by  Luís Rocha Melo
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.

Torture and Extermination: State Violence in Genre Films from the Years of the Military Dictatorship in Brazil

Torture and Extermination: State Violence in Genre Films from the Years of the Military Dictatorship in Brazil

by Michel Schettert
by  Luís Rocha Melo
Directed  By João Pedro Faro
Directed  By João Pedro Faro
Directed  By João Pedro Faro
Translated by Matheus Pestana
by  Marcia Derraik
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.
Paraíba, Vida e Morte de um Bandido (Lima, 1966) stars Jece Valadão as a ruthless criminal, part of a long string of similar roles throughout his career. Valadão also produced the film via his company Magnus Filmes, associated with producer Herbert Richers and director Victor Lima, both famous for their work in popular musical comedies known as chanchadas. Despite the background of Richers and Lima, Paraíba is an action-packed thriller that stands in direct contrast with the social analyses of contemporary Cinema Novo crime films. Paraíba follows the titular character as he remembers his criminal deeds while hiding in a steeple from the police. It features Jardel Filho, Milton Gonçalves and Darlene Glória.
In Os Raptores (Teixeira, 1969), a well-trained group of kidnappers are wreaking havoc on Rio de Janeiro’s bourgeoisie with a flawless ransom scheme. Dutifully following their trail, a Rio de Janeiro’s police inspector is on a mission to uncover who is behind the series of kidnappings. This slow-burning tale of greed and betrayal features a tour de force performance from actor/director Aurélio Teixeira and cements the filmmaker as one of the elite filmmaking talents of the 60s Brazilian genre scene.
Sérgio Ricardo or Joāo Lutfi? The pluralities of this single-multifaceted artist are explored in filmmaker Marcia Derraik’s film-interview Sérgio Ricardo aka João Lutfi. With a gorgeous Rio de Janeiro skyline behind him, Sérgio Ricardo takes the viewer through his long and industrious career as a filmmaker and a musician. Ricardo gives new insights into his early television career, his Bossa Nova music, the impact that the dictatorship and censorship had on his career, his work with Glauber Rocha and Nelson Pereira dos Santos, and much more.
The 2014 film Pé sem Chão marked Sérgio Ricardo's return to filmmaking after nearly forty years. Despite the long hiatus, Ricardo seems as comfortable as ever picking back up the (now digital) camera with a new creative team behind him. In Pé sem Chão, Ricardo continues his career-long exploration of Brazil's lower classes, telling the story of a woman from Vidigal (one of Rio de Janeiro's favela neighborhoods), who is being evicted from her home by a unsympathetic landlord, thus leaving her and her disabled son with no where to go.
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.
Bandeira de Retalhos is director Sérgio Ricardo's final film prior to his passing in 2020. The film pairs together veteran actors such as Babu Santana and Antônio Pitanga with newcomers such as Kizi Vaz to tell the real-life story of the efforts of a corrupt Rio de Janeiro mayor to evict the entire favela community of Vidigal with the help of police forces.
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.
With Cripta II, João Pedro Faro continues to translate the historiographic displacement of Brazilian pornographic cinema, reflected in its almost ubiquitous low-resolution state, into his own aesthetic form - that is, embracing the pixels, or even looking beyond them to see what kind of beauty may lie there. Cripta II sees João beginning to explore certain iconographic elements that interest him in these films, such as the prevalence of boats, young teenagers, and water. João's ability to create powerful images from these symbols is almost overwhelming, and here he introduces a sonic soundscape that heightens the garden of saturated pixels morphing and dancing on the screen. But there is clearly an underlying ideological significance behind the symbology we see in Cripta II: namely, reemergence and coming-into-being. Cripta II reveals the means by which Brazilian pornographic cinema stills lives - maybe as fodder for aesthetic experimentation, but also, perhaps, one day taking a larger role in our understanding of Brazilian film historiography through means such as restoration.

In 1984 almost 60% of the Brazilian films released in theaters were pornographic films. From 1984 to 1989, hardcore pornographic films remained a huge market. Therefore, it is impossible to completely understand the history of Brazilian Cinema without having access to these films. There was a whole demographic who weren’t specifically interested in other genres of Brazilian cinema, but were rather interested in going to the theater to see pornos. While these films were very popular in the cinemas, they were not as popular among critics and academics, who overlooked their many aesthetic achievements and ideological rebelliousness. But these films were later rediscovered by a new generation of Brazilian cinephiles on the TV station Canal Brasil.

