, in addition to being inaccessible today to the general public. Acerp proposed a Code of Ethics and Conduct for CB employees, presented at an event on company compliance – the sole enunciation of religious beliefs48 was a significant demonstration of the distance between Acerp and the CB’s institutional mission.49 Plus, Acerp’s inability to clear bureaucracies for equipment acquisition for the Lab was evident, which affected work plans that were reliant upon such equipment’s availability. Requests for access to the audiovisual collection by TV Escola for use in their programming became routine, while Acerp meanwhile ignored some work-related needs pointed out by the technical staff. Film programming proposals were negatively impacted by the presence of Acerp. After all, how does one present the idea of ​​a Fassbinder series to a board that made homophobic jokes during small talk before meetings? 

The late self-cancellation of CryptoRave’s50 2019 edition by the Cinemateca team for fear of reprisal was symptomatic. An undeniable symbol of the occupation by Acerp was the creation of a new institutional website without the active participation of the CB’s technical staff in editorial decisions. As an example of this fiasco, Acerp implemented a new website without the previous dynamic calendar tool. Resultingly, the new website has a more updated design but is less functional than the previous site had been. Also, Acerp immediately implemented an intermediate logo (‘cinemateca brasileira’ in white on a red background), replacing the 1954 logo which was created by the celebrated designer Alexandre Wollner. Acerp commissioned a new logo design that was presented to the technical staff, and allowed us no time to deliberate as to whether or not we approved of it. The fresh concept and layout were surprisingly similar to the logo of the Curta Cinema - International Short Film Festival in Rio de Janeiro. Acerp is in fact headquartered in Rio de Janeiro and the Cinemateca Brasileira in São Paulo,51 which produced another convoluted aspect: the expenses of transportation, accommodation, and meal tickets for directors, managers, and legal consultants between the two cities, which altogether sum up to a considerable amount. Rather than spend this money on transportation, it could have been invested in the CB itself.

An unquestionable symbol of the SO management model’s failure for the Cinemateca was the dissolution of the Council, constituted of representatives of the government and civil society. The CB’s 1984 legal document of incorporation to the federal government determined the existence of the Council. Acerp, acting without the Council’s input, appointed several directors who had no experience in heritage or preservation fields. This appointment further alienated the technical team who worked to manage the CB. In addition to all of this, the Cinemateca – a historically non-partisan institution – became, through Acerp, the destination of people linked with the extreme right-wing political party of the acting Brazilian president. These people assumed various administrative and communicative positions at the institution without any proven expertise. The newcomers would frequently present the institution’s vaults to visitors without a technician’s due presence, further undermining conservation efforts. The presence of military personnel at the Cinemateca52 and their failed attempt to organize a military film series gained broad reverberations. During the first two years of Acerp’s management (2016-2018), the technical team was autonomous and in control of projects. However, there was a major loss of autonomy in the SO management model from 2018 onwards.

The administrative limbo of ten public servants who were allocated to the institution found themselves in is another important matter. Since the beginning of the SO management, when the CB ceased to have administrative backing under the former SAv/MinC, these people had remained in their positions. Some of them had served at the institution for more than three decades. Before the SO amendment was signed, they were guaranteed that they would not receive losses in their salaries and benefits. However, after the amendment was signed, the governmental understanding changed, and their assignment to Acerp was never made official. Despite this situation, the Ministry instructed these workers to continue with their activities at the Cinemateca. After a year and a half of neglect and contradictory messages, they had to abruptly abandon their functions at the CB to work at the Southeast Ministry’s Regional Office in São Paulo without any infrastructure to welcome them. In addition to this sudden displacement, they were forced to acquiesce to a legal process based on the necessity of returning a bonus earned during the period that they had worked at the CB under the SO administration – a bonus which represented a significant part of their salaries.

Although Acerp assumed the institutional relations more broadly, the Cinemateca’s relationship with FIAF continued to be maintained by Olga Futemma and fellow coordinators, who issued thorough annual reports to FIAF and the prompt inspection of information requested by affiliates. However, between 2016 and 2019, neither Futemma or the coordinators represented the CB at the FIAF congresses held in Bologna, Los Angeles, Prague, or Lausanne.
2020 Crisis
In February 2020, the CB’s off-site facility in Vila Leopoldina was badly affected by a flood from heavy rains and lack of proper management of the storm sewer, combined with the intense pollution of the Pinheiros River, less than half a mile away. The sewage water reached more than a meter in height and destroyed a part of the film and equipment collection, including the last surviving materials of some narrative short and feature-length films, as well as many unique elements of newsreels, advertising materials, and trailers. The Documentation and Research Center assessed the damage such that it was not considered to be significant, since the majority of what had been destroyed was duplicated material. The flood damaged shed facilities and equipment. After thoroughgoing sanitation of the facility by the cleaning team, a part of the technical staff was deployed to clean, organize, and rescue the affected materials. Acerp or SAv did not carry out an emergency plan for the urgent assessment and processing of the site’s audiovisual and equipment collections (which had been the most affected by the flooding), such as hiring an extra technical team temporarily or even granting permission for the obtaining of volunteer work.53 The catastrophe was not immediately reported due to the lack of coordination between SAv and Acerp, and the technical team was not permitted to make news of the flood available to the public. The small team established different shifts in consideration of the high toxicity of the environment and the exhaustive work involved, with their efforts made all the more difficult by the warehouse’s high temperatures without air conditioning and local ventilation.54 Film materials were selected and transferred to the main headquarters for evaluation and processing in the Lab, but the raw film stock was running low. The damage of the audiovisual and equipment collections in the facility, the inaction of SAv and Acerp, the crisis which would subsequently occur, and the interruption of the rescue and research work ultimately makes this flood equivalent in nature to a catastrophe like the Cinemateca’s fires. Per Fabiana Ferreira, such disasters “are a metaphor for the fragility of the making of an audiovisual preservation policy that goes up in flames with each change of Government, of the creation of entities, of new agents” (2020, p.23).

Since the 2013 crisis, the Ministry’s funds have fallen short, which has resulted in smaller teams than were anticipated for the work plans. At the end of 2019, there was yet another crisis, when the then-Minister of Education (MEC) decided not to continue the TV Escola project – the main object of Acerp’s contract with MEC – and did not renew the SO Contract with Acerp. Once the MEC’s main contract was extinguished, all other agreements were also terminated. This is despite the CB-specific amendment ostensibly being valid until 2021. As a result of this termination, the administration of the CB was left adrift. Acerp spent a few months trying to circumvent the decision and to obtain funds from SAv, the Special Secretariat for Culture, and the Ministry of Tourism, but without success. The year 2020 was filled with absurd news of government decisions involving the CB, causing commotion in the filmmaking community and becoming widely covered on media outlets and social networks.55 In April, Acerp stopped paying outsourced companies and technical staff. Former members of the Council launched a manifesto in May.56

The Federal Prosecution Service initiated civil legal action against the Brazilian federal government in the interest of compelling an emergency renewal of the contract with Acerp. By the end of October 2020, the understanding has been a settled situation involving contracting essential services such as security personnel and firefighters. However, the action is still in progress, and the expectation exists for a new decision that will be favorable to the CB. Resistance and protest networks have been formed and strengthened, diffusely, with multiple participants who have narrowed their communication efforts over time: Cinemateca Viva, Cinemateca Acesa, and representatives of the São Paulo Association of Filmmakers (Apaci) - SOS Cinemateca.57 These groups have been active in performing demonstrations on behalf of the Cinemateca and building connections with municipal and federal government representatives. During this time, the CB’s spokesperson has not been the manager or the coordinators, but rather a diffuse representation of employees.58 The technical team continued to work remotely (when possible) soon after the COVID-19 pandemic began and went on strike in June with the Union’s practical assistance. A campaign was then initiated by CB workers to raise funds for colleagues who were left in the most vulnerable situation due to the lack of payed salaries right during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign received numerous contributions from individuals and institutions around the world.59 Direct donations were made directly to the CB, such as one from a Brazilian director who donated a sum for repairing a generator and wished to keep his contribution anonymous. In July, a debate was held in the Chamber of Deputies60 with the presence of government representatives and different players in the audiovisual industry and a number of other civil society members. The discussion served as a symbol of the unprecedented repercussion and engagement around the Cinemateca. In a way, it also highlighted the need for preservationists to ensure that the language and information spoken about the CB was factually accurate.61 

There were few instances of direct communication between Acerp’s board of directors and the CB technical staff, and the coordinators were sharing news related to the institution in a sporadic fashion. In June, Acerp’s directors issued an undated statement (undated!) expressing solidarity on “difficulties that everyone is going through,” claiming, “do know that we are doing ... everything that is within our reach”. The statement included the commitment that “as soon as we receive funds from the Federal Government, the first step will be to pay salaries and termination packages” – even though it had already been made explicit that there would be no funds transferred by the government. Considering the lack of resources in 2020 for the Cinemateca, the flood, the crisis arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, remote work, and the suspension of wages and benefits, this statement symbolizes the neglect and disrespect that Acerp showed the CB staff. After handing over the Cinemateca’s keys to the Ministry on August 7,62 Acerp unsurprisingly and abruptly fired all of its and the Cinemateca’s employees without arrears and severance pay.

As noted in the 2020 Gramado Letter (published just after the annual Gramado Film Festival), “after countless phone calls, messages, consultations between the parties and postponements, basic and emergency water and electricity services were guaranteed […]; cleaning services were contracted, although the company is not specialized; maintenance services for climatization equipment were contracted, although the company does not offer the necessary expertise; a small fire brigade composed of two employees and a property surveillance company were hired. However, specialized employees’ primordial work is lacking among the emergency needs, without which the collection will not be preserved, even with the resumption of the basic services described above”.63 Without technical monitoring, the smallest of incidents in the collection areas can hold drastic and irreversible consequences. This is the first time in the history of the Cinemateca that any of its technical staff members have been restricted from entering the institution.

Together with the news of the handover of the Cinemateca’s keys to the Ministry of Tourism, it was made clear that a new SO public tender announcement would soon be launched. This announcement has not yet occurred. There is a budget forecast of R$ 12.5 million [about USD 2.3 million] for the Cinemateca in 2020. If not used this year, this value cannot be added to the sparse R$4 million [about USD 720 thousand] foreseen for 2021. São Paulo councilors from different political parties organized a parliamentary amendments fund for the Cinemateca, with support from Spcine, the predominant audiovisual agency in the city of São Paulo. The deploying of municipal resources towards a federal institution requires an unprecedented legal articulation, which is being made by SAC for the emergency hiring of a small technical body. Today, civil society groups are still active, with an attempt underway to activate entities and continue the mobilization. 

It is imperative to create an immediate solution to make a technical team viable in 2020 so that the Cinemateca’s collection does not remain unaccompanied. Furthermore, mechanisms are needed for the continuance of middle and long-term management, in a resilient and sustainable manner that can prove consistent with the need for constant maintenance of the collection and continuance of the technical team. It is considered fundamental to open and create calls for civil service examinations for job positions that could confer the desired stability. As diagnosed in the 2020 Ouro Preto Letter:

“Preservation of cultural heritage is a constitutional duty of the Brazilian State and, therefore, it is necessary to recover the role of the public power in the management of audiovisual heritage institutions, resuming the processes of opening public tenders for job positions and implementing management plans designed together with civil society, a directive provided for in the 1980 UNESCO Recommendation for the Safeguarding and Preservation of Moving Images” An idea that has appeared throughout numerous online discussions is the return of CB to a federal government heritage institution such as IBRAM or IPHAN, to which the CB was linked until 2003, when it became the responsibility of SAv. This link to IPHAN provided continuity for the CB in the early 1990s when the federal government promoted the dismantling of cinema and institutional policies. IBRAM is an autonomous organization linked to the Ministry of Tourism, which covers thirty national museums.

Legal Deposit and the Audiovisual Industry
Despite the unquestionable duty of the State (and its evident neglect), I emphasize that interest and concern about an effective preservation policy must be seen as relevant by all sections of the audiovisual industry. We must challenge the generally held assumption that the “symbolic asset of memory is inferior to the symbolic asset of a feature film shown in shopping mall cinema venues” (Ferreira, 2020, p.111). This value was built, for decades, by the industry itself. It is possible that the FSA’s prosperity (and the increase in investments in development, production, distribution, and exhibition), together with the inaction of the audiovisual industry concerning preservation, are directly related to the dimension of the current Brazilian audiovisual heritage crisis. ABPA has repeatedly pleaded for seats on the Superior Council of Cinema and on the FSA Fund Committee, without success. In the 2018 CineOP debate “Frontiers between Industry, Market, and Archives – Content, Promotion and Regulation”, a representative of the FSA Fund Committee suggested for preservationists to search for a different financing source for preservation, distinct from the FSA. When a professional raises such a possibility (and his attitude is common among producers), he does so without understanding the importance of preservation for the entire industry, nor his role in defending the Cinemateca and audiovisual heritage policies. Let this defense be made from the personalized perspective, considering that some of his assets may be held at the Cinemateca: footage for his next film as a producer, the origins of his debut feature, or his family’s home movies. The Cinemateca’s activities in discussions, publications, forums, and technology research could also benefit him in other ways. As Paulo Emílio wrote, “You can’t make good cinema without a cinematographic culture, and a living culture simultaneously requires knowledge of the past, an understanding of the present, and a perspective for the future. Those who confuse the action of cinematheques with nostalgia are mistaken” (1982, p.96). The production industry grumbled64 when debating the need for investments to deal with the giant backlog of audiovisual works which need to be preserved in order to serve the production industry. Such preservation benefits this industry as they are then able to commercially utilize the collections. The business model does not close until we have a massive investment to deal with decades of setbacks and stagnation. I grumble back with this chart:65

In April 2017, the FSA’s 2017 Annual Investment Plan66 comprised R$ 10.5 million [about USD 1.9 million] for the Cinemateca Brasileira. This announced value for the CB was equivalent to 1.4% of the total announced in the document. The amount was never paid, with the justification that the non-refundable funds67 ran out. In May 2018, the FSA 2018 Annual Investment Plan68 appointed R$ 23.375 million [about USD 4.1 million] for investments in Preservation. In December of that year, SAv published a tender for Restoration and Digitization of Audiovisual Content. These were funds that allegedly held a return on investments made by audiovisual companies in restoration or digitization. A preservationist workgroup and CB technicians aided in construction of the document and the digitization and restoration technical guidelines. From the preservationist’s perspective, the tender was intended only for producers with a distribution bias and held the preservation aspect as secondary. The current government suspended the tender about four months after its publication. Therefore, out of a possible sum totaling over R$ 4.5 billion69 [about USD 801 million], no FSA funds whatsoever were actually invested in preservation between 2008 and 2018.

Currently, the Cinemateca Brasileira is the onlyx institution nominated to accept Legal Deposit materials. Since 2016, Ancine has invested no more than R$ 2 million [about USD 356 thousand] in hiring a technical team to analyze materials. New technicians must be hired specially for this, as the Legal Deposit workflow mobilizes several sectors and technicians. Over the years, the CB reported a high failure rate of materials analyzed. According to Gomes (2020), “one of the main causes seems to be the great distance and little information from directors/producers about, in a broad way, the role of an audiovisual archive, and more specifically, the principles of the Legal Deposit”. The expertise in analysis of materials without funds for preserving the Legal Deposit collection can be metaphorically considered through the gesture of slashing one’s own throat. The analyzed materials are left inert on shelves in an air-conditioned vault at the mercy of the famous “silent death”.70 The industry must take part in actions towards the improvement of approval rates and creating conditions for preserving digital-born materials within the scope of the Legal Deposit. Broadly, the narrative and the struggle for policies related to audiovisual heritage must also be formulated and driven from within the industry. 

The panorama of the Cinemateca presented in the 2020 Gramado Letter is very significant, with several associations listed as signatories, including other film archives, professional TV networks, and audiovisual companies. A positive sign was a discussion about the crisis during the ABC Week of 2020 (organized by the Brazilian Cinematography Association [ABC]), which is considered to be one of Brazil’s most significant events devoted to audiovisual production. But we still need tremendous action to get closer towards recognizing that this crisis at the Cinemateca Brasileira must remain a concern for the entire industry.

The 2020 Ouro Preto Letter highlights, among many urgent matters, the implementation of a national policy for the area of cultural preservation. The letter outlines some of challenges which will be faced, such as “to claim the creation of mechanisms, to expand the offerings of Brazilian audiovisual works in the catalogs of streaming platforms, with the guarantee of inclusion of works from different periods that can allow access to the vast Brazilian audiovisual heritage”. What would be the suggestion proposed by Netflix (used here as a platform model), for example, regarding the need for investment in Brazilian audiovisual heritage? Such an investment would only provide an opportunity for company-improvement, made viable by Netflix’s presence among the 12 companies that profited most during the current pandemic.The proposal is not so absurd, considering that the company’s Brazilian wing created a R$ 5 million [about USD 891 thousand] emergency fund for the Brazilian audiovisual industry due to the recess in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.71 The availability of older works on streaming platforms is also a point of concern in the United States.72 In general, Brazilian producers do not have resources for digitizing older titles in ways capable of meeting the platform’s technical parameters and, need to potentially spend whatever resources they do have on lawyers who can help them with rights clearances.73 So, how about the platform launches an investment line for non-contemporary works? This idea would be contemplated by the 2018 SAv/MinC/FSA tender for “Restoration and Digitization of Audiovisual Content”, suspended in 2019. The strength of the audiovisual heritage institutions also would benefit the streaming platforms themselves in the middle term, considering the strong contemporary trend of documentaries based in archival images.74 As an illustration, there is a significant number of U.S. documentaries available on Netflix Brasil that use archival images to build their narratives such as Wild Wild Country (2018), Disclosure (2020), the documentary series Remastered (2018), and Explained (2018). However, there are comparatively few Brazilian films and series that feature archival images to this extent, one exception being Thiago Mattar’s Taking Iacanga (2019).

In addition to the CB Lab’s conservation of its collection, I call attention to the confection of new film prints and digital copies, such as those pertaining to the collection Classics and Rarities of Brazilian Cinema, (which was founded in 2007 and underwent its fourth edition in 2016) and those made in celebration of the annual International Day of Audiovisual Heritage. As a means of registration, I highlight the 35mm and digital prints made in 2016, as contained in the Report.

75
Creating new 35 mm prints is one of the crucial roles of a film archive with a photochemical lab, as it is vital to provide an experience in line with the original screening format of a film. Considering how digital exists for the sake of broader circulation, digital access files are made in different formats. In the context of the CB, the effort to digitize films made on film would be carried out more fully with some form of pre-established screening event, ideally with formal curatorship and due contextualization for the works. Currently, the clearest path to digital diffusion of CB assets comes via the institution’s own online Cultural Content Bank (BCC).76

Rafael de Luna Freire’s article “Ten Brazilian Films that Remain in the Shadows due to Poor Accessibility”, discussed digital inaccessibility for a combination of canonical titles and rarities throughout the history of Brazilian cinema. In addition to creating effective digital access actions, it is crucial to assess whether original film materials exist beyond imminent risk or whether they in fact require urgent preservation or duplication measures. Rafael de Luna’s list evoked the text “Brazilian films considered lost (or about to be lost)”, published in 2001 in the now-extinct Web magazine Contracampo.77 Differently, the 2001 list was about the existence or loss of preservation materials. In addition to some titles that were eventually lost, others had their (known) unique materials deteriorated to the point of making lab processing unfeasible. In light of the Cinemateca Brasileira crises and the paralysis of research work, preservation actions, and laboratory processing, the act of updating the list made by Hernani Heffner and Ruy Gardnier at that time would be of tragic scope. It would be a national institution’s role to make this list public. Besides remaining accountable to Brazilian society about its audiovisual heritage, this work could also prove to be a strategy for locating previously unknown materials held at other institutions and private collectors both in Brazil and worldwide. Yet, what about the many other films and audiovisual records that have escaped such inquiries and remain ostracized? How many films exist today whose only surviving materials are believed to be incomplete and severely deteriorated prints in inferior gauges? How many Brazilian audiovisual records have we lost?
Conclusion
“If we lose the past, we will live in an Orwellian world of the perpetual present. So, where anybody that controls what’s currently being put out there will be able to say what it’s true and what is not. And this is a dreadful world; we don't want to live in that world.”
Brewster Kahle (2014, interview for Digital Amnesia, documentary by the Dutch VPRO)

“Knowledge is effective only when it is shared.”Hernani Heffner (2001, in a hallway conversation at the Cinemateca do MAM in Rio de Janeiro)


Digital audiovisual records have served as crucial tools in the fight for human rights in all national corners. They include records of things such as forced evictions, occupations of cultural or educational sites as a form of protest, demonstrations, invasions of communities by police forces (with high homicide rates among local populations, including children and young people), acts of environmental devastation fostered by the current government, struggles for native people rights and the demarcation of native lands, and crimes against native peoples. These audiovisual registers also function as tools for black empowerment and anti-racist movements, for the emancipation and affirmation of women for opportunities, and against structural sexism. With a profusion of creative talents and narratives, social networks gather the most distinguished cultural indexes of this time. In Brazil, in general, these network’s images remain outside the scope of prospection by Brazilian institutions, with the discussion around their archiving and incorporation within the scope of Brazilian audiovisual heritage still proceeding in a merely tentative fashion. From the preservation perspective, aside from all the challenges inherent to digital data preservation,78 ephemerality exists due to the corporate practices of social networks (which wipe content according to their terms of service).

Social media uses persuasive technology mechanisms to drive individual’s behaviors. Algorithms can give credibility to the untrue, boost flat-earth theory, and put #StopFakeNewsAboutAmazon as a trending topic on Twitter. At the same time, ecocide is loose, and the whole world watches as flames engulf the Amazon, the Cerrado, the Pantanal, and other Brazilian national parks.79 The quantum computer Rehoboam80 is an allegory of the now, in a narrative made explicit by Shoshana Zuboff in her book “Surveillance Capitalism”. We observed successive electoral victories by ultra-right political parties and movements with growing levels of terror and violence. The circulation of fake news on social media has increased the destructive power of Covid-19. Counter-information, deep fake, and fake news robots are connected to the world described by Brewster Kahle, founder of Internet Archive, quoted above. We can lose the past and the present due to frailties inherent in today’s sources of information, with their potential for manipulation and misinformation.81 When the current Brazilian president was a deputy, during the congressional voting process held during the impeachment trial of President Dilma Rousseff, he voted for the memory of the military dictatorship’s greatest torturer, who led the former “Presidenta” torture sessions. At the Cinemateca, we failed to frequently screen and watch the anti-dictatorship films Case of the Naves Brothers (1967, Luis Sérgio Person), Iracema: An Amazonian Transaction (1974, Jorge Bodansky/Orlando Senna), Tarumã (1975, Mário Kuperman), They Don’t Wear Black Tie (1981, Leon Hirszman), Go Ahead, Brazil! (1982, Roberto Farias), Twenty Years Later (1984, Eduardo Coutinho), How Nice to See You Alive (1989, Lúcia Murat), Friendly Fire (1998, Beto Brant), and Citizen Boilesen (2009, Chaim Litewski),82 in order to make it impossible to trivialize his actions in the Chamber of Deputies and make it such that no woman would vote for him for president two years afterward. Now we cannot fail to preserve these films and those that have come after, such as Orestes (2015, Rodrigo Siqueira), Pastor Cláudio (2017, Beth Formaggini) and Maiden’s Tower (2019, Susanna Lira).

A significant portion of the Brazilian audiovisual heritage has already been lost over the past century. In addition to recurring fires that destroyed collections of early Brazilian cinema, there have been diverse waves of destruction throughout film history (of short films through the consolidation of the feature as a market format, to silent films after the emergence of talkies, to the replacement of nitrate by acetate), many collections have been dispersed, dismantled, and concealed. Numerous works that came to the film archives arrived in an already feeble state. Still, the delay in recognizing the importance of audiovisual heritage, the absence of public policies for its management, and the oscillation of funding to heritage institutions have led to further losses. With the advent of digital, there is an escalated move towards preserving both what is currently being prospected and what lies outside the current prospection scope. The Cinemateca’s current crisis is severe, and it demands urgent measures from public authorities and the audiovisual industry. Despite the government’s destructive power and the ongoing paralysis of the work, I would like to end with an optimistic tone, one that has been encouraged by many online discussions, articulations, and increasing support about audiovisual preservation in Brazil. Many have advocated for their belief in the Cinemateca’s potential to promote debates and screenings, grant access to the most forgotten collections, provide a space for research, offer a visual reference for the past, and subsidize technological research. People believe in its capacity to captivate children and young audiences with the big screen, present pre-cinema and audiovisual technologies in a museum, and engage the institution’s neighborhood and surrounding community. All of these potentialities of the institution, in addition to numerous other creative uses of its collection and the tools that we might be able to use in the future, have been marred by the successive crises and ever increasing backlog. As a result, we have seen the acceleration of the collection’s deterioration, and limitation of the institution’s reach. It has become even more evident over time that the Cinemateca has been included within a macro-project of the devastation of Brazilian culture and heritage, and its importance as a force for reacting against this project therefore grows larger and larger.

Thanks to Aaron Cutler and William Plotnick for the thorough review.

1.  The Ministry of Culture was abolished on the first day of the current government, then initially incorporated into the Ministry of Citizenship and, later, to the Ministry of Tourism. So far, the Special Secretariat for Culture has had five incumbents without proven expertise. Other cultural heritage institutions are experiencing acute crises, such as the Fundação Casa de Rui Barbosa and the Centro Técnico Audiovisual (CTAv). The Brazilian Film Agency (Ancine) did not transfer funds already committed to the Cinemateca Brasileira and did not issue new film production tenders. It is noteworthy that the Federal Constitution which governs Brazilian democracy claims the “State will guarantee to everyone the full exercise of cultural rights and access to the sources of national culture and will support and encourage the valorization and diffusion of cultural manifestations” (Art. 215). They add that, “the public power, with the collaboration of the community, will promote and protect Brazilian cultural heritage” (Art. 216).

2. From 2016 to 2020, I worked in the Film Preservation department at the Cinemateca Brasileira. I share personal views based on this experience, with an emphasis on the department’s activities.

3. Eng: “The Cinemateca Brasileira and public policies for the preservation of audiovisual heritage in Brazil”.

4. CineOP 15 years: Live with Hernani Heffner, Cinemateca do MAM manager. September 2020. https://www.instagram.com/tv/CEC_cUVlbK6.

5. Through the Ministry of Culture’s policy of decentralization, development and production programs were created with quotas for states which habitually have been restricted from investing in audiovisual production. Also, a policy has been put in place that covers low-budget projects and quotas for new directors, female filmmakers, and native people.

6. Regulated in 2007, the FSA is fed by the Contribution to the Development of a National Film Industry (Condecine) and a tax collected from all media distributions systems. These funds are then invested in new productions mainly in cinema, television and electronic games. From 2008 to 2018, a total of approximately R$ 4.5 billion was invested [about USD $713 million].

7. An emblematic example of this dynamic occurred in 2008, with the presence of the Executive Director of the Cinemateca Brasileira at the 3rd annual CineOP. The theme of CineOP that year was National Audiovisual Preservation Policy: Needs and challenges. Throughout the event, the Executive Director took a firm stand on opposing the articulation of other audiovisual heritage institutions with the Ministry of Culture’s representatives, and the creation of the Brazilian Association of Audiovisual Preservation (ABPA).

8. Among the proposals of the 1979 Symposium on Cinema and Memory in Brazil was, “The creation and promotion of regional centers of cinematographic culture constituted by production units and by film libraries (archives of copies of films), with the basic function of prospecting, research and dissemination of the Brazilian collection [… and] the establishment of an [national] inventory” (1981, 67). Laura Bezerra stated that the “creation of a program to boost filmographies that, despite not having implemented systematic and comprehensive actions, allocated resources for some sectorial actions” (2014, 120). Decentralization is necessary, considering the country’s continental nature and cultural plurality, besides being technically susceptible to disasters.

9. CineOP was created in 2006 and has become the main forum for discussions and articulations on audiovisual heritage and education in Brazil. Each year the Ouro Preto Letter is issued by the meeting’s participants, with alerts and proposals for the audio-visual heritage field.

10. ABPA is an association of film preservation professionals, regardless of their formal occupation. ABPA has worked in favor of developing new and better film preservation policies, the promotion of audiovisual heritage, and the translation and publication of technical film preservation texts. In 2016, ABPA created the PNPA, a document that contains diagnoses and proposals for actions and policies within the field of audiovisual preservation. http://www.abpreservacaoaudiovisual.org

11. The Council’s central role is to work to help develop the Cinemateca. Its members are representatives of the public sphere and individuals from civil society who are linked to the cinema or cultural heritage industries. Dismally, men have been predominant among council members over the years.

12. Currently, this theater is called Cinesala. Cinesala. August 2020. http://www.cinesala.com.br/cinesala.

13. The original slaughterhouse had its activities closed in 1927. The space was then used as a deposit for the city hall’s lighting equipment.

14. The Brazilian Cinematographic Census project was based on the idea of Gilberto Gil, musician and then a member of the cultural advisory board of BR Distribuidora. Gil would later become the Minister of Culture from 2003 to 2008.

15. State company Petrobras – linked to providing energy, gas, and oil in Brazil – boosted the production, distribution, exhibition, preservation, and restoration of Brazilian cinema.  

16. In collaboration with the CB, the appraisal project was also carried out at the Cinemateca do MAM (Museum of Modern Art) in Rio de Janeiro. The project involved the (unprecedented) inventory of the Cinemateca do MAM collection with deteriorated materials sent to the CB’s lab. The Museum director determined, arbitrarily, that the Cinemateca could not maintain its audiovisual collection (after the inventory was made). As a result, the National Archive (in Rio de Janeiro) and the CB each received parts of the collection. Rather than having them sent to Rio de Janeiro, some film material owners chose to keep their assets with them, often in inappropriate places. That was one of the Cinemateca’s biggest crises, which is historically relevant for Brazilian cinema (especially for the Cinema Novo movement) and the audiovisual preservation area. The Cinemateca do MAM was directed by Cosme Alves Netto, who had a special connection with international institutions. Hernani Heffner joined the institution in 1996. In 2020, the Cinemateca do MAM underwent a consolidation, with a new building for the film collection and some structural changes in the Museum’s direction.

17. According to Souza, the Brazilian Filmography was started by Caio Scheiby on paper cards, and, in the 1980s, four notebooks were published with records of films produced until 1930 (2009, p.259). Currently, according to the CB’s website, “it contains information on approximately 42 thousand titles from all periods of national cinematography and the most recent and widest audiovisual production, whether short, medium or feature films; newsreels; advertising, institutional or domestic films; and serial works (for internet and television), with links to records in the database of posters and references to sources used and consulted”. Filmografia Brasileira. August 2020. http://cinemateca.org.br/filmografia-brasileira.  

18.Text extracted from 2008 plenary. SiBIA. August 2020. http://bases.cinemateca.gov.br/page.php?id=90. According to Laura Bezerra, “SiBIA was conceived and executed by CB/SAv without any debates and negotiations with the players involved, which contradicts the democratic-participative spirit defended and practiced in MinC documents and actions” (2014, 185). The 2009 meeting had 33 institutions from all over the country, and its proposals, which demanded SAv resources and actions, were not carried out. The project was extinguished in 2009, without practical advancements.

19. Programadora Brasil was a project for the diffusion of animation, experimental, fiction, and documentary films, active from 2006 to2013, through the printing of DVDs for non-commercial circuits (film clubs, cultural centers, schools, universities), in a total of 970 works divided across 295 DVDs.

20. Institutional Reports. July 2020. http://cinemateca.org.br/institucional/relatorios-institucionais.

21. This unit was affected by flooding in early 2020.

22.  Publications and Links. July 2020. http://cinemateca.org.br/biblioteca/publicacoes-e-links.

23. Collections acquired by the government under theCinemateca’s custody: Estúdio Vera Cruz and Atlântida Cinematográfica (in2009), Canal 100 and Glauber Rocha (in 2010), Goulart de Andrade and Dulce Damasceno de Brito (in 2011) and Norma Bengell (in 2012).

24. The interruption also affected the work of the CentroTécnico do Audiovisual (CTAv, or “Audiovisual Technical Center”), in Rio deJaneiro, which was involved in several SAv projects with CB.

25. 2014 Report - details on pages 12 and 14 on the“analysis of preventive conservation of cellulose nitrate”.

26. Legal Deposit is the mechanism for depositing public-funded audiovisual materials in institutions accredited by the federal government. Until today, only the CB falls under that category. After the approval of the material (according to technical guidelines), the producing company becomes able to receive the last instalment of the financing. Due to the drastic reduction in analysis after the 2013 crisis, the backlog of materials became enormous.  

27. Olga Toshiko Futemma began working at the Cinemateca Brasileira in the 1980s, with particular excellence in her work at the Documentation and Research Center. She became the institution’s executive director in 2004, its deputy director from 2007 to 2013, and its director from 2013 to 2018, at which point she became the Collections Manager. She took part in the FIAF Executive Committee from 2009 until 2013.  

28. After the fire, the vault received the same structure as before. According to the 2016 Report: “the building, designed in the 1990s, was built without electrical or hydraulic installations, in order to minimize the risk of an accident; without active air conditioning, but maintaining the internal temperature with the smallest possible variations and allowing air circulation to avoid the accumulation of gases resulting from deterioration. In the case of self-combustion [...] it would inevitably consume the entire contents of the vault, but it would not spread to the adjacent vaults” – which characterizes what happened in 2016, when the fire consumed only one of the four vaults and did not spread to the others.

29. For example, ARRISCAN, when acquired, was adapted for deteriorated materials, which allowed the scanning of negatives with 4% shrinkage, a measure that would be considered infeasible for other laboratories.

30. Databases of the Documentation and Research Center. August 2020. http://bases.cinemateca.org.br.

31. The Programming department continued to show films from the collection, with respect for the original projection format to the best extent possible and privileging Brazilian cinema. It also organized film series with prints loaned from partnering organizations and held screenings in the Cinemateca’s two theaters and on its outdoor screen. The films projected were on 16mm and 35mm prints, as well as digital and video formats.

32. Also, according to the 2016 Report: “the emergency duplication process differs from the film restoration, which involves producing new preservation dupes, both image and sound, and screening copies. It also includes different sorts of manipulation to minimize handling or deterioration marks, approximating its original theatrical release characteristics. A restoration project usually compares different materials, while emergency duplication deals with copying advanced deteriorating material, typically unique, to a new one.”

33. Carlos Roberto de Souza points out that “The Brazilian research and historiographic works carried out […] drew attention to the fact that it is a mistake to build a history of Brazilian filmography with a basis in fiction or narrative feature-length films. The highest volume of Brazilian production has always been of documentaries and newsreels, generally relegated to the background by so-called classical historians, the media, and the general public. The reality of production is reflected in the cinematographic collection that has reached our days. The percentage of nonfiction films exceeds that of feature films and remains the least preserved. That does not mean that all fiction features are preserved. Far from it. Yet the most treated part – and not always with the care it deserves – is that of the consecrated Brazilian features.” (2009, p.261).

34. Later, the team discovered a homonymous field in the Brazilian Filmography database, conducted by the Documentation and Research Center, which was no longer in the workflow. It was a numerical system from 0 to 5. Considering that the Preservation technicians who proposed the methodology had no previous experience at the CB, the categorization did not follow the numerical method, but instead followed text categories. As an example, the categories included “preserved at the moment” (considering original materials, intermediaries, and prints in good condition, for example), “partially preserved”, “not preserved”, “partially lost”, with supplemental information such as “with defects” (image or sound interference), “incomplete”, etc. The system provided quickness in the selection for emergency duplication and research for external access.  

35. WinIsis is a software proposed by Unesco in 1988 and adopted by the CB due to its shapable character. It resembles individual physical library cards, with limited data examination.  

36. Trac was initially adopted by the lab and development teams before 2016. The preservation team adopted it in 2016. In 2017, an institutional profile was created, then the Documentation and Research Center profile, and lastly, the Access department profile.

37. We need to talk about ... the Brazilian Cinematheque logo. July 2020. https://twitter.com/cinematecabr/status/798954169386336256. The alleged phallic form of the logo could have contributed to the degree of viralization and public awareness of the Cinemateca in 2016.  

38. Manifesto for the Cinemateca Brasileira - 2016. July 2020. https://manifestopelacinematecabrasileira.wordpress.com.

39. 100 Paulo Emílio. July 2020. http://cinemateca.gov.br/100pauloemilio.

40. The legality of amending the main contract is questionable. In any case, we consider it an outrage that an amendment governs the Cinemateca Brasileira as a legal instrument.

41. As occurred in access to original film materials for their digitization and licensing to Canal Brasil, the leading television channel for Brazilian films. The broadcast company was updating its catalog, which was previously in SD resolution. The delivery of films to Canal Brasil would be in HD (1080p) or higher, despite HD being an outdated resolution. Producers opted for HD resolution and not 2K due to budget limitations. Still, in addition to being more commercially relevant in the middle term, 2K represents a more significant preservation action since it would be a longer safeguard of the original material – much of which was already in bad condition.  

42. Especially what can be called pejotization, in reference to “juridical person”, or the legal status of a physical person: The hiring of services from individuals through companies set up for this purpose.  

43. This dynamic of dispersing the workforce is even more dangerous in the context of digital preservation, which demands a constant updating of knowledge due to the ongoing changes in technology and industry practices.

44. E-mail of 29 June 2016. July 2020.https://groups.google.com/g/lista-da-abpa. Débora Butruce indicates that aWorking Group debated the theme of management by OS over several years: 15th CineOP. At-risk equity institutions:Cinemateca Brasileira case. August 2020. https://cineop.com.br/debate/instituicoes-de-patrimonio-em-risco-caso-cinemateca-brasileira/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFmtVJxLl54. In addition to Butruce, the conversation’s participants included Carlos Augusto Calil, Fabiana Ferreira andEloá Chouzal.

45. Jorge Barcellos sums it up by saying that “Over time, [the Social Organization] became deficient and costly”. He warns that “according to Alzira Angeli, from the Comptroller General of the Union, these organizations have become the new market niche for corruption and [according to historian Francisco Marshall] the initiative promotes the degradation of public management”. August 2020. https://jorgebarcellos.pro.br. As an exception, some museums in the State of São Paulo successfully follow the management model by OS.

46. Consolidation of Labor Laws (CLT) has several benefits to the employee, such as paid vacations, a bonus salary (equivalent to a month’s pay), unemployment insurance, sickness benefits, family salary, maternity salary, and retirement funds.

47. I understand collection prospecting as a fundamental role of the CB, since the Cinemateca is the central national institution, and especially in consideration of the history of destruction and neglect of Brazilian audiovisual heritage. In recent years, news of potentially valuable collections became public, and CB technicians could not act independently under the Acerp administration. Through Acerp, for instance, the technical staff evaluated a collection in the São Paulo countryside. The technical team contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to assess a list of 35mm prints held at the Brazilian embassies in Rome, Berlin, and The Hague. Acerp later took over the connection and was unable to carry out the repatriation.

48. It was reported by many colleagues that the person in charge of such event said ‘God was the first CEO, and theBible was the early compliance’, among other inappropriate comments for an event at an heritage institution.

49. An Institutional Mission document was being consolidated, which was not carried out during the time of Acerp’s management.

50. CryptoRave is a forum for freedom, autonomy, and security on the Internet. CryptoRave.August 2020. https://cryptorave.org.

51.The distance between the two cities is about 268 miles/1-hour flight.  

52. Military personnel in uniform occasionally visited the institution. One episode became notorious: The visit of a deputy who held the same last name as his great-uncle, the first president of the military dictatorship. The deputy published a video on a social network from inside the CB and accompanied by representatives of the institution in which he announced the upcoming exhibitions of military films, reproduced the president’s campaign slogan and saluted the camera. The film series has not been realized.

53. Several volunteers working within the Instituto Moreira Salles’s (IMS) technical coordination team performed an effective response to damages to the studio and photography collection of the São Paulo-born photographer Bob Wolfelson, which was located near the Cinemateca’s damaged area. A technician from the Cinemateca Brasileira was among the volunteers (who operated outside of CB working hours). The event was the second flood that affected the photographer’s studio. Floods in the region are recurrent, so this brief report is a chronicle of a predestined tragedy.  

54. The work consisted of moving bags with piles of cans filled with dirty water, opening each can to check the material’s condition, determining the destination of the material, and organizing the collection on the shelves. At first, the cleaning and maintenance teams performed a task force with the technical team to drain the water, clean shelves, and help move bags of films, but before this work came to an end, these teams were drastically reduced in size.

55. The first of these news items related to the appointment of an actress as the Cinemateca’s director. This actress had played the role of Special Secretary of Culture for two months in the capital city of Brasília and wanted to return to São Paulo for personal reasons. However, no position was legally available for her to assume at the CBat that time, and she ultimately never came to work at the institution.

56. “Cinemateca Brasileira asks for help.” September 2020.https://secure.avaaz.org/community_petitions/po/governo_federal_secretaria_especial_de_cultura_sec_cinemateca_brasileira_pede_socorro.At the time of this writing, the manifesto has received more than 28,500 signatories.

57. Cinemateca Viva, a group formed by the Vila Mariana Residents’ Association (the neighborhood where CB is at):http://www.cinematecaviva.com.br; the Cinemateca Acesa group:https://www.facebook.com/CinematecaA Francesa; Cinematheque in Crisis, created in 2013, with updates on the crisis of 2020: https://www.facebook.com/cinematecaemcrise.Apaci since 2015 has been active and in contact with the CB board of directors to guarantee the execution of the institution’s work.

58.Cinemateca Brasileira workers. August 2020. https://twitter.com/trabalhadorescb.

59. Cinemateca Brasileira - Emergency Workers. August 2020.https://benfeitoria.com/trabalhadoresdacinemateca.

60. The crisis in the Cinemateca Brasileira - Urgent Solutions.August 2020. https://edemocracia.camara.leg.br/audiencias/sala/1595. Gabriela Queiroz, the Documentation and Research Center coordinator from 2014 to 2020, represented the institution.

61. Some examples: The claim that “all” of the Brazilian audiovisual heritage is housed at CB; the assertion that the institution could catch fire if its light and gas services were cut off for lack of payments (the nitrate deposits do not have any electrical circuit); and the use of the term ‘air-conditioned laboratories’ to designate‘ air-conditioned vaults’.

62. The handover of the keys included the presence of ostensibly armed agents of the Federal Police, summoned with the assumption that there could be resistance by agents of Acerp. Acerp handed over the keys, documents were signed, and the government carried out a technical visit. Even as a sideshow, it was the first time that police intimidation occurred at the Cinemateca. Acerp tried to obtain reimbursement of the amounts invested in the CB in 2019 and 2020, allegedly totaling R$ 14million [about USD 2.6 million].

63. Gramado Letter 2020.September 2020.http://www.festivaldegramado.net/festival-lanca-a-carta-de-gramado.

64. Generalizations are risky and can go wrong. After all, we have many producers who understand, praise, and invest in preservation efforts, especially following the 2020 crisis. If my words do not do justice to producers’ performance in favor of audiovisual heritage, then I will be happy to publish my mistake. But this text was fermented by the frustration of seeing the superb state of the audiovisual industry, with its happy hours, markets, deals, and enormous resources, while the mention of preservation investments generated tremors! The production industry’s greedy attitude relates to the neglect of the Brazilian audiovisual heritage and its preservationists.

65. Sources: FSA and CinematecaBrasileira websites. Published initially in The professional working in audiovisual preservation. Museology & Interdisciplinary. Vol. 8, nº 15, 2019. The chart was initially presented with the Brazilian currency (Real) and was converted to USD for this text. The exchange rate was from the last business day of each year. Original note with a correction: Cinemateca Brasileira is the only institution that receives materials in Legal Deposit and according to Laura Bezerra (2015), its budget represents almost the totality of investments in audiovisual preservation in Brazil during the cited period. In this way, I consider the chart to be a direct illustration of the gap between investments made in audiovisual production and in preservation”.The diagram proceeds only until 2017, since CB has not published any more report since that time. In 2019, under the newly elected government, FSA funding ceased.

66. Document SEI / ANCINE - 0413350 - CGFSA Resolution Nº 101- Approval of the 2017 Annual Investment Plan.October 2020.https://fsa.ancine.gov.br/sites/default/files/resolucoes-cgfsa/RESOLUTION CGFSANº 101 - approves PAI FSA 2017.pdf.

67. The non-refundable mechanism does not presuppose a return on financial profit, but offers other counterpart plans.

68. Document SEI / ANCINE - 0845324 - CGFSA RESOLUTION Nº155 - Approval of the 2018 Annual Investment Plan. October 2020.https://fsa.ancine.gov.br/sites/default/files/resolucoes-cgfsa/RESOLUTION CGFSANo. 155 - Annual Investment Plan 2018.pdf.