Unfortunately, today, few copies of these Brazilian pornographic films exist on film anymore. Many Brazilian porn producers telecined their films to VHS and then threw out the negatives. Therefore, some VHS copies of these films have become preservation elements, and the titles are stuck in a pixelated existence until they one day fade away altogether. 

Filmmaker João Pedro Faro’s new video-piece Cripta I plunges into that pixelated existence. Faro, like many Brazilian cinephiles, critics, and academics today, is an unabashed fan of Brazilian erotic and pornographic films. “People generally avoid these images. I feel attracted to them,” claims the voiceover in the film. In Cripta I, Faro celebrates his own fascination with Brazilian 80s erotic and pornographic films, recognizing that they have far more to offer to the viewer than the cinema scholars of their time would care to admit. 

With Cripta I, Faro brings together a montage of faces and glances from 80s Brazilian erotic and pornographic films. He highlights moments of rupture, when the female Brazilian porn actors look into the cameras and provide, through a single glance, privileged cinephilic moments rooted in lust, beauty, longing, sexual liberation, wander, and humor. Yet there is a pixelated and colorized veil over these faces in Cripta I. The video begins in clarity, revealing a shot of an innocent woman’s face, but then suddenly the images become distorted and degraded. Thus, in only four-minutes, Faro calls attention to both substance and state. He looks both internally and historically to recognize the eventual death of the cinematic genre he loves - “I adore death”.

The final installment in João Pedro Faro's Cripta trilogy establishes the filmmaker as one of the most exciting figures working in the contemporary Brazilian experimental film scene. Cripta III is João working in his most free-form. Here, the viewer experiences an assault of shocking images from Brazilian porn films, an array of experimental music, and strange fetishistic scenes focused on horses. The end result is a nearly overwhelming experience as an inexplicable but searing vision of Brazilian porn historiography plays itself out on screen. The prevalence of horses as a symbol of sexual prowess in so many Brazilian porn films feels almost too strange to be true, but João, who is a veteran viewer of these works, embraces this strangeness and uses it to his advantage.

Cripta III is João Pedro Faro's swan song to Brazilian cinematic porn. This third installment in the Cripta trilogy caps off one of the most exciting series of films to stimulate the way we approach and think about conventional Brazilian film historiography in recent memory.


A última parte da trilogia Cripta de João Pedro Faro estabelece o cineasta como uma das figuras mais empolgantes da cena cinematográfica experimental brasileira contemporânea. O Cripta III é João trabalhando em sua forma mais livre. Aqui, o espectador experimenta um assalto de imagens chocantes de filmes pornôs brasileiros, uma variedade de música experimental e estranhas cenas fetichistas focadas em cavalos. O resultado final é uma experiência quase esmagadora, já que uma visão inexplicável, mas assustadora, da historiografia pornográfica brasileira se apresenta na tela. A prevalência dos cavalos como um símbolo de proeza sexual em tantos filmes pornôs brasileiros parece quase estranha demais para ser verdade, mas João, que é um espectador veterano destas obras, abraça esta estranheza e a usa em seu proveito.

Cripta III é a canção do cisne de João Pedro Faro para a pornografia cinematográfica brasileira. Esta terceira parte da trilogia da Cripta encerra uma das séries mais emocionantes de filmes para estimular a forma como nos aproximamos e pensamos sobre a historiografia convencional do cinema brasileiro na memória recente.


Em 1984, quase 60% dos filmes brasileiros lançados nos cinemas eram pornográficos. De 1984 a 1989, os filmes de sexo explícito se mantiveram um enorme filão. Portanto, é impossível entender completamente a história do cinema brasileiro sem ter acesso a estes filmes. Havia uma parcela da população que não tinha interesse específico por outros gêneros do cinema brasileiro, mas sim em ir ao cinema para ver filmes pornográficos. Embora estes filmes fizessem sucesso nos cinemas, não eram tão populares entre os críticos e acadêmicos, que ignoravam suas muitas conquistas estéticas e rebeldia ideológica. Mas estes filmes foram posteriormente redescobertos por uma nova geração de cinéfilos brasileiros no Canal Brasil.

Infelizmente, hoje em dia, poucas cópias destes filmes pornográficos brasileiros existem em película. Muitos produtores brasileiros de pornografia telecinaram seus filmes para a VHS e jogaram fora os negativos. Portanto, as cópias VHS de muitos destes filmes se tornaram elementos de preservação, e os títulos estão confinados numa existência pixelada, até que um dia se desvanecem completamente.

O novo vídeo-ensaio Cripta I, do cineasta João Pedro Faro, mergulha nessa existência pixelada. Faro, como muitos cinéfilos, críticos e acadêmicos brasileiros de hoje, é um fã incondicional dos filmes eróticos e pornográficos brasileiros. "As pessoas geralmente evitam estas imagens. Eu me sinto atraído por elas", afirma a locução no filme. Em Cripta I, Faro celebra seu próprio fascínio por filmes eróticos e pornográficos brasileiros dos anos 80, reconhecendo que eles têm muito mais a oferecer ao espectador do que os estudiosos do cinema de sua época gostariam de admitir.

Com Cripta I, Faro reúne rostos e olhares dos filmes eróticos e pornográficos brasileiros dos anos 80. Ele destaca momentos de ruptura, quando as atrizes pornográficas brasileiras olham para as câmeras e proporcionam, através de um único olhar, momentos cinéfilos privilegiados enraizados na luxúria, beleza, desejo, libertação sexual, divagação e humor. No entanto, há um véu pixelizado e colorido sobre estes rostos em Cripta I. O vídeo começa com clareza, revelando o plano do rosto de uma mulher inocente, mas de repente as imagens ficam distorcidas e degradadas. Assim, em apenas quatro minutos, Faro chama a atenção tanto para a substância quanto para o estado da imagem. Ele olha tanto interna como historicamente para reconhecer a eventual morte do gênero cinematográfico que ele ama - "Eu adoro a morte".


Com Cripta II, João Pedro Faro continua a traduzir o deslocamento historiográfico do cinema pornográfico Brasileiro, refletido em seu estado quase ubíquo de baixa resolução, em sua própria forma estética - ou seja, abraçando os pixels, ou mesmo olhando para além deles para ver que tipo de beleza pode estar ali. Cripta II vê João começar a explorar certos elementos iconográficos que lhe interessam nestes filmes, como a prevalência de barcos, jovens adolescentes e água. A capacidade de João de criar imagens poderosas a partir destes símbolos é quase esmagadora, e aqui ele introduz uma paisagem sonora sônica que eleva o jardim de pixels saturados morphing e dançando na tela. Mas há claramente um significado ideológico por trás da simbologia que vemos em Cripta II: ou seja, reemergência e vir ao ser. Cripta II revela os meios pelos quais o cinema pornográfico brasileiro ainda vive - talvez como forragem para a experimentação estética, mas também, talvez, um dia, assumindo um papel maior em nossa compreensão da historiografia cinematográfica brasileira através de meios como a restauração.

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.
Directed by Ludovico Persici
Ludovico Persici’s Cenas de Família (Family Scenes) was made over the span of three years in the Brazilian state of Espírito Santo. It was given the title Cenas de Família by those who restored the film in the mid-2000s. Persici is one of the pioneers of cinema in Brazil, inventing his own film camera machine with the help of rotating clock blueprints. In Cenas de Família, the filmmaker tours around the state of Espírito Santo by car and train, overjoyed with the possibilities and technology of his new filmmaking device. Persici records both playful personal moments and everyday happenings throughout the municipality of Castelo. Today, Cenas de Família, which is the only surviving film of Persici, is considered to be one of the most important historical documents of early Brazilian cinema. 

*Special thanks to Arquivo Público do Estado do Espírito Santo (APEES) for providing access to this film.
Cenas de Família de Ludovico Persici, foi realizado ao longo de três anos no estado brasileiro do Espírito Santo. O título de Cenas de Família foi atribuído por aqueles que restauraram o filme em meados dos anos 2000. Persici foi um dos pioneiros realizadores de cinema no Brasil, tendo inventado a sua própria câmera com a ajuda de plantas de relógios rotativos. Em Cenas de Família, o cineasta percorre o estado do Espírito Santo de carro e de trem, entusiasmado com as possibilidades e tecnologia da sua própria câmera. Persici registra tanto os momentos pessoais lúdicos, quanto os acontecimentos do dia-a-dia em todo o município de Castelo. Hoje, Cenas de Família, o único filme sobrevivente de Persici, é considerado um dos mais importantes documentos históricos dos primórdios do cinema brasileiro.

*Agradecimento especial ao Arquivo Público do Estado do Espírito Santo (APEES) por fornecer acesso a este filme.
Directed by Paulo Torre
Paulo Torre’s 1967 short film Kaput is one of the most revolutionary Brazilian films of all time. With the beginning of the Military Dictatorship in 1964, numerous filmmakers resorted to metaphor as a means of criticizing the political situation under which they were living. However, there were a select group of filmmakers that attempted to defy film censors and make films that explicitly dealt with the acts of oppression that were taking place around them. Kaput is one of such films.