69. Resources made available for Actions and Programs - 2008to 2018. October 2020.https://fsa.ancine.gov.br/resultados/investimentos/valores-investidos. The full amount informed on this date was R$ 4,558,877,384.00.

70. According to Gomes (2020), most of the materials received in Legal Deposit is stored on external hard drives, which need continuous verification – “digital materials, therefore, require more constant checks and migrations, a need that the Cinemateca Brasileira cannot yet meet, both due to limitations in the number of employees and to financial limitations”. Part of the institution’s large magnetic video collection comes from the Legal Deposit. In general, from 2016 to 2020, no actions were taken to preserve the video and digital collections, only duplication of materials for access purposes. Considering the inaction, broadly and systematically, with the scope of the heritage conceived in digital, one cannot expect to overcome the(notoriously high) loss rates of the Brazilian audiovisual heritage –especially its first digital productions.

71. “ICAB and NETFLIX partner to create an EMERGENCY FUND to support the Brazilian creative community.” September 2020. http://icabrasil.org/2016/index.php/mediateca-reader/icab-e-netflix-fazem-parceria-para-criar-fundo-emergencial-de-apoio-a-comunidade-criativa-brasileira.html.

72. Netflix, Streaming Video and the Slow Death of the Classic Film. September 2020. https://www-newsweek-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.newsweek.com/2017/09/22/netflix-streaming-movies-classics-664512.html. / Supreme Court Urged to Make Old Movies Digitally Available. September 2020. https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/supreme-court-urged-make-old-movies-digitally-available-1218088. Much more money is invested in providing classic film as a streamable option in the US as it is in Brazil, especially Brazilian classics. In the US, the repertoire of old films is a niche explored by platforms such as The Criterion Channel and Mubi, among others.

73. A sensitive aspect for the distribution of older films is the issuance of the Brazilian Product Certificate (CPB), which requires documentation stating the rights holders for specific films. Historically, Brazilian film productions lacked proper documentation, and many companies were dissolved without the transfer of rights of their assets.

74. In the Brazilian context, where the first activity as a preservationist is to explain your role as a professional, Netflix documentaries that contain archival images as an important element of their narrative are often a good way to explain the importance of heritage preservation to many people.

75. 2016 Report: pages 55 and 56. Correction to the content: Bacalhau (1976, Adriano Stuart) is color, not b&w – a Jaws spoof.

76. Here it is worth reflecting not only on the catalog’s excellence in terms of title availability and content navigability, but also the need to review technical specificities and the dimensions of the watermark logo filling part of the film image, an experience reported as frustrating for many site visitors.

77. Brazilian films considered lost or about to be lost. August 2020. http://www.contracampo.com.br/34/filmesperdidos.htm.

78. Proprietary technologies, obsolescence of file format, codec, software, hardware, metadata management, migration.

79. In addition to being catastrophic for fauna and flora, the devastation will directly affect the cultural heritage preservation field due to this field’s direct relationship with the climate, with issues such as larger variations in temperature and humidity taking on special importance. I am unaware of studies in Brazil on the climate crisis and its impact on the area of ​​heritage. From among discussions held in other countries, I would highlight the 2020 realization of the Orphan Film Symposium.

80. The artificial intelligence supercomputer of Westworld (2016,Jonathan Nolan), set in almost four decades in the future.

81. The symbol of misinformation is the science being discredited by social networks and messaging media (especially WhatsApp, a company acquired by Facebook), which makes the act of disseminating scientific information on containing the Covid-19 pandemic more difficult. Research carried out in twenty countries shows that Brazilians believe in their scientists the least among citizens of any country: Brazil with its back to science.September 2020. https://piaui.folha.uol.com.br/brasil-de-costas-para-ciencia.

82. Filmography Dictatorship Brazil. September 2020.http://historiaeaudiovisual.weebly.com/filmografia-ditadura-brasil.html.
REFERENCES

BEZERRA, Laura. Políticas para a preservação audiovisual no Brasil (1995-2010) ou: “Para que eles continuem vivos através de modos de vê-los”. Tese (Doutorado). Universidade Federal da Bahia, 2014. <http://repositorio.ufba.br/ri/handle/ri/14590>.

FERREIRA, Fabiana Maria de Oliveira. A Cinemateca Brasileira e as políticas públicas para a preservação de acervos audiovisuais no Brasil. Universidade de Brasília, 2020. 

GOMES, Paulo Emílio Sales. Crítica de Cinema no Suplemento Literário - Volume I. Rio de Janeiro, Paz e Terra, 1982.

GOMES, Paulo Emílio Sales. Crítica de Cinema no Suplemento Literário - Volume II. Rio de Janeiro, Paz e Terra, 1982. 

SOUZA, Carlos Roberto de. A Cinemateca Brasileira e a preservação de filmes no Brasil. São Paulo, 2009.

A Cinemateca Brasileira (CB) é a principal instituição de patrimônio audiovisual do Brasil e, em 2020, passa por sua pior crise. Como resultado, seu expressivo acervo audiovisual e documental está ameaçado, bem como seu complexo parque tecnológico e os saberes técnicos que o permeiam. No início do ano, uma enchente ocorreu em um galpão em uma de suas unidades, afetando drasticamente sobretudo parte de seu acervo de película e de equipamentos. Desde agosto de 2020, as instalações e os acervos estão sem acompanhamento técnico; e até a conclusão deste texto não há perspectiva de uma resolução imediata, condizente com a urgência. A inação e o descaso com a Cinemateca Brasileira são mais uma das perversidades do atual governo, e se soma ao desmonte estrutural do sistema público de saúde, educação e cultura,1 e ao projeto de ecocídio e genocídio da população indígena e negra; este último acelerado pela pandemia de Covid-19. A crise da Cinemateca tomou proporções inéditas em 2020, mas sua origem é anterior, perpassando a crise administrativa e política de 2013 e um incêndio no início de 2016. Este artigo tem como enfoque os trabalhos realizados na Cinemateca Brasileira a partir de meados de 2016, de grande fôlego e entusiasmo na retomada dos trabalhos; o desafio de sua continuidade com a redução da equipe em 2017; a suposta solução com um novo modelo de gestão em 2018; e a hecatombe de 2020.2 O texto também apresenta conjecturas sobre as relações entre o patrimônio audiovisual e a cadeia produtiva do audiovisual. A sucessão de crises ao longo dos 74 anos da instituição, acentuadas por quatro incêndios e a enchente, são de forma mais ampla, o que a museóloga brasiliense Fabiana Ferreira destaca em sua tese A Cinemateca Brasileira e as políticas públicas de preservação do acervo audiovisual no Brasil (2020). Ela alega que “o único aspecto estável nas políticas públicas de preservação audiovisual é sua inconstância. Uma sucessão de desencontros e desarticulações por parte dos agentes políticos responsáveis pela criação e implementação de políticas sem um real projeto de Estado que atravessa governos” (2020, p.109). Segundo Hernani Heffner, não é somente a maior crise da Cinemateca Brasileira, mas a maior crise do patrimônio audiovisual brasileiro.3
Panorama das Últimas Duas Décadas
O Brasil é uma república federativa presidencialista, com 26 estados e um distrito federal, de dimensões continentais – o quinto maior país do mundo em extensão territorial. O país passou por dois processos de redemocratização, sendo o mais recente a partir de 1984, após a ditadura militar estabelecida em 1964. Neste novo século, o país contou com um crescimento econômico, teve significativa redução das desigualdades sociais e de índices de pobreza extrema, ampliação de universidades e um processo de fortalecimento da indústria do audiovisual, por meio de políticas e programas federais, com destaque para as políticas de investimento da Secretaria do Audiovisual (SAv) / Ministério da Cultura (MinC)4 e do Fundo Setorial do Audiovisual (FSA)5 , o que gerou amadurecimento de profissionais, das empresas, e traduziu-se em um volume crescente de obras a cada ano. Eventuais recursos municipais e estaduais somavam-se aos federais. Laura Bezerra pondera que, enquanto o governo investia na descentralização das políticas de cultura, o mesmo não ocorria com a preservação (2015). Nesse período e a partir de sua inclusão no organograma da SAv, houve sólidos investimentos na Cinemateca Brasileira, mas foram diminutas as discussões políticas sobre a gestão do patrimônio, e acerca das ações e mecanismos necessários para que essa gestão fosse feita de forma profunda e mais ampla.6 – referência fundamental para o entendimento do tecido da crise atual. Conforme diagnosticado por Fabiana Ferreira, “a Cinemateca não atua na criação e implementação de políticas de preservação, seja realizando discussões e dialogando com o setor, seja participando ativamente dos espaços políticos no âmbito federal, como o Conselho Nacional de Cinema, por exemplo. Também não houve diálogo estruturado com outras entidades gestoras de memória” (2020, p.108). A insuficiência do Estado na gestão do patrimônio acarreta graves reverberações, que abalam a cadeia produtiva do audiovisual – esta não parece vislumbrar a preservação como elemento integrante e necessário para a própria cadeia. Ainda, a crise da Cinemateca Brasileira torna-se mais um argumento para a descentralização (e incremento) de investimentos na gestão do patrimônio audiovisual em todo país.7 O Brasil possui uma miríade de instituições de patrimônio federais, estaduais, municipais e privadas que não estão no holofote, mas que também demandam ações e recursos urgentes.

As últimas décadas foram de constante amadurecimento da área de preservação audiovisual, com a instauração de programas de financiamento específicos; o impulso de publicações; a criação e crescimento da CineOP - Mostra de Cinema de Ouro Preto, na qual ocorre o Encontro Nacional de Arquivos e Acervos Audiovisuais8 a formação da Associação Brasileira de Preservação Audiovisual (ABPA) e a elaboração do Plano Nacional de Preservação Audiovisual (PNPA)9; além do crescente número de eventos.
Cinemateca Brasileira – Breve Histórico
A Cinemateca Brasileira contou com diversos arranjos administrativos, tendo começado como uma organização da sociedade civil e, posteriormente, passou para a esfera pública. Seu longo histórico abarca muitos percalços com alguns respiros. O escritor, ensaísta, crítico, pesquisador, professor e militante Paulo Emílio Sales Gomes  (1916-1977) é o protagonista na criação, defesa e gestão da Cinemateca. A atuação de Paulo Emílio é mais ampla que a própria Cinemateca, é fundamental na valorização do cinema brasileiro – e em sua qualificação como documento histórico –, na defesa de sua preservação, na criação de cursos de cinema em universidades, atuante na política internacional – como membro regular do Comitê Executivo da Federação Internacional de Arquivos de Filmes (FIAF), entre 1948 e 1964, e eventualmente como vice-presidente –, além de autor referência em estudos historiográficos de cinema, com suas publicações sobre o francês Jean Vigo e sobre o brasileiro Humberto Mauro. Como professor, foi muito importante pela formação de cinéfilos, intelectuais, críticos de cinema e preservacionistas – sendo que alguns deram continuidade a seu trabalho na Cinemateca Brasileira.

Considerando a profusão de publicações sobre a Cinemateca Brasileira em português, e o limitado repertório em inglês, e tratando-se de uma plataforma bilíngue, apresento um breve apanhado, com momentos-chave sobre a história da instituição. Em 1940, por iniciativa de intelectuais paulistanos, foi criado o Clube de Cinema de São Paulo. Promovia a exibição de filmes, conferências, debates e publicações. Foi fechado pela ditadura de Getúlio Vargas em 1941. Em 1946 Paulo Emílio vai para a França estudar no Institut des Hautes Études Cinematographiques (IDHEC) e torna-se ainda mais próximo da Cinemathèque française, instituição com a qual mantinha contato, pois já havia morado em Paris na década anterior, período em que sua paixão pelo cinema despertou. Nesse ano é criado o Segundo Clube de Cinema de São Paulo, dessa vez, além de contar com as atividades anteriores, também tinha a iniciativa de prospecção e preservação de materiais de obras brasileiras. Portanto, 1946 é considerado o marco da criação da instituição. O Clube é filiado à FIAF por Paulo Emílio em 1948. No ano seguinte, é criada a Filmoteca do (recém-criado) Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo. Em 1956 desliga-se do museu e se converte em Cinemateca Brasileira, sociedade civil sem fins lucrativos. Neste ano é formado o Conselho Consultivo.10 Em decorrência da autocombustão de um rolo de nitrato de celulose, ocorre o primeiro incêndio no verão de 1957, que “destruiu integralmente a biblioteca, a fototeca, os arquivos gerais e a coleção de aparelhos para o futuro museu de cinema, assim como um terço do acervo de filmes” (Gomes, 1981, p. 75). A tragédia suscita o apoio e doações de entidades nacionais e estrangeiras, e a Cinemateca ganha um espaço no maior parque urbano de São Paulo, o Parque Ibirapuera. Em 1961 torna-se uma fundação sem fins lucrativos, fato importante para sua autonomia e para o levantamento de recursos públicos. 

No ano seguinte, é criada a Sociedade Amigos da Cinemateca (SAC), entidade civil sem fins lucrativos, para auxiliar a Cinemateca na gestão de recursos financeiros e para desenvolver atividades de apoio à Fundação. Se inicialmente as ações de difusão eram o motor da Cinemateca, a partir da década de 1970, a preservação passa a ser seu eixo, em parte pelo estado de seu acervo. O final dos anos 1960 e meados dos 1970 é um período crítico, com poucos funcionários, por vezes em trabalho voluntário. Em 1963 a Cinemateca é desligada da FIAF, devido ao não pagamento das taxas de anuidade, retomando como observadora em 1979, e como membro pleno somente em 1984. O segundo incêndio ocorre no verão de 1969, pelo mesmo motivo que o anterior, com perda significativa de materiais documentais. Em 1977 o laboratório da instituição é iniciado, a partir de equipamentos de laboratórios comerciais desativados. Paulo Emílio falece nesse mesmo ano, de ataque cardíaco. 

Em 1980 é inaugurado no Parque da Conceição o Centro de Operações, para trabalhos de documentação e pesquisa. O terceiro incêndio ocorre no outono de 1982. Como decorrência, um movimento pela incorporação ao poder público culmina na extinção da Fundação Cinemateca Brasileira e na incorporação, como órgão autônomo, à Fundação Nacional Pró-Memória, do governo federal, em 1984. Em 1989 é alugado um cinema11em Pinheiros, bairro movimentado da cidade, que alavancou significativamente a cinefilia da cidade. Ao final desta década, seu quadro funcional conta com cerca de 40 pessoas, sendo 30 contratados, muitos ex-alunos de Paulo Emílio.

Em 1990 a Fundação Nacional Pró-Memória é extinta, e a Cinemateca é incorporada ao Instituto Brasileiro do Patrimônio Cultural (IBPC), criado naquele ano, e quatro anos depois transformado em Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional (IPHAN). Em 1997 é inaugurada sua sede definitiva12, no antigo Matadouro da Vila Mariana, em terreno cedido pela prefeitura, após nove anos de reformas – com o devido tombamento do conjunto arquitetônico. A sede definitiva agrega os departamentos e salas de exibição antes espalhados pela cidade de São Paulo, e pode ser vista como elemento-chave no processo de consolidação da instituição, após décadas de escassez de recursos, precariedade de infraestrutura, mudanças na dinâmica administrativa e institucional. 

Em 2001 é inaugurado seu depósito de matrizes, inicialmente com capacidade para 100 mil rolos de filme, com controle de temperatura e umidade. No mesmo ano é iniciado o projeto Censo Cinematográfico Brasileiro13 , com financiamento da BR Distribuidora14 O projeto foi um importante marco para a identificação e tratamento do acervo da instituição15, e para a formação de mão de obra técnica. Ele “organizou-se sobre quatro eixos básicos: o levantamento e exame do acervo existente, concentrado e disperso; a duplicação de filmes amea[ça]dos de desaparecimento por seu estado de deterioração; a divulgação do trabalho e de seus resultados; o estudo de medidas legais para a proteção do patrimônio audiovisual” (Souza, 2009, p.258). Em 2003 a Cinemateca é incorporada à SAv/MinC, após deliberação do Conselho, considerando que o IPHAN não estava atendendo o escopo e não se envolvia nas estratégias da Cinemateca senão para aprovar planos de trabalho. Nos anos subsequentes, os recursos repassados pelo MinC aumentam gradualmente. Em 2003 é implementado um programa de estágio de curta duração para técnicos de outras instituições. De 2004 a 2006, o projeto Prospecção e Memória dá continuidade ao projeto do Censo, sobretudo em relação à catalografia de obras brasileiras, compiladas na base de dados Filmografia Brasileira.16

Em 2005 é criado o Sistema Brasileiro de Informações Audiovisuais (SiBIA), programa da SAv, com coordenação da CB, “programa que visa estabelecer uma rede que conta neste momento com a participação de mais de 30 instituições que se dedicam, prioritária ou subsidiariamente, à preservação de acervos de imagens em movimento em todo o Brasil”17. A instituição é escolhida como sede do 62º Congresso da FIAF em 2006, cujo tema é “O futuro dos arquivos de filmes em um mundo do cinema digital: arquivos de filmes em transição”. No mesmo ano, à ocasião do 60º aniversário da instituição, com comitiva de ministros e secretários, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva é o primeiro (e único) presidente do Brasil a visitar a CB. Em 2006 é publicado o Manual de Manuseio de Filmes e o Manual de Catalogação da instituição, normativas internas e importantes referências para as demais instituições brasileiras, sobretudo à época, ainda com poucas publicações técnicas em português. Em 2008 a SAC torna-se uma Organização da Sociedade Civil de Interesse Público (OSCIP) e, a partir de então, são volumosas as transferências de recursos para projetos na Cinemateca. Na gestão da SAC, são realizados projetos da próprio SAv – como meio de garantir agilidade na execução de programas do Ministério, como a Programadora Brasil.18 A partir de 2008 são publicados relatórios anuais de atividades.19, à exceção dos seguintes anos: 2013, 2015, 2018 e 2019. Como resultado do Censo, são confeccionados materiais de preservação e difusão no laboratório da instituição, e realizadas restaurações com recursos de projetos e programas. Em 2009 é lançado o Resgate do Cinema Silencioso Brasileiro, caixa de DVDs com 27 títulos de filmes silenciosos com trilhas sonoras compostas especialmente para a edição. Em 2011 é inaugurada uma instalação secundária na Vila Leopoldina20 , para armazenamento de películas, documentos, equipamentos, dentre outros. Em 2012 é publicada a primeira edição da Revista da Cinemateca Brasileira e, no ano seguinte, sua segunda edição.21 Em 2013 é instaurada uma crise político-administrativa, com a sumária exoneração do diretor-executivo da instituição, sem o devido diálogo com o Conselho, sem as medidas adequadas para sua substituição ou um plano de transição. São realizadas sucessivas auditorias da Controladoria Geral da União em relação à execução de recursos da SAv pela SAC e à aquisição de acervos pela União.22 Ao final do ano, dos 124 funcionários ativos antes da crise, poucos permaneceram, dentre eles os 22 funcionários públicos diretamente vinculados ao ministério.23 A partir do relatório de 2014, é possível verificar que alguns (poucos) fluxos de trabalho continuaram. Destaco a interrupção de um fluxo não executado em 2014 (e 2015), que afetaria drasticamente o acervo:
No verão de 2016 ocorre o quarto incêndio, mais uma vez em decorrência da autocombustão de um rolo de nitrato. A perda foi estimada em 1 003 rolos de filmes em nitrato de celulose, referentes a 731 títulos. Além da descontinuidade da revisão deste acervo com a crise de 2013, alguns anos depois foram descobertos alguns rolos recém-chegados à instituição, que foram alocados no depósito sem a devida remoção da embalagem de transporte. Isso poderia ter sido evitado se a equipe técnica tivesse sido encarregada de alocar e realocar as obras dentro dessa coleção de filmes. Esse descuido potencialmente criou condições para um microclima sujeito à autocombustão e pode ter sido o segundo fator responsável pelo incêndio. Porém, o fator primário sempre será a irresponsabilidade do poder público, ante a falta de condições para o exercício das atividades básicas da instituição.
Cinemateca Brasileira – de 2016 a 2017
O incêndio de 2016 coincide com a entrada de 11 técnicos, viabilizados por um contrato de serviços firmado entre a SAv/MinC e a Associação de Comunicação Educativa Roquette Pinto (Acerp), que entrou em vigor no final de 2015, com duração de um ano. Ao todo, até meados do ano, foram 42 técnicos contratados, que se somavam aos 15 servidores diretamente vinculados ao MinC. Foram também contratadas empresas terceirizadas de serviços essenciais (manutenção, limpeza, segurança e TI) e 7 técnicos para o fluxo de Depósito Legal24, viabilizados pela Agência Nacional do Cinema (Ancine). No relatório anual de atividades de 2016, o tom da apresentação da diretora Olga Futemma25 é de otimismo e orgulho pelo cumprimento das metas estabelecidas no Plano de Trabalho do Contrato, com a devida indicação das dificuldades e desafios criados a partir da descontinuidade dos trabalhos nos anos anteriores. Destaque para os trabalhos realizados em decorrência do incêndio:
“balanço e comunicação das perdas […]; exame, separação por grau técnico e triagem para encaminhamento de materiais [...] para processamento laboratorial; alocação provisória dos 3 mil rolos de nitrato remanescentes; elaboração de projeto de implantação, no depósito incendiado, de dispositivos contra sinistros […]; reforma básica do depósito, realizada pela equipe da Cinemateca, para o retorno da coleção […]; descarte técnico de resíduos do incêndio”.
Apesar do desastre, não foram obtidos recursos junto ao MinC para dispositivos contra sinistros.26 Outro desafio explicitado por Futemma foi a situação do Laboratório de Imagem e Som: devido à paralisação anterior, o “cenário era desolador”, dizia. Para enfatizar sua importância: trata-se de um dos mais completos (e último?) laboratórios de processamento audiovisual fotoquímico da América do Sul, com possibilidade de processamento de película para película (35mm e 16mm, suporte p&b de todos os materiais e confecção de cópias de materiais cor); de película 8mm, 9,5mm, 16mm e 35mm para digital (HD, 2K, 4K, 6K); back-to-film, de digital para película 35mm; captura de diversos formatos em vídeo (U-Matic, Betacam SP, Betacam digital, DVCam, entre outros) para digital; manipulação digital de imagem e som, incluindo correção de cor e restauração. O maquinário foi trabalhado ao longo dos anos para processar materiais com deterioração avançada.27 Devido à ausência de equipe nos anos anteriores e à decorrente falta de manutenção e peças, não foi possível retomar alguns fluxos.

O acervo audiovisual contém cerca de 250 mil rolos, entre películas com suporte de nitrato, acetato de celulose e poliéster, além do expressivo acervo de fitas e rolos magnéticos, e aproximadamente 800 terabytes de arquivos digitais, sobretudo de materiais digitalizados do acervo e materiais encaminhados para Depósito Legal. O acervo documental abarca cerca de um milhão de documentos relativos ao audiovisual, como cartazes, fotografias, desenhos, livros, roteiros, periódicos, certificados de censura, material de imprensa, documentos de arquivos pessoais e institucionais.28 Ademais, há uma coleção de equipamentos, não catalogada, de tecnologias do audiovisual de diversas décadas. No período recente, a instituição dividia-se nos setores: preservação de filmes, centro de documentação e pesquisa, difusão – programação.29 e eventos, atendimento, administração, manutenção e tecnologia da informação.

No setor de Preservação de Filmes, diversos fluxos foram executados ao longo de 2016: acompanhamento da climatização dos depósitos, movimentação de materiais de acordo com suas características físicas ou deterioração, revisão da documentação, atendimento a solicitantes e duplicação emergencial de materiais, que será comentada adiante. Um fluxo de trabalho importante foi a documentação, de forma coletiva, de ações necessárias, mas para as quais não havia recursos suficientes. Depois de meses de manutenções corretivas e avaliação dos químicos e de película virgem no estoque, foi iniciado o processamento de materiais em avançado estágio de deterioração considerados únicos: “a seleção foi feita considerando as condições técnicas dos materiais, [com investimento de] menos tempo e recursos nas ações complementares de uma só obra para que seja possível viabilizar ações, embora incompletas, em um número mais amplo de materiais”, de acordo com o Relatório de 2016.30

Devido às metas estabelecidas no Plano de Trabalho e aos exíguos tempo e equipe disponíveis em 2016, a seleção de materiais para processamento em laboratório foi realizada por apenas um técnico, sem debates e discussões mais amplas sobre o processo de seleção. Houve a precaução de não selecionar longas ficcionais consagrados31abrangendo “materiais de obras de ficção, documentários, cinejornais, filmes domésticos e filmes científicos” e “sem avaliação subjetiva do conteúdo das obras ou curadoria” (Relatório 2016). A seleção priorizou a urgência pela deterioração do material e não pelo conteúdo. O aspecto crítico nesse fluxo consiste no que não estava sendo selecionado, e que possivelmente estava incrementando ainda mais o ostracismo da obra. Ao longo do processo de análise, materiais indicados para duplicação eram avaliados como não processáveis e, pelo potencial de unicidade, ainda que com esperança no surgimento de algum material, impossível não encarar como a morte da obra. Inúmeros materiais estavam tão deteriorados que não possuíam condições de duplicação na íntegra, e os novos materiais gerados muitas vezes continham as marcas fotográficas da deterioração. Durante este fluxo, foi utilizado o estoque de película comprada nos anos anteriores – que foi findando ao longo dos anos, sem renovação.

As eventuais mortes de obras e as especificidades de processamento suscitaram a necessidade de criar uma metodologia que avaliasse e documentasse a situação da obra, a partir de determinado conjunto de materiais, para nortear as ações de preservação e acesso. Assim surgiu o que foi denominado como “status de preservação”, categoria que, além se integrar à documentação interna, foi incorporada nas comunicações aos detentores de direitos das obras, com observações como “indicada para processamento” ou “necessidade de prospecção de novos materiais”.32 Uma vez que essas categorias são mutáveis uma vez que a condição dos materiais pode mudar, a data do status era tão importante quanto o próprio status como informação.
A plataforma de dados da Cinemateca Brasileira é o WinIsis33 um software bastante limitado como ferramenta de análise de dados de forma mais complexa. A retomada de trabalhos de análise do acervo audiovisual, a criação de novos materiais e a movimentação demandavam atualização constante da base de dados de materiais audiovisuais, que foi interrompida devido à detecção de problemas estruturais na própria base – com o risco de corrupção de dados. Em paralelo, o projeto de código aberto e baseado na web Trac.34 foi estruturado e normatizado para documentação interna – essencialmente documentação fixa em formato Wiki e sistema de tarefas por tickets. Essa intranet “possibilita manter a horizontalidade da informação em relação aos demais setores, a colaboração na construção da documentação, a perenidade e a organização da informação em uma mesma plataforma, […] utilizada para documentar procedimentos internos diversos; normas e bulas de preenchimento de documentos; relatórios e textos referentes à instituição; informações referentes a solicitações externas e dados de materiais analisados e processados”, de acordo com o Relatório de 2017. O esforço por manter uma documentação interna acessível, horizontal e transparente, condizente com o caráter de uma instituição de memória, não alcançava as comunicações com a Acerp e os projetos elaborados pela equipe e encaminhados aos Ministérios. Um elemento importante para o progresso dos trabalhos foi o investimento em desenvolvimento de tecnologia, como documentado no Relatório de 2017, o que permitiu a análise de informações da base de dados de forma dinâmica e a busca por soluções para fomentar a autonomia da instituição. Merece destaque o projeto ClimaCB, criado para o monitoramento on-line da climatização, uma combinação de software e hardware de código aberto, cujas orientações e códigos estariam disponíveis em Git, para a livre utilização. Infelizmente, a publicação não foi efetivada. A participação da CB à frente de discussões técnicas e na publicação de proposições e soluções tecnológicas é ansiada, considerando seu potencial caráter medular, no âmbito da preservação audiovisual.

No período de dois anos durante o Contrato de Prestação de Serviços, Olga Futemma mantinha reuniões com a equipe técnica para compartilhar notícias, impressões e estratégias. Os eventuais encontros reforçavam a noção da proporção e da força da equipe, e serviam como injeção de ânimo. Outro elemento importante de coesão como equipe foi a construção de um novo site – o anterior tinha navegabilidade e ferramentas obsoletas. Um momento de visibilidade foi a realização de uma vinheta pela equipe técnica, mostrando o histórico da logomarca da instituição, criada em 1954.35

A equipe do setor de Preservação tinha um equilíbrio entre técnicos antigos na instituição, que garantiam uma necessária continuidade de fluxos, e técnicos que ali trabalhavam pela primeira vez, que proporcionavam um frescor na avaliação de fluxos e processos do setor. As dificuldades nas relações interpessoais em anos anteriores e a insegurança ocasionada pela crise de 2013 eram as referências negativas a serem evitadas.

O ano de 2016 ficou marcado pela autonomia e intensa comunicação da equipe técnica, mas também pelos percalços. Em maio foi lançado um edital para seleção de uma Organização Social (OS) para empreender a gestão da CB, pela então equipe do MinC do governo Dilma Rousseff. Pouco depois ocorreu o golpe misógino, caracterizado como um processo de impeachment da presidenta. Tão logo o novo presidente assumiu, quis acabar com MinC, mas voltou atrás, após forte pressão popular. O novo Ministro da Cultura cancelou o edital da contração da OS para a CB, que foi lançado meses depois, com alterações.

Em julho houve mais uma surpresa: a eliminação, por uma reestruturação do MinC, de cinco cargos de Direção e Assessoramento Superior (DAS) da instituição, ocupados então pela diretora e por técnicos. A direção da CB seria ocupada por uma indicação do Ministério, sem a devida expertise e sem a participação do Conselho, dado inédito à época. Foram enviadas cartas de associações e o Conselho da CB lançou um manifesto.36
pela revogação das demissões e pela vinculação da Cinemateca ao Instituto Brasileiro de Museus (IBRAM), o que auxiliou a reversão do corte do DAS da diretora e viabilizou a contratação de técnicos que ocupavam outros cargos, de outra forma.

Nos meses seguintes foi batalhado junto à SAv/MinC uma forma de evitar o intervalo entre o contrato de prestação de serviços com a Acerp – que terminaria em dezembro – e a implementação do Contrato de Gestão com a OS vencedora do edital. A solução encontrada, um dia antes do término do contrato, foi sua extensão até abril de 2017, mas “como o valor residual não é suficiente para remunerar por quatro meses todos os técnicos anteriormente contratados, foi preciso reduzir a equipe (em cerca de 75%) e, como consequência, frentes de trabalho”, segundo o Relatório daquele ano. O ano terminou com uma mistura de entusiasmo, pela celebração do centenário de nascimento do Paulo Emílio – com o lançamento de um esmerado site,37 de cursos ao público externo e publicações –, e de desânimo pelo corte da equipe, que só seria retomada em proporção similar em junho de 2017. É visível o impacto da forte redução dos técnicos, em um comparativo dos fluxos de trabalho nos Relatórios de 2016 e 2017, como pode ser explicitado pelos resultados do laboratório de metragem de material processado:


Em maio de 2018 foi celebrado o contrato com a OS, seguido por uma cerimônia com a presença do então Ministro da Cultura, que clamou que “a crise acabou” com o novo modelo de gestão. A Acerp, titular do contrato de prestação de serviços desde 2016, foi a OS selecionada no Edital. No caso da Cinemateca Brasileira, a costura jurídica do contrato de gestão por OS iria contribuir para a crise atual: a legislação não permitia que a Acerp firmasse um contrato de gestão diretamente com o Ministério da Cultura (órgão ao qual a Cinemateca estava vinculada), pois já tinha um contrato com o Ministério da Educação (MEC), então a gestão da Cinemateca foi oficializada por um aditivo ao contrato principal.38
Após a assinatura, a Acerp designou uma nova diretora para a Cinemateca, sem consulta ao Conselho, então relegado ao ostracismo. A primeira ação da Acerp com forte impacto na dinâmica da equipe técnica foi o estabelecimento de um núcleo de Atendimento para se dedicar ao crescente número de solicitações, sobretudo de acesso ao acervo audiovisual. Os serviços dos demais setores e o acesso ao acervo documental continuavam sendo viabilizados, mas, com o novo fluxo, se formou um gargalo no acervo audiovisual. Toda solicitação era registrada, respondida e eventualmente atendida, em teoria, considerando a ordem de chegada, a possibilidade de execução e os tempos de tramitações dentro da instituição. Apesar desse protocolo estabelecido pela equipe, um sinal da subjugação da CB seria a intensificação de projetos furando a fila, por determinação do ministro ou da diretoria da Acerp, o que gerava desconforto e inconformidade em parte da equipe.

Para a equipe de Preservação, o núcleo de Atendimento significou não ter mais contato com pesquisadores e produtores, que estavam acostumados com a maior agilidade que a expressiva equipe conferia antes de 2013 – e ficavam frustrados com a limitada capacidade de resposta impressa pela equipe reduzida. Ademais, o diálogo com produtores e pesquisadores – e suas práticas – denotava incompreensão da importância da preservação. Ou ainda, uma visão curta, até em termos de mercado, como a demanda para retirada de materiais para digitalização e licenciamento sem o processamento tecnicamente necessário.39 Outro indício da incompreensão e desrespeito com o viés da preservação é a não execução das contrapartidas especificadas pela CB. Relação elegantemente comentada por Olga Futemma, no Relatório de 2016: “algumas das situações ruins que enfrentamos decorreram de: prazos exíguos; a total desconsideração da necessidade de uma contrapartida – não em termos monetários, pois a Cinemateca não pode cobrar [à época] , mas em ações que deveriam estar previstas em seus projetos e que permitissem ampliar o acervo […]; a incompreensão de que materiais únicos (de preservação) não devem sair do acervo sem supervisão […]”. Ela acrescenta que “é preciso, portanto, continuar a empreender esforços para a mudança da concepção do bem público como algo de que se possa dispor livremente para a consecução de projetos privados, e para a compreensão da necessidade de, ainda na fase de elaboração, consultar sobre a viabilidade do projeto com a Cinemateca, no que diz respeito aos materiais pretendidos e aos prazos necessários para sua disponibilização. São duas condições essenciais para um planejamento que beneficie o solicitante e o acervo”.

Em setembro de 2018, antigos membros do Conselho emitem uma Notificação Extrajudicial ao MinC, requerendo a “revogação dos atos […] e normas que violem a autonomia técnica, administrativa e financeira asseguradas na escritura de incorporação da Fundação Cinemateca Brasileira […], além de: 1) Constituição de novo Conselho Consultivo com observância à necessária autonomia do órgão; […] 3) Retorno da Cinemateca Brasileira à estrutura do IPHAN”. A notificação menciona ainda a “omissão da SAv diante do incêndio [de 2016 … e] que a Cinemateca Brasileira nem mais consta da estrutura do Ministério da Cultura e nem mereceu nenhum cargo público comissionado”.
Gestão por OS na Cinemateca Brasileira
No momento de maior solidez da instituição, na primeira década deste século, a manutenção de seu corpo funcional foi um desafio constante. Os técnicos eram contratados por projetos com duração específica, por diferentes formas de vinculação.40 Essa dinâmica imprime fragilidade e instabilidade aos fluxos de trabalho, compromete estratégias e soluções estruturais, além de vulnerabilizar a própria equipe técnica.41 O modelo de gestão por OS seria uma solução desejada para viabilizar a contratação da equipe técnica de forma estável, depois de anos de penúria, conforme evidenciado por Futemma em e-mail na lista da ABPA: “esta discussão [de modelo de gestão de OS] ocorre há oito anos, envolvendo MinC, SAv e Conselho e equipe da Cinemateca. Temos grandes expectativas de que, até o final deste ano, um novo modelo de gestão permita à Cinemateca Brasileira exercer todo o seu potencial em prol do patrimônio audiovisual brasileiro”.42

O modelo de gestão por OS foi a solução deliberada depois de muitos anos de instabilidade do corpo técnico. Essa perspectiva era calcada também na possível preferência de uma OS criada especialmente para gerir a CB, a Pró-Cinemateca, OS criada em 2014 por membros do conselho e da SAC, com a finalidade única de fazer a gestão da instituição, que potencialmente teria a participação de profissionais da área na construção de um Plano de Trabalho – documento medular para a gestão em si e um dos critérios de seleção no Edital. A Pró-Cinemateca se qualificou para o 1º Edital lançado, mas não para o 2º Edital, devido à nova exigência de experiência prévia da instituição na gestão de recursos públicos – não havia experiência da instituição, pois havia sido criada recentemente, mas dos representantes e conselheiros, sobretudo experiência na própria Cinemateca, o que, na prática, poderia ser mais relevante do que o histórico de gestão da empresa em si.

Hoje o modelo de gestão por OS, após controvérsias em torno da gestão de outras entidades públicas, casos de corrupção e uma série de publicações sobre o tema na academia e na internet, é rebatido de forma ampla.43 O modelo é especialmente arriscado para instituições de patrimônio cultural em um contexto de insuficiência de recursos do Governo, onde fluxos de trabalho essenciais para a conservação do acervo (muitas vezes custosos e de baixa visibilidade) podem ser ofuscados para o benefício de ações com maior visibilidade pública. A confecção de um plano de trabalho sem a participação efetiva da equipe técnica pode comprometer seus objetivos primordiais. Conforme diagnosticado por Fabiana Ferreira:

“Um outro problema dessa gestão é que a justificativa da liberdade para captação de recursos por outras vias que não as estatais acaba também ficando à mercê do Estado. Isso se dá porque, no Brasil, o apoio das instituições privadas para a cultura não é tradição. A iniciativa privada no Brasil não apoia iniciativas culturais. Tradicionalmente, famílias milionárias e corporações brasileiras não realizam doações ou investimentos nos equipamentos de cultura, menos ainda para aqueles que não dão visibilidade à marca”.
(2020, p.110)
44

No caso da CB, a gestão por OS possibilitou a contratação por CLT45 de boa parte da equipe, cuja escolha felizmente coube aos coordenadores, sem a intervenção da Acerp. Porém, gradativamente o corpo técnico passou a ser condicionado às diretrizes da Acerp, condição que ficou evidente em reuniões internas, quando não era mais possível desempenhar um papel ativo na prospecção de acervos46 ou falar em nome da instituição sem o consentimento da Acerp. Sinais de mudança foram percebidos nos “modos sociais” da equipe, de forma distópica: a instalação de rede de câmeras como medida de segurança de acervo e equipamentos se concretizou com a gestão da Acerp – abarcando espaços anteriormente utilizados em pausa do trabalho, gerando desconforto com a vigia panóptica moderna. 


Cursos internos de assuntos técnicos ou apresentação de fluxos e atividades entre os setores, que eram realizados desde 2017, foram suspensos. A captação de recursos para a Cinemateca constava entre as ações previstas pela Acerp, e o aproveitamento do acervo e das instalações era uma via rápida para esse fim, o que gerou longos períodos com um fluxo constante de montagem e desmontagem de estrutura para grandes eventos, com temáticas variadas, por vezes distante da cultura e do audiovisual. Como não foram emitidos relatórios de 2018 e 2019, na gestão da OS, não é possível o acesso à informação sobre esses eventos. A ausência de publicação de relatórios é um perigoso indício da falência do modelo de OS para a Cinemateca, pois são documentos fundamentais para prestação de contas e transparência da gestão da instituição. No período foram criados relatórios de cumprimento de metas para o Ministério, mas o caráter do documento é técnico e pouco informativo, além de não ser público. Foi proposto um Código de Ética e Conduta da Acerp para os funcionários da CB, apresentado em um evento sobre o compliance da empresa – a menção de crenças religiosas no evento foi uma demonstração significativa da distância entre a Acerp e a missão institucional da CB.47Ainda, ficou explícita e evidente a inaptidão da empresa no desembaraço de burocracias para aquisição de equipamentos para o laboratório, o que afetou planos de trabalho desenhados segundo a disponibilidade de tais equipamentos. Solicitações de acesso ao acervo audiovisual para a utilização na programação da TV Escola tornaram-se prática corrente – enquanto a Acerp desatendia algumas necessidades apontadas pelo corpo técnico. As propostas da programação para a sala de cinema foram impactadas e condicionadas – como apresentar a ideia de uma mostra de Fassbinder para uma diretoria que fazia piada homofóbica nas situações de conversa fiada anteriores às reuniões? 

O cancelamento em cima da hora da edição de 2019 da CryptoRave48 pela equipe da própria Cinemateca foi sintomático, por receio de represália. Um símbolo incontestável da ocupação pela Acerp foi a criação de um novo site, sem participação ativa do corpo técnico da Cinemateca nas decisões editoriais. Como exemplo de equívoco, a ferramenta dinâmica do calendário de programação não era compatível com a linguagem do novo site. Portanto, o novo site passou a ter um design mais atualizado, porém menos funcional. A Acerp de imediato implementou uma logomarca intermediária (dizeres ‘cinemateca brasileira’ em cor branca sobre fundo vermelho), em substituição da logomarca de 1954, criada pelo celebrado designer Alexandre Wollner. A Acerp encomendou o desenho de uma nova logomarca, apresentada ao corpo técnico sem espaço para deliberação, cujo conceito e diagramação surpreendem pela semelhança com a logo do Curta Cinema - Festival Internacional de Curtas do Rio de Janeiro. Outro aspecto delicado, pois a Acerp é sediada no Rio de Janeiro e a Cinemateca em São Paulo.49 são os gastos de traslado, hospedagem e diárias de alimentação de diretores, gerentes e membros da consultoria jurídica entre as cidades – esses recursos acumulados significam um montante considerável, que poderia ter sido investido na própria Cinemateca.

Um símbolo inquestionável do insucesso do modelo de gestão de OS para a Cinemateca foi a dissolução do Conselho Consultivo, composto por representantes do poder público e da sociedade civil, cuja existência está prevista na ata de incorporação da instituição ao governo federal, de 1984. Sem diálogo com o Conselho, vários diretores foram apontados pela Acerp, sem experiência na área de memória ou preservação, e acabaram por alienar a equipe técnica dos rumos da instituição. Além disso, a Cinemateca, que historicamente se mantinha apartidária, por meio da Acerp, tornou-se o destino de pessoas associadas ao partido de extrema direita do presidente à época, em cargos diversos (administrativos e de comunicação, sobretudo), sem a expertise necessária nem entendimento da instituição, e que frequentemente apresentavam as áreas técnicas aos visitantes sem o devido acompanhamento da equipe técnica, fragilizando mais os esforços de conservação. Episódios com muita repercussão foram a presença de militares nas dependências da instituição50 e a tentativa fracassada de realização de uma mostra de filmes militares. Ao longo dos quatro anos da gestão da Acerp, a partir do exame da dinâmica interna, fica explícito o quanto a equipe técnica era autônoma e tinha projetos (Acerp como prestadora de serviço, de 2016 a 2018) e o quanto houve de perda da autonomia no modelo de gestão por OS (2018 em diante).

O limbo administrativo em que os dez servidores públicos alocados na instituição consiste em outra questão. Eles continuaram em seus postos desde o início da gestão por OS, quando a CB deixou de ser uma coordenação-geral da SAv do antigo MinC. Alguns dos servidores já estavam na instituição há mais de três décadas. Antes da assinatura do contrato, foi garantido aos servidores que, com a cessão para a OS, não teriam prejuízos em seus salários e benefícios. Contudo, após a assinatura do contrato, o entendimento mudou e a cessão nunca foi oficializada. Apesar dessa situação, o ministério orientou os servidores a prosseguirem com suas atividades na Cinemateca. Após um ano e meio de descaso e mensagens contraditórias, tiveram que abandonar de forma brusca a Cinemateca, para trabalhar no Escritório Regional do Sudeste do Ministério, em São Paulo – sem infraestrutura mínima para recebê-los. Além da súbita suspensão de sua atuação na CB, essas pessoas respondem a um processo de reposição ao erário, para devolução à União da Gratificação de Desempenho de Atividade Cultural (GDAC) – que representa parte significativa dos vencimentos – do período da assinatura do contrato de gestão da Acerp até a ida ao escritório do Ministério, por terem trabalhado “cedidos” para a OS. 

Apesar de a Acerp ter assumido as relações institucionais de forma mais ampla, excepcionalmente a relação com a FIAF seguiu sendo feita por Olga Futemma e coordenadores, com a emissão de minuciosos relatórios anuais à Fundação e a pronta pesquisa de informações solicitadas por associações filiadas à FIAF. Porém, entre os anos 2016 a 2019, não foi possível a representação de Futemma ou dos coordenadores nos Congressos de Bologna, Los Angeles, Praga e Lausanne.
Crise de 2020
Em fevereiro de 2020 a instalação secundária na Vila Leopoldina foi afetada por uma enchente, devido às fortes chuvas e à ausência da gestão adequada de galerias pluviais do bairro, aliada à intensa poluição do rio Pinheiros, a menos de 0,5 km da Cinemateca. A água de esgoto atingiu mais de um metro de altura, destruindo parte do acervo de película e de equipamentos, inclusive últimos materiais de longas e curtas de ficção, muitos elementos únicos de cinejornais, publicidade e trailer. Os danos ao acervo documental não foram considerados significativos, por se tratar de material duplicado. Instalações e equipamentos do galpão foram afetados e danificados. Após uma higienização profunda no ambiente pela equipe de limpeza, uma parcela da equipe técnica foi deslocada para limpeza, organização e resgate dos materiais atingidos. Não foi executado um plano emergencial por parte da Acerp ou da SAv para a necessária avaliação e processamento dos acervos audiovisual e de equipamentos, os mais atingidos, como a contratação de uma equipe técnica extra de forma temporária ou, até, a permissão de voluntários.51 A catástrofe não foi noticiada espontaneamente devido à falta de articulação entre a SAv e a Acerp diante da tragédia. A equipe técnica não poderia tomar a iniciativa de tornar pública a enchente. A exígua equipe estabeleceu turnos diferenciados, considerando a alta toxicidade do ambiente e a carga exaustiva, acentuada pelas altas temperaturas do galpão sem climatização e com restrita ventilação.52 Materiais em película foram selecionados e transladados para a sede principal para avaliação e processamento no laboratório, mas havia pouca película disponível para duplicação emergencial de rolos únicos danificados. Pelo alcance dos danos no espaço da CB e, sobretudo, nos acervos audiovisual e de equipamentos, pela inação da SAv e da Acerp, e pela crise que se sucedeu depois, interrompendo o trabalho de resgate e pesquisa, essa enchente se equipara, como catástrofe, aos sucessivos incêndios sofridos pela instituição, que “são metáfora da fragilidade da construção de uma política de preservação audiovisual que se esvai em chamas a cada mudança de Governo, de criação de entidades, de novos agentes” (Ferreira, 2020, p.23).

Desde a crise de 2013, o orçamento repassado pelo Ministério foi aquém das necessidades, o que se traduziu em equipes menores que o planejado para execução dos planos de trabalho. Ao final de 2019 instalou-se mais uma crise, quando o então Ministro da Educação decidiu não dar continuidade ao projeto da TV Escola – objeto principal do contrato da Acerp com o MEC –, não renovando o Contrato de Gestão com a Acerp (supostamente por uma cizânia pessoal do Ministro com um dos diretores). Uma vez extinto o contrato-principal com o MEC, todos os demais contratos foram encerrados – apesar do aditivo referente à CB ter duração até 2021 – o que deixou a CB à deriva administrativamente. A Acerp passou alguns meses buscando contornar a decisão e tentando obter recursos com a SAv, com a Secretaria Especial da Cultura e com o Ministério do Turismo, sem sucesso. O ano de 2020 foi repleto de notícias absurdas de decisões do governo envolvendo a Cinemateca,53 causando comoção e repercussão em redes sociais e gerando matérias na mídia. Em abril a Acerp parou de pagar as empresas terceirizadas e a equipe técnica. Antigos membros do Conselho lançaram um manifesto em maio.54

Foi iniciada uma ação civil pública pelo Ministério Público Federal contra o governo federal, pedindo a renovação emergencial do contrato com a Acerp que, até o fechamento deste texto, tinha o entendimento de que a situação estaria sanada com a contratação dos serviços essenciais (segurança, bombeiro) – porém, a ação está em andamento e há expectativa de uma nova decisão favorável à CB. Foram formadas e fortalecidas redes de resistência e protesto, de forma difusa, com diversos atores, que estreitaram a comunicação ao longo do tempo: Cinemateca Viva, Cinemateca Acesa, e representantes da Associação Paulista de Cineastas (Apaci),55 criando o movimento SOS Cinemateca. Estes grupos estiveram muitos ativos na realização de atos pela Cinemateca e na articulação política com gestores municipais e federais. Por parte do corpo técnico da CB, a porta voz não foi a gerência ou as coordenações, mas a representação de funcionários como um grupo.56

Os funcionários, que seguiam em trabalho remoto (quando possível), entram em greve em junho, com o auxílio efetivo do Sindicato. Neste mês é iniciada uma campanha por iniciativa dos trabalhadores da CB para arrecadar recursos para os colegas em situação mais vulnerável pela falta dos salários e benefícios, ainda mais fragilizados com a pandemia de Covid-19. A campanha teve numerosas contribuições de pessoas e instituições de todo o mundo.57 Foram feitas doações diretas à própria instituição, como a de um diretor anônimo, que doou para o conserto do gerador. Em julho foi realizado um debate na Câmara dos Deputados,58 com a presença de parlamentares, de diferentes atores da cadeia do audiovisual e da sociedade civil, um símbolo da repercussão e engajamento inéditos em torno da Cinemateca. De certa forma evidenciou também a necessidade de protagonismo e de didática por parte de profissionais da área pela profusão de termos inadequados e imprecisos ao defender a Cinemateca.59 A diretoria da Acerp emitiu poucos comunicados ao corpo técnico diretamente, e as informações eram repassadas, de forma irregular, pelos coordenadores. Em junho foi emitido um comunicado da diretoria (em documento não datado!), com solidariedade “com as dificuldades que todos estão passando, mas saibam que estamos fazendo o possível e impossível, estamos fazendo de tudo que está ao nosso alcance”, com o comprometimento de, “assim que receber do Governo Federal, a primeira providência será pagar salários e rescisões” – quando era notório que não haveria nenhum repasse por parte do Governo Federal. Considerando a ausência de recursos em 2020 para a Cinemateca, a enchente, a crise decorrente da pandemia de Covid-19, o trabalho remoto, a suspensão de salários e benefícios, o comunicado é um símbolo do descaso e desrespeito da Acerp com seu corpo funcional. Após a entrega de chaves da CB ao Ministério em 7 de agosto,60 a Acerp demitiu seus funcionários (sem pagamento de salários atrasados e verbas rescisórias).

Conforme notado na Carta de Gramado de 2020, “após inúmeros telefonemas, mensagens, consultas entre as partes e adiamentos, foram garantidos os serviços básicos e emergenciais de água e de luz […]; foram contratados os serviços de limpeza, embora a empresa não seja especializada; foram contratados serviços de manutenção dos equipamentos de climatização, embora a empresa não ofereça a expertise necessária; foram contratadas uma mini brigada anti-incêndio composta por dois funcionários e uma empresa de vigilância patrimonial das dependências. No entanto, entre as necessidades emergenciais falta o fundamental trabalho dos funcionários especializados sem os quais o acervo não estará preservado, mesmo com a retomada dos serviços básicos acima descritos”.61 Sem o acompanhamento técnico, o menor dos incidentes nas áreas de acervo pode gerar problemas com consequências drásticas e irreversíveis. Trata-se da primeira vez que em que é impossibilitada a entrada na instituição, por qualquer membro do corpo técnico.

À ocasião da entrega das chaves ao Ministério do Turismo, foi indicado que um edital para a contratação de uma nova OS seria lançado em breve, o que ainda não ocorreu. Há uma previsão orçamentária de R$ 12,5 milhões para a Cinemateca em 2020. Caso este recurso não seja utilizado ainda neste ano, não poderá ser somado aos parcos R$ 4 milhões previstos para 2021. Vereadores de São Paulo de diferentes partidos políticos organizaram um fundo de emendas parlamentares para a Cinemateca, com apoio da Spcine, empresa municipal de audiovisual de São Paulo. A aplicação de recursos municipais em uma instituição federal demanda uma articulação jurídica inédita, que está sendo construída pela SAC para a contratação emergencial de um pequeno corpo técnico. Hoje, os grupos da Sociedade Civil seguem ativos, com a tentativa de acionar entidades e dar continuidade à mobilização. A próxima grande ação está prevista para 27 de outubro, Dia Mundial do Patrimônio Audiovisual - UNESCO.

É urgente a criação de uma solução imediata para a viabilização de uma equipe técnica ainda no ano de 2020, para que o acervo não siga desacompanhado. A criação de mecanismos para a gestão da instituição a médio e longo prazo, de forma resiliente e sustentável, condizente com a necessidade de constância dos trabalhos no acervo e de manutenção da equipe técnica também é urgente. Considera-se como necessária e fundamental a abertura de concursos públicos para os cargos técnicos, respeitando as especificidades, o que poderia conferir a desejada estabilidade. Conforme diagnosticado na Carta de Ouro Preto de 2020:

“preservação do patrimônio cultural é dever constitucional do Estado brasileiro e, portanto, é preciso recuperar o protagonismo do poder público na gestão de instituições de patrimônio audiovisual, retomando os processos de abertura de concursos públicos e de implementação de planos de gestão pensados em conjunto com a sociedade civil, diretiva prevista na Recomendação sobre a Salvaguarda e Conservação das Imagens em Movimento, da UNESCO, de 1980” (Carta de Ouro Preto de 2020)

Uma ideia recorrente nas numerosas discussões on-line é o retorno da Cinemateca Brasileira para uma instituição de memória e patrimônio do governo federal – IBRAM ou o IPHAN, ao qual a CB foi vinculada até 2003, quando passou a ser vinculada à SAv. Foi inclusive esse vínculo ao IPHAN que proporcionou a continuidade da CB no início da década de 1990, quando o governo federal promoveu um desmonte de políticas e instituições de cinema. O IBRAM é uma autarquia vinculada ao Ministério do Turismo, que abrange trinta museus federais.
Depósito Legal e o Mercado do Audiovisual
Apesar do indubitável dever do Estado (e sua evidente negligência), reitero que o interesse e a preocupação com a implementação de uma política de preservação devem ser de todos os elos da cadeia do audiovisual. Temos como desafio o entendimento geral – cuja relação de valores foi construída, por décadas, pelo próprio mercado – de que o “bem simbólico da memória é inferior ao bem simbólico de um longa-metragem exibido nos cinemas dos shoppings” (Ferreira, 2020, p.111). Possivelmente a prosperidade do FSA (e o aumento de investimentos em desenvolvimento, produção, distribuição e exibição), unida à inação dos elos da cadeia produtiva do audiovisual em relação à preservação se relacionam diretamente com a dimensão da atual crise do patrimônio audiovisual. A ABPA reiteradamente tem pleiteado assento no Conselho Superior do Cinema (CSC) e no Comitê Gestor do FSA, sem sucesso. No debate “Fronteiras entre a indústria, mercado e arquivos – conteúdo, fomento e regulação”, na CineOP de 2018, um representante da indústria audiovisual no Comitê Gestor do FSA sugeriu a busca de outro caminho de financiamento para a preservação, distinto do FSA. Quando este profissional levanta essa possibilidade (e ele é só um exemplo da postura de outros produtores), não compreende a importância da preservação para toda a cadeia nem que também é sua função defender a Cinemateca, bem como outras políticas para a gestão do patrimônio audiovisual, de forma ampla. Nem que seja pelo viés personalista, considerando que algum asset seu possa estar lá: a matriz de uma imagem de arquivo para seu próximo filme como produtor; a matriz do seu filme de estreia dos anos 1980; ou os registros domésticos de sua família. Ou, ainda, pelo fato de que a atuação da Cinemateca em discussões, publicações, fóruns e em pesquisa de tecnologia possa beneficiá-lo de alguma forma. Como afirma Paulo Emílio, “não se faz bom cinema sem cultura cinematográfica e uma cultura viva exige simultaneamente o conhecimento do passado, a compreensão do presente e uma perspectiva para o futuro. Enganam-se os que confundem a ação das cinematecas com o saudosismo” (1982, p.96). A cadeia produtiva já resmungou quando foi debatida a necessidade de investimento no gigante passivo da preservação audiovisual para atender à própria cadeia produtiva e, até, explorar comercialmente os acervos. O business model não fecha enquanto não tivermos um investimento massivo para dar conta de décadas de dificuldades e estagnação. Eu resmungo de volta com esse gráfico:63

Em abril de 2017, foi publicado o Plano Anual de Investimentos do FSA para o ano de 2017,64 no qual foram anunciados, como apoio, R$ 10,5 milhões para a Cinemateca Brasileira. O valor equivale a 1,4% do total anunciado no documento. O valor nunca foi executado, com a justificativa de que o recurso do não reembolsável65 teria terminado. Em maio de 2018 foi lançado o Plano Anual de Investimentos de 2018,66 com a previsão de R$ 23,375 milhões para investimentos em Preservação e memória. Em dezembro daquele ano foi lançado pela SAv o Edital de Restauro e Digitalização de Conteúdos Audiovisuais. Tratava-se de recursos para restauração ou digitalização de obras para empresas do audiovisual, com a possibilidade de retorno financeiro, e contou com a atuação de um grupo de trabalho com a participação de técnicos de preservação da Cinemateca Brasileira na construção do documento e das diretrizes técnicas para a digitalização e restauração. Sob a ótica de profissionais do setor, o Edital estava destinado somente a produtoras com o viés da distribuição, sendo a preservação secundária. O Edital foi suspenso cerca de quatro meses após a publicação pelo atual governo. Portanto, nenhum recurso do FSA de 2008 a 2018, de um total de um pouco mais de R$ 4,5 bilhões,67 foi de fato investido em preservação.

Atualmente a Cinemateca Brasileira é a única instituição habilitada a receber materiais em Depósito Legal. Desde 2016, a Ancine investiu não mais que R$ 2 milhões na contratação de equipe técnica para análise desses materiais, cujo fluxo de processamento mobiliza diversos setores e técnicos da instituição. Foi reportada alta taxa de reprovação dos materiais analisados e, segundo Gomes (2020), “parece ter como uma das principais causas o grande distanciamento e pouca informação de realizadores/produtores acerca, de maneira ampla, do papel de um arquivo audiovisual, e de maneira mais específica, dos princípios do Depósito Legal”. Contar com a expertise na análise dos materiais sem viabilizar recursos para a preservação desse acervo pode ser considerado como tiro no pé. Os materiais analisados estão inertes em estantes em um ambiente climatizado – à mercê da famosa morte silenciosa.68 É necessário que o mercado participe para garantir um aumento da taxa de aprovação e a criação de condições para preservação de materiais nato digitais no âmbito do Depósito Legal. De maneira ampla, a narrativa e a luta por políticas para o patrimônio audiovisual devem também ser do mercado. 

É muito significativo o panorama da Cinemateca apresentado na Carta de Gramado 2020, elaborada pela frente SOS Cinemateca, com adesão de diversas associações – de outras cinematecas, de profissionais e empresas do audiovisual. Um sinal positivo é a inclusão de uma discussão sobre a crise na Semana ABC, organizada pela Associação Brasileira de Cinematografia (ABC), um dos mais significativos eventos em torno da realização audiovisual no Brasil. Mas ainda precisamos de maiores ações de aproximação e de reconhecimento de que esta crise da Cinemateca deve ser preocupação – e requer atuação – de todo o setor. 

Conforme apontado na Carta de Ouro Preto de 2020, entre os pontos urgentes para implementação de uma política nacional para a área e os desafios a serem enfrentados está “reivindicar a criação de mecanismos para a ampliação da oferta de obras audiovisuais brasileiras nos catálogos de plataformas de streaming, tendo a garantia de inclusão de obras de diversas épocas, possibilitando o acesso ao vasto patrimônio audiovisual brasileiro”. Qual seria a relação da Netflix (usada aqui como modelo de plataforma), por exemplo, com a necessidade de investimento no patrimônio audiovisual brasileiro? Só uma oportunidade de benfeitoria mesmo, viável por sua presença na lista das 12 empresas que mais lucraram na pandemia. A proposta não é tão absurda, considerando que a empresa no Brasil criou um fundo emergencial de R$ 5 milhões para a indústria audiovisual brasileira, devido ao recesso no contexto da pandemia de Covid-19.69 Obras antigas disponíveis nas plataformas de streaming constituem uma preocupação nos Estados Unidos.70 Em geral, produtores brasileiros não contam com recursos para digitalização e finalização de filmes antigos capazes de atender aos parâmetros técnicos requeridos pela plataforma e, possivelmente, precisam de investimento em advogados para viabilizar o clearance.71 da obra. Que tal então a plataforma lançar uma linha de investimento para obras não contemporâneas? Trata-se de uma ideia que seria contemplada pelo Edital SAv/MinC/FSA nº 24 de dezembro de 2018, linha de Restauro e Digitalização de conteúdos audiovisuais, suspenso em 2019. A saúde das instituições de patrimônio audiovisual beneficia também as próprias plataformas de streaming a médio e longo prazo – considerando, por exemplo, a forte tendência de documentários em torno de imagens de arquivo.72 Como ilustração, o expressivo número dos documentários dos EUA disponíveis na Netflix Brasil, que possui imagens de arquivo como condutores da narrativa, como Wild Wild Country (2018), Disclosure (2020), e as séries Remastered (2018) e Explained (2018). No entanto, comparativamente são poucos os filmes e séries brasileiros que apresentam imagens de arquivo nessa medida, sendo uma exceção O Barato de Iacanga (2019, Thiago Mattar).73

Além da atividade do laboratório da Cinemateca para a preservação de seu acervo, chamo atenção para a confecção de cópias, como a coleção “Clássicos e Raros do Cinema Brasileiro”, iniciada em 2007, que teve sua 4ª edição em 2016, e aquelas feitas para celebrar o Dia internacional do Patrimônio Audiovisual. Destaco, como meio de registro, as cópias em 35mm e digital realizadas em 2016, tal qual consta no Relatório.

A confecção de cópias em 35mm é uma importante função de uma cinemateca com um laboratório fotoquímico, para a preservação e para proporcionar uma experiência de difusão em consonância com o formato original da obra. Considerando que o digital é a forma de ampla circulação, são confeccionados cópias em digital em diversos formatos/fins. No contexto da CB, o esforço de digitalização dessas obras se realizaria mais plenamente com alguma forma de difusão pré-estabelecida, idealmente com a devida curadoria e ações de contextualização. Atualmente, o caminho natural de difusão digital da CB é a inclusão na plataforma Banco de Conteúdos Culturais (BCC).74
“Dez Filmes Importantes Para a História do Cinema Brasileiro Inacessíveis (ou quase) Digitalmente”, publicado em CineLimite, expõe a inacessibilidade digital a alguns celebrados, cânones ou raridades de nossa filmografia. Além de ações para o acesso digital, é crucial avaliar se suas matrizes estão fora de risco iminente, e se demandam ações de preservação ou duplicação. A lista de Rafael de Luna me remeteu a “Filmes brasileiros considerados perdidos (ou prestes a sê-lo)”, publicada na extinta revista Contracampo.75

Distintivamente, a lista de 2001 era sobre a existência/perda de matrizes. Além de alguns títulos que eventualmente foram perdidos, outros tiveram seus (conhecidos) únicos materiais deteriorados, a ponto de inviabilizar um processamento em laboratório. Devido às crises da Cinemateca Brasileira, à paralisia dos trabalhos de pesquisa, das ações de preservação e do processamento laboratorial, a atualização da lista feita em 2001 por Hernani Heffner e Ruy Gardnier seria trágica em extensão e escopo. Seria papel de uma instituição nacional tornar esta lista pública. Além de prestar contas à sociedade brasileira sobre seu patrimônio audiovisual, também pode ser uma estratégia de localização de novos materiais junto a outras instituições e colecionadores privados no Brasil e no mundo. Ainda, e os tantos outros filmes e registros que escaparam de tal investigação e documentação e estão em ostracismo? Quantos filmes existem, cujos únicos materiais são cópias em bitolas inferiores, incompletos, muito deteriorados? Quantos registros audiovisuais brasileiros já perdemos?
Conclusão
“Se perdermos o passado, viveremos em um mundo Orwelliano do presente perpétuo, onde qualquer pessoa que controla o que está sendo divulgado poderá dizer o que é verdade e o que não é. É um mundo terrível, nós não queremos viver nesse mundo.”Brewster Kahle (2014, entrevista para Digital Amnesia, documentário da holandesa VPRO)

“Conhecimento só se efetiva quando é compartilhado” Hernani Heffner (2001, em conversa de corredor na Cinemateca do MAM do Rio de Janeiro)



O audiovisual digital tem sido ferramenta crucial nas lutas por direitos humanos em todos os cantos do país. São registros de despejos forçados de comunidades, da ocupação de aparelhos culturais ou educacionais como forma de protesto, de manifestações, de invasão de comunidades por forças policiais – com altos índices de homicídios da população local, inclusive crianças e jovens –; registros da devastação ambiental fomentada pelo governo atual, da luta por direitos e pela demarcação de terras indígena, e de crimes contra os povos originários. O audiovisual também tem sido utilizado no empoderamento preto e na luta antirracista, na emancipação e afirmação das mulheres por igualdade de oportunidades e contra o machismo estrutural. As redes sociais, com uma profusão de talentos criativos e narrativas, proporcionam os maiores índices culturais desta época. No Brasil, em sentido geral, estas imagens seguem fora do escopo de prospecção das instituições brasileiras, e ainda é tímida a discussão em torno de seu arquivamento e pertencimento ao escopo do patrimônio audiovisual no Brasil. Na perspectiva da preservação, além de todos os desafios inerentes à preservação digital de dados,76 temos o aspecto da efemeridade, pelo vínculo dos dados às corporações.

Os mecanismos de tecnologia persuasiva das redes sociais são utilizados para conduzir comportamentos de indivíduos. Algoritmos são capazes de dar credibilidade ao inverídico, de alavancar o terraplanismo e de colocar #StopFakeNewsAboutAmazon como trend no Twitter, enquanto a boiada do ecocídio passa solta, e o mundo testemunha a Amazônia, o Cerrado, o Pantanal e outros Parques Nacionais destruídos.77 O computador quântico Rehoboam78 é uma alegoria do agora, em uma narrativa explicitada por Shoshana Zuboff em seu livro “Capitalismo de Vigilância”. Vimos, num crescente terror e violência, sucessivas vitórias eleitorais de partidos e movimentos políticos de extrema direita. A circulação de notícias falsas nas redes sociais aumentou o poder de destruição do Covid-19. A contrainformação, deep fake e robôs de fake news têm conexão com o mundo descrito por Brewster Kahle, fundador do Internet Archive, citado acima. Podemos perder o passado e, até, o presente, pela fragilidade do tecido da informação, pelo potencial de manipulação e pela desinformação.79 O atual presidente do Brasil, quando deputado, à ocasião do processo de impeachment/golpe da presidenta Dilma Rousseff, votou pela memória do maior torturador da ditadura militar, que comandou as sessões de tortura contra a ex-presidenta. Falhamos em não ter mostrado e visto o suficiente de O caso dos irmãos Naves (1957, Luis Sérgio Person), Iracema - uma transa amazônica (1974, Jorge Bodansky/Orlando Senna), Tarumã (1975, Mário Kuperman), Eles não usam black-tie (1981, Leon Hirszman), Pra Frente, Brasil (1982, Roberto Farias), Cabra marcado para morrer (1984, Eduardo Coutinho), Que bom te ver viva (1989, Lúcia Murat), Ação entre amigos (1998, Beto Brant), Cidadão Boilesen (2009, Chaim Litewski).80 De forma que fosse impossível banalizar o ato na Câmara dos Deputados, de tal forma que nenhuma mulher votasse nele para presidente dois anos depois. Agora não podemos deixar de preservar estes filmes e os que virão depois de Orestes (2015, Rodrigo Siqueira), Pastor Cláudio (2017, Beth Formaggini) e Torre das Donzelas (2019, Susanna Lira).

Uma parcela expressiva do patrimônio audiovisual brasileiro já se perdeu ao longo do século passado. Além dos recorrentes incêndios à época dos primeiros cinemas, das ondas de destruição ativas (de filmetes curtos na consolidação do longa-metragem como formato, do silencioso com a chegada do cinema falado, na substituição do nitrato pelo acetato), muitos acervos se dispersaram, foram desmantelados, escamoteados, e os que chegaram aos arquivos de filmes já chegaram debilitados. Ainda, a demora em reconhecer a importância do patrimônio audiovisual, a ausência de políticas públicas para a sua gestão e a oscilação de recursos nas instituições acarretaram mais perdas. Com o advento do digital, há um agravamento – tanto pela preservação do que hoje é prospectado quanto pelo que está fora do escopo de prospecção. A crise atual da Cinemateca é gravíssima e demanda medidas urgentes do poder público e da cadeia audiovisual. Apesar do poder de destruição do atual governo e da paralisia dos trabalhos por tantos meses, encorajada pelas muitas discussões que estão sendo realizadas, pelas articulações em andamento e pelos movimentos em apoio à Cinemateca, quero terminar com algum tom de otimismo. Por acreditar no potencial da Cinemateca para promover debates e exibição de filmes, para efetivar o acesso às mais olvidadas coleções, ser um espaço para pesquisa, prover referência imagética do passado e subsidiar pesquisa tecnológica; para cativar crianças e jovens com a telona, apresentar o pré-cinema e as tecnologias do audiovisual em um museu, e para engajar o bairro e a comunidade vizinha. Acrescente-se para vários outros modos de uso criativo do acervo e das ferramentas que demoraremos a exercer, devido às sucessivas crises que aumentam o passivo de trabalhos, aceleram a deterioração do acervo e limitam o poder de alcance da instituição. Neste momento fica ainda mais evidente o fato de que a Cinemateca está incluída no macro projeto de devastação da cultura e do patrimônio brasileiro e, a sua importância como uma força para reagir contra este projeto, portanto, cresce cada vez mais.


Agradeço Aline Machado pela revisão minuciosa.

1. O Ministério da Cultura foi extinto no primeiro dia do governo; foi incorporado inicialmente ao Ministério da Cidadania e, posteriormente, ao do Turismo. Até o momento, a Secretaria Especial da Cultura já teve cinco titulares sem comprovada expertise, e outras instituições de patrimônio cultural passam por agudas crises, como a Fundação Casa de Rui Barbosa e o Centro Técnico Audiovisual (CTAv). A Agência Nacional do Cinema (Ancine) não repassou recursos já comprometidos e não lançou novos editais. Destaca-se que a Constituição Federal, que rege a democracia brasileira, prevê em seu Art. 215 que o “Estado garantirá a todos o pleno exercício dos direitos culturais e acesso às fontes da cultura nacional, e apoiará e incentivará a valorização e a difusão das manifestações culturais”; e em seu Art. 216, que o “poder público, com a colaboração da comunidade, promoverá e protegerá o patrimônio cultural brasileiro”.

2. De 2016 a 2020 trabalhei no departamento de Preservação de Filmes da Cinemateca Brasileira. Compartilho reflexões subjetivas a partir de minha experiência, com ênfase nas atividades do departamento.

3. CineOP 15 years: Live with Hernani Heffner, Cinemateca do MAM manager. September 2020. https://www.instagram.com/tv/CEC_cUVlbK6. Acesso em: 18 set. 2020.

4. Por meio de uma política descentralizadora do Ministério da Cultura foram lançados editais de desenvolvimento e produção, com cotas para estados usualmente com restrito investimento no audiovisual, e projetos de baixo orçamento, editais específicos para novos diretores, mulheres e povos nativos.

5. Regulamentado em 2007, o FSA é retroalimentado por um fluxo do imposto Contribuição para o Desenvolvimento da Indústria Cinematográfica Nacional (Condecine), coletado a partir de todas as janelas do audiovisual, e investido em novas produções, linhas de desenvolvimento, distribuição de produções para cinema e televisão e jogos eletrônicos. De 2008 a 2018 foram investidos, no total, cerca de R$ 4,5 bilhões.

6. Um exemplo emblemático desta dinâmica ocorreu em 2008, com a presença do então diretor-executivo da Cinemateca Brasileira na 3ª CineOP, cuja temática é Política Nacional de Preservação Audiovisual: necessidades e desafios. Ao longo do evento ele se posicionou com firmeza contra uma articulação das demais instituições, a criação de diálogo destas com o representante do Ministério da Cultura no evento e a criação da ABPA - Associação Brasileira de Preservação Audiovisual.

7. Dentre as propostas do Simpósio sobre o Cinema e a Memória do Brasil de 1979, consta “a criação e a dinamização de centros regionais de cultura cinematográfica constituídos por unidades de produção e por filmotecas (arquivos de cópias de filmes), com a função básica de prospecção, pesquisa e divulgação do acervo brasileiro [… e] o estabelecimento de um inventário [nacional]” (1981, 67). Laura Bezerra relata a “criação de um programa de apoio às cinematecas que, apesar de não ter implementado ações sistemáticas e abrangentes, destinou recursos para algumas ações setoriais” (2014, 120). A descentralização é necessária, considerando a continentalidade e pluralidade cultural do país, além de tecnicamente ser desejada em caso de sinistros.

8. A CineOP é um evento criado em 2006 e tornou-se o principal fórum de discussões e articulações em torno do patrimônio audiovisual e o ensino do audiovisual no Brasil. A cada ano é redigido um documento pelos participantes do Encontro, a Carta de Ouro Preto, com alertas e proposições para o campo. 

9. A ABPA é uma associação de profissionais, independentemente do vínculo com instituições, e tem atuado em prol de políticas para o setor, na projeção do patrimônio audiovisual e na realização de projetos, como a tradução e publicação de textos técnicos. A ABPA criou em 2016 o PNPA, documento de diagnóstico e proposições de ações e políticas para o campo da preservação audiovisual. http://www.abpreservacaoaudiovisual.org

10. O papel principal do Conselho é atuar no desenvolvimento da Cinemateca. Seus membros são representantes dos poderes públicos da esfera federal, estadual e municipal, além de indivíduos da sociedade civil com atuação em cinema ou patrimônio. Curiosamente, nota-se uma predominância de homens dentre os conselheiros ao longo dos anos.

11. Atualmente é o Cinesala. Cinesala. Disponível em: http://www.cinesala.com.br/cinesala. Acesso em: 4 ago. 2020.

12. O matadouro teve suas atividades encerradas em 1927. O terreno estava sendo utilizado como depósito de equipamentos de iluminação pública.

13. A partir de ideia de Gilberto Gil, músico e então membro do conselho de assessoramento cultural da BR Distribuidora, e posteriormente Ministro da Cultura, de 2003 a 2008.

14. Empresa estatal que impulsionou a produção, distribuição, exibição, preservação e restauração do audiovisual – vinculada à Petrobras, empresa brasileira de energia, gás e petróleo.

15. Em colaboração com a CB, o projeto também foi realizado na Cinemateca do MAM do Rio de Janeiro, inclusive o inventário do acervo, inédito na instituição e processamento de materiais deteriorados. A Cinemateca do MAM estava subjugada à direção do Museu, que determinou, de forma arbitrária, que não teria condições de manter o acervo audiovisual (insolitamente após o inventário). Como resultado, parte do acervo foi alocada no Arquivo Nacional a partir de 2002 na mesma cidade, e parte foi recebida pela CB. Alguns detentores de materiais optaram por guardar consigo, muitas vezes em lugares inapropriados. Essa foi uma das maiores crises da instituição, de relevância histórica para o cinema brasileiro (sobretudo para o movimento do Cinema Novo) e para a preservação audiovisual, cuja direção passou por Cosme Alves Netto, com notória ligação com instituições internacionais. A partir de 1996, Hernani Heffner ingressa na instituição. Em 2020, passa por uma consolidação, com um novo prédio para o acervo documental e com mudanças estruturais na direção do Museu.

16. Segundo Souza, a Filmografia Brasileira foi iniciada por Caio Scheiby em fichas em papel e, nos anos 1980, foram publicados quatro cadernos com registros dos filmes produzidos até 1930 (2009, p.259). Atualmente, de acordo com o site da instituição, “contém informações de aproximadamente 42 mil títulos de todos os períodos da cinematografia nacional e da produção audiovisual mais ampla e recente, sejam curtas, médias ou longas-metragens; cinejornais; filmes publicitários, institucionais ou domésticos; e obras seriadas (para internet e televisão), com links para registros da base de dados de cartazes e referências de fontes utilizadas e consultadas”. Disponível em: http://cinemateca.org.br/filmografia-brasileira. Acesso em: 13 ago. 2020.

17. Texto extraído da plenária realizada em 2008. Disponível em: http://bases.cinemateca.gov.br/page.php?id=90. Acesso em: 2 ago. 2020. Segundo Laura Bezerra, “o SiBIA foi pensado e executado a partir da CB/SAv sem quaisquer debates e negociações com os atores envolvidos, o que contradiz o espírito democrático-participativo defendido e praticado em documentos e ações do MinC” (2014, 185). O II Encontro Nacional do SiBIA ocorre em 2009, com 33 instituições de todo o país, e suas propostas, que demandavam recursos e ações da SAv, não se efetivaram. O projeto é extinto em 2009, sem desdobramentos práticos.

18. A Programadora Brasil foi um projeto de difusão de filmes (animação, experimental, ficção, documentário), que atuou de 2006 a 2013, por meio da edição de DVDs para circuito não comercial (cineclubes, centros culturais, escolas, universidades), em um total de 970 obras divididas em 295 DVDs.

19. Relatórios institucionais da Cinemateca Brasileira. Disponível em: http://cinemateca.org.br/institucional/relatorios-institucionais. Acesso em: 7 jul. 2020.

20. Esta unidade foi afetada pela enchente no início de 2020.

21. Revista da Cinemateca Brasileira. Disponível em: http://cinemateca.org.br/biblioteca/publicacoes-e-links. Acesso 7 jul. 2020.

22.  Acervos adquiridos pela União sob a guarda da Cinemateca: Estúdios Vera Cruz e Atlântida Cinematográfica (em 2009), Canal 100 e Glauber Rocha (em 2010), Goulart de Andrade e Dulce Damasceno de Brito (em 2011) e Norma Bengell (em 2012).

23. A paralisia afeta também o Centro Técnico do Audiovisual (CTAv), instituição no Rio de Janeiro, que correalizava diversos projetos da SAv com a CB.

24. Depósito Legal é o mecanismo de depósito de materiais comprobatórios da realização da obra audiovisual subvencionada com recursos federais, em instituições credenciadas pelo governo federal – até o momento, somente a CB. Após a aprovação do material (de acordo com diretrizes técnicas), a empresa produtora torna-se apta a receber a última parcela do investimento. Devido à redução do fluxo de análise na crise de 2013, foi gerado um passivo de materiais a serem analisados.

25. Olga Toshiko Futemma atua na Cinemateca Brasileira desde a década de 1980, com destaque para seu trabalho no Centro de Documentação e Pesquisa. Tornou-se diretora-executiva em 2004, diretora-adjunta de 2007 a 2013 e diretora de 2013 a 2018, quando se torna Gerente de Acervos. Participou do Comitê Executivo da Fiat a partir de 2009 até o ano de 2013.

26. Após o incêndio, foi mantida a mesma estrutura. De acordo com o Relatório da CB de 2016: “a edificação, desenhada nos anos de 1990, foi construída sem instalações elétricas ou hidráulicas, de modo a minimizar os riscos de acidente; sem climatização ativa, mas mantendo a temperatura interna com as menores variações possíveis e permitindo a circulação de ar, para evitar o acúmulo de gases resultantes da deterioração do suporte. Em caso de autocombustão […] inevitavelmente consumiria todo o conteúdo da câmara, mas não se espalharia para as outras adjacentes” – que foi o que ocorreu em 2016, o fogo consumiu apenas uma das quatro câmaras.

27. Como exemplo, o ARRISCAN, quando adquirido, foi adaptado para materiais deteriorados, o que permitiu o escaneamento de negativo com 4% de encolhimento, medida que seria considerada inviável para outros laboratórios.

28. Bases de dados do Centro de Documentação e Pesquisa. Disponível em: http://bases.cinemateca.org.br. Acesso em: 7 ago. 2020.

29. O setor de difusão seguiu praticando a premissa de exibição de filmes do acervo, respeitando seu suporte original, privilegiando o cinema brasileiro; e realizando mostras, com materiais do acervo ou de parceiros, ou recebendo festivais nas duas salas de cinema e na tela externa da Cinemateca – projeções em 16mm, 35mm e digital, e alguns formatos em vídeo analógico.

30. Ainda de acordo com o relatório, “o processo de duplicação emergencial difere da restauração de filmes, conceito este aplicado quando são confeccionadas novas matrizes de preservação, de imagem e som, e cópias de acesso, incluindo diferentes graus de manipulação para minimizar marcas do uso ou deterioração, buscando a forma como a obra foi difundida em seu lançamento original. Uma restauração usualmente reúne e compara diversos materiais para seleção dos melhores, enquanto a duplicação emergencial trata de uma copiagem de um suporte em deterioração avançada, geralmente único, para um outro, novo.”

31. Carlos Roberto de Souza destaca que “os trabalhos de pesquisa e historiográficos brasileiros realizados […] chamaram a atenção para o fato de que é um equívoco construir uma história do cinema brasileiro a partir do filme de ficção de longa metragem. A produção brasileira de maior volume foi sempre a de documentários e cinejornais, geralmente relegada a segundo plano pelos chamados historiadores clássicos, pela mídia e pelo público em geral. A realidade da produção reflete-se no acervo cinematográfico que chegou até nossos dias. O percentual de filmes de não-ficção ultrapassa avassaladoramente o de longas de ficção e continua o menos preservado. Isso não significa que todos os longas de ficção estejam preservados. Longe disso. A parcela mais tratada – nem sempre com os cuidados que merece – é a dos longas brasileiros consagrados.” (2009, p.261).

32. Posteriormente descobriu-se que há um campo homônimo na base Filmografia Brasileira, conduzida pelo Centro de Documentação e Pesquisa, que constava dentre os campos excluídos do fluxo à época. Tratava-se de um sistema numérico de 0 a 5. Considerando que os técnicos da Preservação que propuseram a metodologia não tinham experiência anterior na instituição, a proposição não seguiu o sistema numérico, mas categorias de texto. Como exemplo, as categorias ‘preservado no momento’ (considerando matrizes originais, intermediários e cópias de acesso em bom estado, por exemplo), ‘parcialmente preservado’, ‘não preservado’, ‘parcialmente perdido’, com a inclusão de adendos como ‘com defeitos’ (interferências na imagem ou som), ‘incompleto’, etc. O sistema permitiu agilidade nos fluxos de seleção de materiais para duplicação emergencial e pesquisa para acesso externo.

33. Ferramenta proposta pela Unesco em 1988, por seu caráter moldável, que se assemelha a cartões físicos de biblioteca individuais, com limitado cruzamento de informações.  

34. A ferramenta foi inicialmente pesquisada e selecionada pelas equipes do laboratório e de desenvolvimento anteriormente a 2016. Foi adotado pela equipe da preservação em 2016, perfil mais institucional em 2017 – trac.cb – em seguida pela equipe do Centro de Documentação e Pesquisa e, por último, e com uso comedido, pela equipe da difusão.

35. Precisamosfalar sobre... o logo da Cinemateca Brasileira. Disponívelem: https://twitter.com/cinematecabr/status/798954169386336256. Acesso em: 14 jul. 2020. A logomarca é identificada pormuitos por sua forma fálica, o que poderia ter contribuído para o grau deviralização e atenção à Cinemateca em 2016.

36. Manifesto pela Cinemateca Brasileira - 2016. Disponível em: https://manifestopelacinematecabrasileira.wordpress.com. Acesso em: 20 jul. 2020.

37. 100 Paulo Emílio. Disponível em: http://cinemateca.gov.br/100pauloemilio. Acesso em: 20 jul. 2020.

38. Questiona-se a legalidade da realização de um aditivo ao contrato principal. De qualquer forma, consideramos um ultraje que a gestão da Cinemateca Brasileira seja regida por um aditivo como instrumento legal.

39. Como ocorreu em casos de acesso aos originais para digitalização e licenciamento ao Canal Brasil, principal canal de televisão de obras brasileiras, que estava atualizando seu catálogo, anteriormente em resolução SD. A entrega ao Canal seria em HD ou superior, apesar de ser uma resolução datada. Os produtores optavam por resolução HD e não em 2K, por limitação de orçamento, mas além de ser mais relevante comercialmente a médio prazo, o 2K representa uma ação mais significativa de preservação, uma vez que seria um resguardo por mais tempo do material original em película – grande parte já em más condições.

40. Sobretudo a pejotização: a contratação de serviços de indivíduos por meio de empresas constituídas para tal.

41. Essa dinâmica de dispersão de força de trabalho é ainda mais perigosa no contexto da preservação digital, que demanda uma constante atualização de saberes devido, à incessante mudança da tecnologia e de práticas de mercado.

42. E-mail de 29 de junho de 2016. Disponível em: https://groups.google.com/g/lista-da-abpa. Acesso em: 15 jul. 2020. Débora Butruce indica que o tema de gestão por OS foi debatido em um Grupo de Trabalho ao longo de alguns anos: 15ª CineOP. Instituições de patrimônio em risco: Caso Cinemateca Brasileira. Disponível em:https://cineop.com.br/debate/instituicoes-de-patrimonio-em-risco-caso-cinemateca-brasileira / https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFmtVJxLl54. Acesso em: 14 ago. 2020. Além de Butruce, participaram do debate Carlos Augusto Calil, Fabiana Ferreira e Eloá Chouzal, na mediação.

43. Jorge Barcellos resume da seguinte maneira: “[…] ao longo do tempo as OS tornam-se deficitárias e custosas”; e alerta que “segundo Alzira Angeli, da Controladoria Geral da União, estas organizações transformaram-se no novo nicho de mercado da corrupção e [segundo o historiador Francisco Marshall] “a iniciativa promove a degradação da gestão pública”. Disponível em: https://jorgebarcellos.pro.br. Acesso em: 20 ago. 2020. Como exceção, alguns museus no Estado de São Paulo seguem com êxito no modelo de gestão por OS.

44. Em contraste com o modelo estadunidense, no qual famílias bilionárias e grandes corporações subvencionam projetos e instituições de cultura e patrimônio, por fundações.  

45. Consolidação das Leis do Trabalho (CLT), com diversos benefícios ao trabalhador, como férias remuneradas, 13° salário, seguro-desemprego, auxílio-doença, salário-família, salário-maternidade e aposentadoria.  

46. A prospecção de materiais é uma função primordial da CB, por ser a principal instituição nacional e considerando o secular histórico de destruição e descaso com o patrimônio audiovisual brasileiro. Tornaram-se notórias notícias de acervos potencialmente valiosos nos últimos anos, e não foi possível a atuação de técnicos da CB. Por intermédio da Acerp, foi feita avaliação em um acervo no interior de São Paulo. O corpo técnico assumiu o contato com o Ministério das Relações Exteriores para a avaliação da listagem de acervos de cópias 35mm em Embaixadas do Brasil em Roma, Berlim e Haia para a repatriação. Acerp posteriormente assumiu o diálogo e não conseguiu efetivar o translado.

47. A Missão Institucional estava sendo consolidada em um documento, que não se efetivou na gestão da Acerp.

48. Fórum de discussão de liberdade, autonomia, segurança na Internet. CryptoRave. Disponível em: https://cryptorave.org. Acesso em: 15 ago. 2020.

49. A distância entre as duas cidades é de mais de 400 km, cerca de 1 hora de voo.

50. Militares fardados ocasionalmente visitavam a instituição. Um episódio tornou-se notório: a visita de um deputado, com mesmo sobrenome que seu tio-avô, o primeiro presidente da ditadura militar. Ele publicou um vídeo em redes sociais, dentro da CB e acompanhado por representantes da instituição, anunciando a mostra de filmes militares, reproduzindo o slogan de campanha do presidente e batendo continência. A série não foi realizada.

51. O que possibilitou uma efetiva resposta aos danos ao estúdio e ao acervo do fotógrafo Bob Wofelson, localizado nas mediações do galpão da Cinemateca, que contou com um número grande de voluntários sob coordenação da equipe técnica do Instituto Moreira Salles (IMS). Uma técnica da Cinemateca Brasileira estava entre as voluntárias (fora do horário de trabalho da CB). Essa foi a 2ª enchente que afetou o estúdio do fotógrafo. As enchentes na região são recorrentes, de maneira que esse relato é a crônica de uma tragédia anunciada.  

52. O trabalho consistia em movimentar sacos com pilhas de latas de filmes cheias de água suja, abrir cada lata para verificar o estado do material, determinar destino ao material e organizar o acervo nas estantes. Em um primeiro momento, as equipes de limpeza e manutenção executaram uma força tarefa junto à equipe técnica para escoar a água, limpar estantes e ajudar na movimentação de sacos de filmes, porém antes que esse trabalho chegasse ao fim, essas equipes foram drasticamente reduzidas.

53. A primeira delas, referente à nomeação como diretora de uma atriz que desempenhava há dois meses o papel de Secretária Especial de Cultura em Brasília e queria retornar a São Paulo por questões pessoais. No entanto, não havia nenhum cargo legalmente disponível para ela assumir na CB naquela época e ela acabou não trabalhando na instituição.

54. Cinemateca Brasileira pede socorro. https://secure.avaaz.org/community_petitions/po/governo_federal_secretaria_especial_de_cultura_sec_cinemateca_brasileira_pede_socorro. Acesso em: 9 set. 2020. Nesta data, o manifesto teve mais de 28,5 mil adesões.

55. Cinemateca Viva, grupo formado por Associação dos Moradores da Vila Mariana <http://www.cinematecaviva.com.br>; o grupo Cinemateca Acesa <https://www.facebook.com/CinematecaAcesa>; S.O.S. Cinemateca Brasileira https://www.instagram.com/soscinematecabrasileira; e Cinemateca em Crise, criado em 2013, com atualizações com a crise de 2020 <https://www.facebook.com/cinematecaemcrise>. A Apaci desde 2015 esteve ativa e em contato com a diretoria da CB, para garantia da execução dos trabalhos da instituição.

56. Trabalhadores da Cinemateca Brasileira. Disponível em: https://twitter.com/trabalhadorescb. Acesso em: 18 ago. 2020.

57. Cinemateca Brasileira - Trabalhadores em Emergência. Disponível em: https://benfeitoria.com/trabalhadoresdacinemateca. Acesso em: 30 ago. 2020. 

58. A crise na cinemateca brasileira - Soluções Urgentes. Disponível em: https://edemocracia.camara.leg.br/audiencias/sala/1595. Acesso em: 30 ago. 2020. Gabriela Queiroz, coordenadora do Centro de Documentação e Pesquisa desde 2014 até 2020, representou a instituição.

59. Como exemplo, as afirmações de que “todo” o patrimônio audiovisual brasileiro está na CB, de que a instituição poderia pegar fogo se a luz fosse cortada (os depósitos de nitrato não possuem sistema elétrico); e a utilização do termo ‘laboratórios climatizados’ para designar ‘depósitos climatizados’.

60. A entrega de chaves foi marcada pela presença de agentes ostensivamente armados da Polícia Federal, que foram convocados com o pressuposto de que poderia haver resistência na entrega das chaves pela Acerp. As chaves foram entregues, os documentos foram assinados e foi realizada uma visita técnica. Mesmo que utilizada de forma coadjuvante, foi a primeira vez que intimidação policial ocorreu na instituição. A Acerp tentou obter ressarcimento dos valores investidos na CB em 2019 e 2020, alegadamente no total de R$ 14 milhões.

61. Carta de Gramado 2020. Disponível em: http://www.festivaldegramado.net/festival-lanca-a-carta-de-gramado. Acesso em: 30 set. 2020.

62. Generalizações são arriscadas e podem ser equivocadas. Afinal, temos muitos produtores que entendem, enaltecem e investem em preservação, sobretudo depois da crise de 2020. Se essas palavras não fazem justiça à atuação de produtores em prol do patrimônio audiovisual, ficarei feliz em publicar meu equívoco. Mas esse texto foi fermentado pela frustração de ver a soberba da cadeia audiovisual, com suas festas, mercados, deals, marketshare, box office, hold back, catch up, pitch, players e recursos caudalosos, enquanto a menção a investimentos em preservação gerava tremores! Essa postura gananciosa da cadeia produtiva é um descaso em relação ao patrimônio audiovisual brasileiro e aos profissionais da área.

63. Fontes: sites do FSA e da Cinemateca Brasileira. Originalmente publicado em MENEZES, Ines Aisengart. O profissional atuante na preservação audiovisual. Museologia & Interdisciplinaridade. Vol. 8, nº15, Jan./ Jul. de 2019. Nota do original com correção: A Cinemateca Brasileira é a única instituição que recebe materiais em Depósito Legal e conforme Laura Bezerra (2015), seu orçamento representa quase que a totalidade de investimentos em preservação audiovisual, no período, no país. Desta forma, considero o gráfico uma ilustração direta do desnível de investimentos em produção e preservação audiovisual”. O gráfico alcança somente até 2017, pois a partir de então a Cinemateca Brasileira não publicou mais relatórios institucionais. Em 2019, no novo governo, foram interrompidos os repasses do FSA.

64. Documento SEI / ANCINE - 0413350 - Resolução CGFSA Nº 101 - Aprovação do Plano Anual de Investimentos FSA 2017. Disponível em: https://fsa.ancine.gov.br/sites/default/files/resolucoes-cgfsa/RESOLUÇÃO CGFSA Nº 101 - aprova PAI FSA 2017.pdf. Acesso em: 3 out. 2020.

65. Por meio de mecanismo não reembolsável, que não prevê o retorno em lucro financeiro, mas com outros desenhos de contrapartida.

66. Documento SEI / ANCINE - 0845324 - RESOLUÇÃO CGFSA Nº 155 - Aprovação do Plano Anual de Investimentos de 2018. Disponível em: https://fsa.ancine.gov.br/sites/default/files/resolucoes-cgfsa/RESOLUÇÃO CGFSA Nº 155 - Plano Anual de Investimentos 2018.pdf. Acesso em: 3 out. 2020.

67. Recursos disponibilizados para Ações e Programas - 2008 a 2018. Disponível em: https://fsa.ancine.gov.br/resultados/investimentos/valores-investidos. Acesso em: 3 out. 2020. Valor completo informado nesta data de R$ 4.558.877.384,00.

68. De acordo com Gomes (2020), a maioria dos materiais recebidos em Depósito Legal está em HD externos, que necessitam verificação contínua – “materiais digitais, portanto, requerem checagens e migrações mais constantes, uma necessidade que a Cinemateca Brasileira ainda não pode atender, tanto por limitações do número de funcionários, quanto financeiras”. Parte da numerosa coleção em vídeo magnético da instituição é oriunda de Depósito Legal. De um modo geral, no período de 2016 a 2020, não foram realizadas ações de preservação das coleções em vídeo e digital, somente duplicação para acesso. Considerando a inação, de uma forma ampla e sistemática, em relação ao escopo do patrimônio concebido em digital, pode-se esperar uma superação das (notoriamente altas) taxas de perda em relação ao patrimônio em película – sobretudo em relação às primeiras produções criadas em digital.

69. ICAB e NETFLIX fazem parceria para criar FUNDO EMERGENCIAL de apoio a comunidade criativa brasileira. Disponível em: http://icabrasil.org/2016/index.php/mediateca-reader/icab-e-netflix-fazem-parceria-para-criar-fundo-emergencial-de-apoio-a-comunidade-criativa-brasileira.html. Acesso em: 27 set. 2020.

70. Netflix, Streaming Video and the Slow Death of the Classic Film. Disponível em: https://www-newsweek-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.newsweek.com/2017/09/22/netflix-streaming-movies-classics-664512.html. Acesso em: 27 set. 2020. Supreme Court Urged to Make Old Movies Digitally Available. Disponível em: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/supreme-court-urged-make-old-movies-digitally-available-1218088. Acesso em: 27 set. 2020. O repertório de filmes antigos é um nicho explorado por plataformas como The Criterion Channel e Mubi, entre outros.

71. Um aspecto sensível para a comercialização de obras antigas é a normatização, para emissão do Certificado de Produto Brasileira (CPB) e a documentação dos direitos, para viabilizar o licenciamento. Historicamente, muitos filmes foram realizados sem a devida documentação e muitas empresas se dissolveram sem a documentação de repasse dos direitos.

72. No contexto brasileiro, onde a primeira atividade como profissional é explicar qual a sua função como profissional, os documentários da Netflix com imagens de arquivo costurando sua narrativa costumam ser uma explicação para leigos sobre a importância da preservação do patrimônio.

73. Relatório de 2016: páginas 55 e 56. Correção ao conteúdo: Bacalhau (1976, Adriano Stuart) é colorido, não p&b.

74. Aqui vale uma reflexão sobre a excelência catalográfica e a boa navegabilidade do projeto, mas a necessidade de revisão de especificidades técnicas e das dimensões do logo ocupando parte da imagem, experiência reportada como frustrante para muitos.

75. Filmes brasileiros considerados perdidos ou prestes a sê-lo. Disponível em: http://www.contracampo.com.br/34/filmesperdidos.htm. Acesso em: 21 ago. 2020.

76. Como tecnologias proprietárias; obsolescência de formato de arquivo, codec, software, hardware; gerenciamento de metadados; migração, entre outros.

77. Além de catastrófico ambientalmente para a fauna e a flora, a devastação vai afetar diretamente o campo de preservação de patrimônio cultural, pela relação direta com o clima, como a variação maior de temperatura e umidade, por exemplo. Desconheço estudos no Brasil sobre a crise climática e a área de patrimônio. Mundo afora, destaco o Orphans 2020, em torno do qual ocorreram diversos debates.

78. Supercomputador de inteligência artificial da série da Westworld (2016, Jonathan Nolan), ambientada em quase quatro décadas no futuro.

79. Cujo símbolo é a ciência sendo desacreditada pelas redes sociais e meios de comunicação de mensagens (sobretudo WhatsApp, empresa adquirida pelo Facebook), tornando difícil a difusão de informações cientificamente fundamentadas, com olhar crítico na contenção da pandemia de Covid-19. Uma pesquisa realizada em vinte países mostra que brasileiros são os que menos acreditam em seus cientistas: Brasil de costas para a ciência. Disponível em: https://piaui.folha.uol.com.br/brasil-de-costas-para-ciencia. Acesso em 30 set. 2020.

80. Filmografia Ditadura Brasil. Disponível em: http://historiaeaudiovisual.weebly.com/filmografia-ditadura-brasil.html. Acesso em: 2 set. 2020.
BIBLIOGRAFIA

BEZERRA, Laura. Políticas para a preservação audiovisual no Brasil (1995-2010) ou: “Para que eles continuem vivos através de modos de vê-los”. Tese (Doutorado). Universidade Federal da Bahia, 2014. <http://repositorio.ufba.br/ri/handle/ri/14590>.

FERREIRA, Fabiana Maria de Oliveira. A Cinemateca Brasileira e as políticas públicas para a preservação de acervos audiovisuais no Brasil. Universidade de Brasília, 2020. 

GOMES, Paulo Emílio Sales. Crítica de Cinema no Suplemento Literário - Volume I. Rio de Janeiro, Paz e Terra, 1982.

GOMES, Paulo Emílio Sales. Crítica de Cinema no Suplemento Literário - Volume II. Rio de Janeiro, Paz e Terra, 1982. 

SOUZA, Carlos Roberto de. A Cinemateca Brasileira e a preservação de filmes no Brasil. São Paulo, 2009.

Mário de Oliveira Ramos, better known as Vassourinha, died at the age of 19 in 1942. That is the main statement relayed in Vassourinha: The Voice and the Void (1998), a short experimental film by Carlos Adriano. The film is a celebration, but also a lament. Somewhere between the late 1930s and early 1940s, the voice of a black teenager from São Paulo showed a lot of promise and was suddenly silenced. The film is built around this notion of a beginning followed by a violent interruption. It is about Vassourinha, but also about all of the other suddenly silenced voices throughout history. Brazilian voices plunged into the void. Why are there so many? Why are we so competent at silencing them?
Carlos Adriano reacts to this silencing in Vassourinha: The Voice and the Void by undergoing a materialist plunge, as he dives into the available records from Vassourinha's life. With the exception of the final scene, the film particularly utilizes two types of sources. The first and perhaps most important of these is the voice of Vassourinha. While most documentaries allow the voices of others to become the authorities on the life of forgotten artists, Adriano isn’t interested in having audiences rediscover Vassourinha in this typical way. In the film, there are no interviews with experts who praise Vassourinha, just as there is no traditional omniscient narration to tell his story. However, the voice we do hear in the film is that of the singer himself, edited and organized to elicit new meanings by the filmmaker. For Adriano, Vassourinha’s music should be the sole driving verbal force relaying his own story, above all allowing the tone of Vassourinha’s voice to set the dramatic arc in motion. As a result, Vassourinha himself takes on the lead role in the film, as mediator of his own rediscovery. He matters because the music we hear in the film matters. There are no experts on his life just as there are no fans who reminisce about his music. This is a film acting as the rediscovery of a memory completely devoid of nostalgia. The goal of the work is not simply to recover lost time. If Vassourinha does come to represent a symbol by the film's end, it is that of the ongoing process of silencing in Brazilian history.
The other central resource that The Voice and the Void utilizes is previously unearthed archival materials. Throughout the first three-quarters of the film, the shots consist of all the materials that Adriano and Bernardo Vorobow managed to collect about the artist. Photos, record covers, concert ads, newspaper clippings… All of these elements become clues to a forgotten history. As The Voice and the Void is a film of radical materialism, its meaning lies in the historical traces that were left behind by Vassourinha, such as these numerous memorabilia that had been withering away for nearly sixty years. When the camera centers on an article from a torn newspaper, the state of its condition is emphasized as much as its content. In highlighting this material condition, the film is intent on stopping the process of oblivion. Film itself thus becomes a gesture toward the recovering of memory.
Memory has always been a central concept throughout Adriano's oeuvre, it spreads over the texture of his every film. This is especially evident within Remainiscences (1997) and The Voice and the Void. After the death of Vorobow, his life partner and producer, what was a history of images is taken over by a memory-feeling, remembrances in moving images which speak directly to the filmmaker (his 2010 feature Santos-Dumont, pré-cineasta? marking the transition between these two phases). In The Voice and the Void the texture of memory bears a terrorizing feeling because the oblivion that the filmmaker fights is, historically, a cultural process that is highly characteristic of Brazil. The silencing of Vassourinha represents a deeper silence throughout Brazil’s history. The title of the film indicates this process: the voice, but also the void. And even if the film is taken over by Vassourinha’s music, its most memorable moments happen when Adriano interferes with it searching for effects, first making the record skip with an echo, and later interrupting the singer’s voice completely. There is nothing sadder than a film about a singer with silence. We dive into his void.
The Voice and the Void is a film about recovery, but it is also a film about resisting the historical tendency towards cultural erasure and oblivion so common to Brazil. Thus the film bears the mark of death. Mário de Oliveira Ramos died at 19, 56 years before Carlos Adriano made him this film. The film doesn’t allow us to forget that once. Death is brought to the fore again and again. His death certificate is shown and emphasized. In its final minutes, the film abandons the archives and heads to a location: the cemetery where Vassourinha is buried. The camera moves with a mix of freedom and sorrow (the cinematography is carefully executed by filmmaker Carlos Reichenbach), and in a final movement, it reaches out for the grave of Vassourinha. Thus ends the film, at the singer’s gravestone, simultaneously forgotten and remembered. One last material affirmation of memory, one last attempt at confronting death. Vassourinha’s voice lives on, but the void in Brazil’s collective memory continues on unperturbed. The film’s task is that of unbalancing said void, even if just for a while.
* This piece was originally published in Portuguese as part of the book Curta brasileiro: 100 filmes essenciais, organized by the Brazilian Association of Film Critics (Abraccine) in October, 2019.
1. Atração e Retração
É comum iniciar uma análise sobre a questão negra e a representação afrodescendente no Cinema Brasileiro elencando, primeiramente, um conjunto de filmes associados ao Cinema Novo: Aruanda (Linduarte Noronha,1959-1960); Barravento (Glauber Rocha, 1962); Cinco Vezes Favela (Carlos Diegues, Leon Hirszman, Marcos Farias, Miguel Borges e Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, 1962); Bahia de todos os santos (Trigueirinho Neto, 1961); A grande feira (Roberto Pires, 1961); Ganga Zumba (Carlos Diegues, 1964). Podemos desalinhar essa clivagem oferecendo uma visão expandida, mencionando também dois filmes que fogem aos estereótipos comuns e às representações subalternas ou paternalistas do negro no cinema brasileiro. Mais próximo de uma linguagem passível de ser considerada “cinemanovista”, Compasso de Espera (Antunes Filho, 1973) se relaciona a um segundo momento, comprometido com temáticas urbanas e contradições restritas à classe média presentes em filmes como O Desafio (Paulo César Saraceni, 1965) e Bebel, garota propaganda (Maurice Capovilla, 1968). Já Alma no Olho (Zózimo Bulbul, 1973), primeiro filme do diretor negro brasileiro Zózimo Bulbul, realizado a partir das sobras de negativo de Compasso de Espera, distancia-se do Cinema Novo e busca sua força no jazz de John Coltrane e em elementos de performance e do Cinema Underground norte-americano. Zózimo Bulbul é ator no primeiro e diretor do segundo, o que faz com que esses dois filmes formem uma espécie de díptico e mantenham entre si uma relação umbilical. Inspirado no livro de Eldridge Cleaver Soul on Ice (1968),1 a obra inaugural de Bulbul nasce, portanto, no contexto do Cinema Novo, demarcando, logo no seu início, um distanciamento ambíguo, uma oscilação que atravessará a obra do diretor tanto do ponto de vista estético quanto político. À inflexão cinemanovista que se desenha a partir dos anos 60, os filmes de Antunes Filho e Bulbul assinalam proximidade e distanciamento simultâneos do primado cinemanovista.
Apesar das críticas que possam ser endereçadas às representações do negro nos filmes do Cinema Novo, o pesquisador Noel dos Santos Carvalho aponta como o movimento operou como um marcador histórico importante para uma mudança de atitude em relação às representações do Negro:
O Cinema Novo colocou o negro no centro da cena rompendo e condenando os estereótipos difundidos pela chanchada, Vera Cruz e adjacências. Seu anti-racismo se baseou na: 1) condenação dos estereótipos raciais; 2) na ignorância à idéia de raça e a sua submissão à categoria mais geral de povo; 3) na tematização de aspectos da história, religiosidade e cultura do negro. (…) No entanto, o que queremos reter aqui é a mudança de atitude, a ruptura que significou um conjunto de filmes que tiraram o negro dos papéis estereotipados tradicionais, colocando-os como protagonistas das histórias.2
O emprego do cinema como ferramenta de pensamento e prática política antirracista marca a aproximação, enquanto a forma e a abordagem dos filmes, particularmente associados à questão negra, parece afastar Bulbul do Cinema Novo. Em 1982, em meio aos meandros obscuros das políticas ligadas à Embrafilme,3 Bulbul lançou críticas duras em direção a Cacá Diegues e a Walter Lima Jr, chegando a recusar um papel para trabalhar em Chico Rei (Walter Lima Jr., 1985), pois considerava que “historicamente é terrível”, uma “coisa pasteurizada” destinada a exibição “na telinha da Globo”.4 Uma insatisfação com a representação do negro, mas também com o tipo de experiência cinematográfica, que Zózimo considerava pasteurizada, desprovida de invenção.
A questão se adensa. Anos mais tarde, Bulbul registra na epígrafe de seu primeiro longa-metragem, Abolição (Zózimo Bulbul, 1988), uma dedicatória controversa a dois nomes do Cinema Novo, Glauber Rocha e Leon Hirszman. Controversa porque, em seu retorno ao Brasil após auto-exílio na Europa,5 podia-se afirmar que conservava-se aquela relação inicial de atração e retração entre o cinema de Bulbul e o Cinema Novo. De modo que, hoje, parece mais proveitoso evocar o cineasta que operou um trabalho de seleção de possibilidades formais e temáticas, submetida a um jogo experimental que nenhum cineasta do Cinema Novo teve ferramentas para realizar. Esta relação parece nos oferecer uma via interpretativa interessante para abordar o quanto Abolição é alienígena tanto em relação ao documentário brasileiro, quanto ao Cinema Novo e até mesmo em relação à própria obra de Bulbul. Sob o prisma das relações entre cinema, negritude e racismo no Brasil, identifica-se em Abolição uma espécie de campo de força que se sustenta por si mesmo, indicando que, entre integrar-se ou não aos movimentos hegemônicos, Zózimo seguiu seu próprio caminho.
2. Cinema Atlântico
Pelo modo como lida não apenas com o constructo cinematográfico, como também por sua dimensão técnica e estética específica, que Abolição, único longa produzido e dirigido por Bulbul, extrapola o valor documental e se propõe a desenvolver uma experiência singular. Para além de uma relação de atração-retração com o Cinema Novo, Abolição parece se articular a um outro conjunto de filmes que constituem modo específicos de tratar as relações entre a ficção e o documentário. Abolição se organiza a partir de registros, algumas encenações, entrevistas e imagens de arquivo, visando expor a articulação oportunista entre a farsa histórica da Abolição a realidade de negras e negros no Brasil contemporâneo. Visto hoje, mais de 30 anos de sua aparição, Abolição se parece menos com “um programa ampliado de Alma no Olho6 do que com uma experiência a ser tomada em ressonância com esses filmes. Gosto de pensar que Abolição pode ser considerado um filme “Atlântico”, isto é, um filme construído a partir de estratégias arquitetadas para fazer emergir um cosmos de relações e associações livres. Filmes como A Idade da Terra (Glauber Rocha, 1981), Cabra Marcado para Morrer (Eduardo Coutinho, 1984), Ôrí (Raquel Gerber, 1989), O Fio da Memória (Eduardo Coutinho, 1991) e Abolição. Cinema Atlântico, qual seja, cinema de travessia, cinema atravessado pela temática colonial/racial de forma simultaneamente direta e indireta, objetiva e subjetiva. Constitui-se como miríade de signos em movimento, atravessando eras e fatos históricos, através de um referencial abrangente e dilatado, uma polifonia audiologovisual embutida na própria forma do filme.
O filme não foi recebido em suas características mais originais por cineastas, pesquisadores e mesmo pelo público negro, que, a bem da verdade, não costuma ter acesso aos cinemas brasileiros. Em um ensaio sobre Bulbul (2012), o pesquisador Noel dos Santos Carvalho reforça a percepção de que o experimentalismo de Abolição não teria alcançado o efeito desejado, constituindo-se como “um inventário de falas, performances e discursos sobre a Abolição, o que explica em parte sua irregularidade, repetições e excessos.” Carvalho também afirma que “do ponto de vista da estrutura narrativa é o mais didático dos filmes anteriores, o que contribui para a sua irregularidade” e completa: “Abolição com os seus 150 minutos de projeção não teve grande aceitação entre o público. Nem mesmo entre a população negra. Ficou restrito a um pequeno círculo de intelectuais e ativistas do movimento negro.” Em seu ensaio Esboço para uma História do Negro no Cinema Brasileiro"7 Carvalho ressalta a presença da equipe técnica, formada quase que exclusivamente por negras e negros (com exceção da fotografia experimental de Miguel Rio Branco e da montagem precisa de Severino Dadá), observando que “o que vemos está mediado pelo olhar dessa equipe. Assim, não se trata apenas de contar a história do negro no Brasil, mas de um ponto de vista negro sobre a história.” Em ambos os casos, parece consenso que as eventuais qualidades se concentram no plano simbólico, isto é, fora do filme, seja pelo esforço inicial — a tentativa de problematizar a "Abolição" a partir de um olhar negro —, seja pela representatividade da composição étnica de seus quadros técnicos. A seguir proponho algumas ideias a partir da construção interna do filme, no sentido de afirmá-lo como o corolário de uma trajetória singular no cinema brasileiro.
3. Material e Tratamento
Em uma entrevista dada a Peter Hessli em fevereiro de 1994, o fotógrafo norte-americano Arthur Jafa faz uma distinção muito particular entre material e tratamento. Na ausência da possibilidades de produzir a partir de seu próprio material, a criatividade afrodiaspórica se afirmou através de novos usos, apropriações e modificações profundas dos materiais disponíveis: “muita da nossa criatividade se fundiu em torno da noção de tratamento, isto é, transformando dados materiais de alguma maneira significativa. (…)” Ao contrário da fotografia e da pintura, em que a imagem, enquanto produção material, é o ponto de chegada, a imagem produzida pelo cinema é apenas um ponto de partida. O acesso aos equipamentos e aos materiais capazes de produzir filmes é ainda mais inacessível para as populações negras, de modo que se pode perceber que sua apropriação também se diferencia a partir dos traços mais sutis. O caso mencionado por Jafa é exemplar: John Coltrane deslocando My Favorite Things de seu campo original, para, através de um tratamento particular, criar fissuras e aberturas antes impensáveis. “A criatividade afro-americana foi moldada pelas circunstâncias específicas em que os negros se viram; geralmente não fomos capazes de especificar os materiais que nos foram dados para trabalhar.” O que faz com que “Abolição” se afigure como um caso de extrema excepcionalidade é que, ao contrário de seu primeiro filme, realizado a partir de negativos que sobraram de “Compasso de espera”, do “cinema de arquivo” cubano de Nicolas Landrián e Santiago Álvarez ou do próprio Jafa, é que o filme parece se dirigir nos dois sentidos: na produção e na abordagem, perfazendo um domínio completo de criação e modificação sobre o material e o tratamento expressivo. Material e tratamento produzidos simultaneamente, ao lado da equipe negra, extrapolam a carga simbólica de um domínio, de um controle do modo de produção, e indicam decisões estéticas conscientes.
Para além dessa característica, o cinema em Abolição é “atlântico” pelo seu caráter de cosmicidade. A narrativa linear e a representação panfletária da realidade cedem espaço para um campo de atravessamentos no qual Bulbul articula depoimentos, registros e fotografias. Escapando da linearidade do storytelling e incorporando uma organização de cunho não-linear, Bulbul teve a oportunidade de pensar o filme a partir de outros tratamentos expressivos, organizando-o como uma amplidão desprovida de centralidade, valorizando a oralidade, a planificação em transe, depoimentos dramatizados, a montagem rítmica e a presença, a captação da energia local. Sob esse aspecto, não basta dizer que “Abolição” encerra um olhar negro sobre sua própria história, pois a história para o desterritorializado nunca é um fim, mas um meio, uma estratégia que se lança sempre para o porvir, para a sobrevivência em contexto adverso. Estratégia com qual objetivo? Abrir as condições de possibilidade para a vida no presente. Este me parece ser o sentido mais potente para o termo “ancestralidade”: a capacidade de contar sua própria história investido de força suficiente para saber também desmontá-la e recontá-la, visando a elaboração de uma historicidade singular. Não falamos, portanto, de uma negritude ausente e idealizada, tampouco de um movimento de resistência integrado e coeso, mas que se desfia na equivocidade da presença e dos conflitos. O olhar de um homem negro envolvido por uma cosmicidade negra e não-negra que o envolve, e com a qual ele negocia sua própria existência.
Sob esse aspecto, não basta dizer que “Abolição” encerra um olhar negro sobre sua própria história, pois a história para o desterritorializado nunca é um fim, mas um meio, uma estratégia que se lança sempre para o porvir, para a sobrevivência em contexto adverso. Estratégia com qual objetivo? Abrir as condições de possibilidade para a vida no presente. Este me parece ser o sentido mais potente para o termo “ancestralidade”: a capacidade de contar sua própria história investido de força suficiente para saber também desmontá-la e recontá-la, visando a elaboração de uma historicidade singular.
4. “Como teria sido o dia 14 de maio de 1888?”
Os minutos iniciais do filme são cruciais para compreender o seu movimento e desenvolvimento. A cartela contendo a posição temporal manifesta a marca da irreverência crítica: 12 de maio, o dia anterior à assinatura da Lei Áurea. Mais à frente, outra cartela anuncia: 14 de maio de 1888. Em texto sobre o filme, Bulbul teria perguntado: “como teria sido o dia 14 de maio de 1888?” O jogo com as datas desloca o eixo histórico da Abolição enquanto grande evento, favorecendo a percepção das causas e consequências para o presente brutal e incompreensível que se encontra fora do compasso da história. A cada imagem que é mostrada nos primeiros minutos de filme, ouvimos o estalar do obturador soando como se fosse um chicote. Nas vozes de Clementina de Jesus, Tia Doca e Geraldo filme, inicia-se o Canto I do álbum O Canto dos Escravos (1982), que integra o repertório de canções de trabalho recolhidas pelo filólogo Aires da Mata Machado Filho no fim dos anos 20 do século passado, em São João da Chapada, município de Diamantina, Minas Gerais. O obturador-chicote marca a passagem de uma imagem a outra, entre pinturas e fotografias que retratam as mazelas da escravidão, ora na cabeça do ritmo, ora de maneira sincopada. Há evidentemente uma ambiguidade entre o sentido crítico e a abertura para uma perspectiva paródica que permite criar um paralelo entre o obturador e o chicote, sinalizando que estamos diante de uma abertura improvável para pensar o problema racial no Brasil.
Finalmente, uma terceira cartela indica: dia 13 de maio. “Dia de branco”, uma expressão racista que se costumava utilizar no Brasil para dizer que é dia de trabalhar. A cidade está sob uma forte tempestade, enquanto a equipe chega ao Paço Imperial no Rio de Janeiro, local da filmagem. O iluminador, um jovem negro, prepara a luz. Os bastidores são iluminados, mas o corte não nos leva para algum depoimento ou justificativa. Somos remetidos diretamente para as imagens da Congada8 entrando na igreja com seus estandartes. Esse caráter às vezes elípticos, às vezes atravessado por associações livres ou desprovido de encadeamento explicativo, atravessará todo o filme. As variações no ritmo da montagem e da iluminação interna dos planos denota uma forma muito livre de pensar o momento do registro e sua montagem. Todos os depoimentos e falas sugerem uma encenação dramática, ao contrário de uma das duas encenações do filme, a assinatura da Lei Áurea. Pela aparência arqui-falsa, esta sequência nos remete a percepção de que o decreto de libertação dos escravos fora justamente uma farsa. A entonação propositalmente apalermada de Camila Amado, atriz que representa a Princesa Isabel, contrasta com a sequência seguinte, um longo registro de um desfile de carnaval no Sambódromo,9 alternando com trechos hilários da princesa em delírio na sacada do palácio. Entre a representação da Princesa que acreditava em seu papel histórico determinante e, cem anos depois, a expressão complexa do carnaval na avenida, vigora um sentimento inominável entre a beleza, o mal estar e a ironia. No carnaval carioca, os corpos negros tocam, dançam, cantam e trabalham empurrando os carros alegóricos.10
The sequence of dedications which come soon after is peculiar: “to the master Glauber Rocha”, to Leon Hirszman and "to black filmmaker Hermínio de Oliveira", followed by a mention of the Movimento Negro Unificado (Unified Black Movement) over the images of carnavalgoers leaving the Sambódromo and heading to the Central do Brasil station. This station is where people usually take the train to the Zona Norte and Zona Oeste neighborhoods, as well as to the municipalities in Baixada Fluminense. At this moment in the film, we spot the great samba composer Catoni among the passerbys. We leave the harmonious sounds and dancing bodies of the Carnaval for the Central do Brasil station, and then move into the trains that take the black carnivalgoers to their homes in the Rio suburbs. Cut to a puppet theater show for children which deals directly with racism. Then, shots of the crowded Rio-Niterói ferry feature a synthesizer-heavy soundtrack reminiscent of Krautrock. Black construction workers and shoeshiners, a dog taking a dump, a woman at work, as we go into her house. A baby, a birth certificate dated 1868, and, then we stumble upon an impressive interview with Mr. Manoel, a former slave who, at 120 years of age, gives the following statement: “today we live in bitterness, we didn’t get paid but we had satisfaction. We were satisfied with the food, everyone was satisfied”.
A sequência das dedicatórias são curiosas: “ao mestre Glauber Rocha”, a Leon Hirszman e "ao cineasta negro Hermínio de Oliveira". Em seguida, uma menção ao Movimento Negro Unificado (MNU) por sobre as imagens de foliões saindo do Sambódromo para a Central do Brasil, local onde a população costuma pegar o trem para acessar tanto os bairros da Zona Norte e Oeste do Rio de Janeiro, como também os municípios da Baixada Fluminense — neste momento, é possível perceber o grande sambista carioca Catoni entre os transeuntes. Dos sons harmoniosos e corpos dançantes investidos na batucada carnavalesca, rumamos para a Central, para dentro dos trens que levam os foliões negros e negras para suas casas no subúrbio carioca. Corta para um Teatro de bonecos para crianças, que falam abertamente sobre racismo. As cenas da Barca Rio-Niterói lotada são embaladas por uma trilha sonora sintetizadores à moda do Krautrock. Operários e engraxates negros, um cachorro caga, uma mulher trabalha, entramos pela sua casa. Um bebê, uma certidão de nascimento datada de 1868 e, de repente, topamos com a impressionante entrevista de Seu Manoel, ex-escravo que, do alto de seus 120 anos, concedeu o depoimento a seguir:11 "Hoje estamos na amargura, não ganhávamos dinheiro mas tínhamos satisfação. A comida era outra e todos ficavam satisfeitos."
O tom de ironia sutil se instala quando ocorre o corte entre o final do depoimento de João de Orleans e Bragança, neto da Princesa Isabel, e a equipe de técnicos negros e negras que saem às pressas do Paço Imperial com os equipamentos nas mãos. Na sequência, Maria Beatriz do Nascimento desfaz as certezas oficiais da Família Real, mostrando como o pacto político que resultou na Abolição da Escravatura acabou por precarizar a vida da população negra, pois na passagem da Monarquia para a República, “os negros deixaram de obedecer aos senhores e passaram a ser controlados pelo Estado”. Joel Rufino sentado no meio-fio, na idílica Pedra do Sal, reduto inaugural do samba urbano carioca. Bulbul e seu montador, Severino Dadá, operam uma montagem eisensteiniana, alternando o depoimento agudo de Rufino com imagens das ondas do mar batendo nas pedras. O tratamento sonoro parece deixar o som da cidade e da trilha sonora vazar, partilhando espaço sonoro com o depoimento. Joel Rufino apresenta Tia Carmem como baluarte da Praça Onze, localizada no Rio de Janeiro, local que no início do século passado era conhecido como "Pequena África". Irrompe o depoimento da escritora Thereza Santos afirmando que, após a Abolição, a vida da mulher negra piorou.
O filme retoma a questão da expressão social do samba urbano a partir do registro de uma roda de sambistas oriundos de Escolas de Samba como Estácio, Mangueira, Portela, entre outras. Distancia-se do Cinema Novo porque faz outras perguntas. Relaciona-se com a História do Brasil de uma maneira paródica em relação aos ditames sociológicos, aproximando-se, por exemplo, de um cineasta como Frederick Wiseman, no sentido de que usa o cinema para apreender a realidade captando não somente as informações objetivas, como também seus aspectos fragmentários e provisórios. Esses deslocamentos aparentemente aleatórios, acentuam a polifonia e abrem espaço para que Bulbul mantenha uma relação vazada e ambígua, ora ressaltando sua presença, ora partilhando espaço com o espectador, a equipe e os personagens. Não se trata somente do "olhar negro" ou simplesmente do olhar de Bulbul; ele capta com o filme uma realidade que extrapola a subjetividade, organizando por campos de ação: campo de modulações, de atravessamentos, de fragmentos, de corte-e-ritmo e campo simbólico, relativo aos cartazes e às palavras que por vezes são mostradas na tela.
5. O Transe Atlântico
Em Em Abolição, Bulbul institui campos que modulam através e a partir demodificações sutis de temática, signos e elementos. Sobre esse aspecto, o casodo samba e das várias formas sob as quais se apresenta parece exemplar. Há oscampos em modo de travessia, marcado por atravessamentos: cruzamentos daquestão central com outras “presenças”, fragmentos e detalhes que irrompem edesestabilizam: a presença indígena, a população nordestina,12 e até mesmo de população branca, apontando para uma tridimensionalização do olhar negro, isto é, a abertura para uma assimilação cosmológica e social mais aberta do aquela permitida pelas estruturas de poder hegemônico. Há um campo fragmentário, incompleto, costurado por participações fulgurantes. Este campo é marcado por uma utilização muito particular do talking head, plasmada sobre a forma como a câmera contracena com o depoente: a presença teatralmente desanimada de Benedita da Silva; Lélia Gonzalez falando, gesticulando, iluminada pelo sol. O Bispo Dom Helder analisando criticamente as imagens embranquecidas das praias cariocas com Jards Macalé ao fundo, cantando Rio sem tom, canção que compôs criticando o fato de Tom Jobim ter vendido uma música para a Coca-Cola13 Talvez por carregar a herança do marxismo ortodoxo, contrário às religiões, é preciso notar que Zózimo concedeu pouquíssimo espaço para as religiões afrobrasileiras, priorizando a estranheza do depoimento de Dom Hélder. Ainda assim, é preciosa a entrevista com Mãe Filhinha, fundadora do Terreiro IIê Axé Itayle,14 em Cachoeira, na Bahia.
Alguns críticos e pesquisadores atribuem ao filme a característica de ser repetitivo. Penso que essa repetição se apresenta como um artifício necessário na construção do filme, organizado pela modulações entrecruzadas de temas e tratamentos. Há um traço de uma repetição que, assim como a ausência de narração, pode ser encarada enquanto decisão estética. E que, como em A Idade da Terra, a repetição opera no sentido do transe, da alucinação. Repetir para alucinar. A repetição propicia o transe Atlântico. O consenso em torno da expressão glauberiana enquanto alegoria pode ser desdobrada em formas muito particulares de exploração da stásis dinâmica, da progressão estática que busca marcar o jogo entre forças antagônicas, indicando que, no caso do racismo brasileiro, tudo se transforma para manter o jogo tal e qual. Como complemento a esse campo, há a palavra escrita, os cartazes, as palavras de ordem, a cartela como forma de retificação disjuntiva do plano.
Alguns críticos e pesquisadores atribuem ao filme a característica de ser repetitivo. Penso que essa repetição se apresenta como um artifício necessário na construção do filme, organizado pela modulações entrecruzadas de temas e tratamentos. Há um traço de uma repetição que, assim como a ausência de narração, pode ser encarada enquanto decisão estética. E que, como em A Idade da Terra, a repetição opera no sentido do transe, da alucinação. Repetir para alucinar. A repetição propicia o transe Atlântico.
Um momento particularmente sombrio é o anti-depoimento do antropólogo Gilberto Freyre, autor do clássico estudo Casa-Grande& Senzala.15 Impossibilitado de falar por motivos de saúde, Freyre foi representado por seu filho, que limitou-se a repetir platitudes do discurso freyre ano acerca da valorização do elemento "afro negro" (em suas palavras). O movimento de câmera saindo da sala lentamente, como que indicando uma retirada da sala, um abandono, reforçada pela iluminação estourada. Outros momentos particularmente interessantes: a presença do político comunista brasileiro Luís Carlos Prestes indica uma motivação pelo inesperado, ao reservar, de saída, espaço para a fala de um líder político branco. O sociólogo e jornalista negro Muniz Sodré anda pelos corredores da Universidade Federal  do Rio de Janeiro — cabe observar o quão estranha é para o Brasil de 1988 a cena de negros frequentando corredores de uma Universidade… Francisco Lucrécio e Correa Leite narram a fundação da Frente Negra16  na década de 30. Há uma menção especial à Revolta da Chibata (1910) através dos depoimentos do historiador Edmar Morel sobre a luta do marinheiro João Cândido e, depois, o depoimento da filha de João Cândido.18 Dois poetas repentistas17 improvisam versos sobre a Abolição na história do Brasil. A viúva do poeta e agitador cultural negro Solano Trindade reclama do apagamento da memória do esposo. Abdias do Nascimento nos fala sobre sua experiência com o Teatro Experimental do Negro.19 Semelhante a Kanye West, que culpa os negros pela escravidão, Agnaldo Timóteo insiste na ideia de que, em primeiro lugar, o próprio negro precisa mudar sua mentalidade. Nei Lopes na escadaria tomando uma cerveja com fundo musical do saxofonista Paulo Moura contrasta com a São Paulo nordestina, espremida entre a miséria, a propaganda e a comercialização da vida. Na sequência, Zózimo expôs imagens da violência do Regime Militar de 1964 sobre os corpos negros. Ao contrário da característica reflexiva que geralmente se atribui ao filme, Abolição não se limita a expressar a visão do autor. Simultaneamente através e ao largo da presença de Bulbul, instaura-se um cinema “alma-coletiva” que, ancorado ao painel difuso de presenças, parece assumir que algo sempre lhe escapa, sempre lhe escapará.
6. A Festa Acabou
O preço que se paga no Brasil por ser negro é imenso. A trajetória de Zózimo Bulbul no cinema brasileiro está conectada a um esforço pessoal por firmar tanto um espaço de produção próprio, como consolidar meios expressivos ligados à ideia de uma cinematografia negra. A generosidade da estética Atlântica de Zózimo Bulbul contrasta às vezes com uma certa tendência coletiva ao enaltecimento das palavras de ordem, dos mandamentos básicos e diretos. Quando o negro foge ao script e às expectativas dos grupos minoritários, da sociedade, e até mesmo de seus brothers and sistas, a caminhada se torna ainda mais pedregosa. Albert Ayler, John Coltrane, Itamar Assumpção que o digam… É longa a lista de negros que não foram compreendidos nem pelo próprio movimento negro, porque não correspondiam àquilo que a comunidade considerava pertinente. Esses negros fora das expectativas são intempestivos. O nome de Bulbul se inscreve nesse rol de artistas e, nesse sentido, Abolição pode ter sido um grande balde de água fria nas expectativas dos que acompanhavam seu trabalho. Para o bem e para o mal, o filme dobra a aposta na experimentação coletiva como forma de sobrevivência, ainda que seu final não seja necessariamente otimista.
Entremeada por imagens do lixo nas ruas e do luxo nas casas de espetáculo, Grande Otelo convoca a "força-tarefa" da negritude brasileira: "ninguém aboliu nada e hoje é ainda pior, pois hoje negros e brancos são escravos." Na sequência, crianças de rua negras impressionam pela clareza de seu discurso político: "Até hoje somos escravos, sem trabalho, sem hospital, sem escola..." Exacerba-se o simbolismo trágico. O crescendo indica que o final se aproxima, justamente quando o boneco mamulengo anuncia: "E assim, senhoras e senhores, acabamos de apresentar a tragicomédia em vários atos, sem nunca ter um final! A Abolição da Escravatura no Brasil. Ou em linguagem vulgar: os negros que vão pra puta que os pariu.” Uma cartela anuncia o fim: "a festa acabou". A câmera mira a Central do Brasil, desce lentamente por trás das grades do Campo de Santana. A última cena é a visão da Central intermediada por barras de ferro, materializando, sob a forma de um movimento de câmera, o aprisionamento mútuo e a dialética rarefeita da opressão.

1. Publicado no Brasil em 1971 como Alma no Exílio.

2. Carvalho, 2005

3. Embrafilme is the main producer of Brazilian films since the company’s conception in 1969 until its implosion in 1990. Embrafilme provided a certain level of infrastructure and helped forge a new public interest in Brazilian cinema despite the fact that the market was dominated by foreign studios. However, Embrafilme’s practices were also met with criticism from filmmakers who made the accusation that they prioritized certain films while delaying the commercial release of others.

4. Rede Globo is Brazil’s largest TV network and the largest media conglomerate in Latin America.

5. Carvalho, 2005

6. Ibid.

7. Draft for a History of Black People in Brazilian Cinema, translated freely, 2005.

8. A popular street procession with song and dance that reenacts the coronation of a king in Congo.

9. A large construction in Rio de Janeiro where the samba school parades take place during Carnaval.

10. Tall vehicles designed in accordance with the theme of that year’s parade.

11. The Republic was installed on November 15th, 1889.

12. People from the Northeast of Brazil are historically subjected to prejudice from the richer regions of Brazil. Especially the South and Southeast.

13. The song was Águas de Março, which featured with new lyrics in many Coca-Cola TV spots during the 1980s.

14. Terreiros are the houses in which the Candomblé religion is practiced.

15. Published in English under the title The Masters and the Slaves.

16. Frente Negra Brasileira, or Brazilian Black Front, was the first black political party in Brazil.

17. The Revolt of the Lash (Revolta da Chibata) was a naval mutiny which took place in Rio de Janeiro in November, 1910. It was a response to the frequent whipping of black sailors by white naval officers. The Revolt was led by João Cândido Felisberto.

18. Repente is a kind of improvised poetry typical of the Northeast.

19. Teatro Experimental do Negro was a theater company founded in 1944 and ended in 1961.
REFERENCES

CARVALHO, Noel dos Santos. “Esboço para uma história do negro no cinema Brasileiro”. In: De, Jeferson. Dogma feijoada, o cinema negro brasileiro. São Paulo: Imprensa Oficial, 2005.

_____. O Produtor e Cineasta Zózimo Bulbul — O Inventor do Cinema Negro Brasileiro. Revista Crioula (USP), v. 12, p. 1-21, 2012.

DAVID, Marcell Carrasco. Abolição: escavações e memórias sobre o Cinema Negro de Zózimo Bulbul. Dissertação de Mestrado, PUC-Rio, 2020.

JAFA, Arthur. “The Notion of Treatment: Black Aesthetics and Film”. In Pearl Bowser, Jane Gaines and Charles Musser (eds.): Oscar Micheaux and His Circle, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001, pp. 11-17.