Kaput captures the counterculture spirit of 1960s Espírito Santo youth, portraying drugs, love, dancing, and rock n’ roll. Yet such elements seem to fall into the background as the film’s main character discovers his passion for political activism and literature. After studying the writings of Fidel Castro, the main character pens his own piece critiquing the Suplicy law and the war in Vietnam. When his text is published in a school newspaper, the military police descend upon him.

Brazilian filmmakers of the 60s were putting their lives on the line when criticizing the military government in their work. A film such as Kaput, which is critical in the most explicit of terms, deserves to be recognized for its extraordinary bravery. Like the film’s main character, Paulo Torre surely recognized the need to incite activists against the military at that moment in time. With Kaput, he confronted the extraordinary risks of producing an revolutionary work of art, and in doing so, created what remains today an extraordinary call-to-action in the face of oppressive forces.
O curta-metragem Kaput de Paulo Torre, de 1967, é um dos filmes brasileiros mais revolucionários de todos os tempos. Com o início da Ditadura Militar em 1964, numerosos cineastas recorreram à metáfora como forma de criticar a situação política sob a qual estavam vivendo. No entanto, havia um grupo seleto de cineastas que tentavam desafiar a censura cinematográfica e realizar filmes que tratavam explicitamente dos atos de opressão que estavam ocorrendo ao seu redor. Kaput é um desses filmes.

Kaput captura o espírito de contracultura da juventude capixaba dos anos 60, retratando as drogas, o amor, a dança e o rock n' roll.Todavia, tais elementos parecem cair em background à medida que o personagem principal do filme descobre a sua paixão pelo militância política e literatura. Depois de estudar os escritos de Fidel Castro, o protagonista escreve a sua própria obra criticando a lei Suplicy e a guerra no Vietnã. Quando seu texto é publicado em um jornal escolar, a polícia militar impõe-se a ele.

Os cineastas brasileiros dos anos 60 estavam colocando suas vidas em risco ao criticar o governo militar em seu trabalho. Um filme como Kaput, que é crítico nos termos mais explícitos, merece ser reconhecido por sua extraordinária bravura. Tal como o personagem principal do filme, Paulo Torre certamente reconheceu a necessidade de incitar os ativistas contra os militares naquele momento. Com Kaput, ele enfrentou os riscos extraordinários de produzir uma obra de arte revolucionária, e ao fazê-lo, produziu o que permanece hoje uma extraordinária chamada à ação diante de forças opressivas. 

Directed by Ramon Alvarado
Cirurgia do Coração no Espírito Santo is one of the key films of the Espírito Santo Amateur Cinema Cycle. The print of this film was recently discovered by Vitor Graize, the researcher of the Acervo Capixaba project of Pique-Bandeira Filmes. Invited by his brother, physician Luis Alvarado, filmmaker Ramon Alavardo records two unpublished surgeries carried out at the Hospital das Clínicas (Clinical Hospital), in Vitória. With a duration of five minutes, color cinematography, and montage by the filmmaker himself, this production showcases the eye of a director of photography in training, Alvarado's interest in technological advances, and the progress of science in the state of Espírito Santo.
Cirurgia do Coração no Espírito Santo é um dos principais filmes do Ciclo de Cinema Amador do Espírito Santo. A cópia deste filme foi recentemente descoberta por Vitor Graize, o pesquisador do projeto Acervo Capixaba da Pique-Bandeira Filmes. A convite de seu irmão, o médico Luis Alvarado, o cineasta Ramon Alvarado registra duas cirurgias inéditas realizadas no Hospital das Clínicas, em Vitória. Com cinco minutos de duração, filmado em cores e editado pelo próprio cineasta, essa produção mostra o olhar de um diretor de fotografia em treinamento e o interesse de Alvarado pelos avanços tecnológicos e o progresso da ciência.
Directed by Luiz Tadeu Teixeira
Directed by Luiz Tadeu Teixeira and shot by Paulo Torre (the director of Kaput), Ponto e Vírgula is a tension-filled experimental film that gives over the anxiety and mental instability of those living in post AI-5 Brazil. Closed doors, long light-filled hallways (reminiscent of mental institutions), squashed bugs, and a self-crucifying Jesus figure make up the dizzying panorama of images in this film. As a six minute snapshot of the decaying mental state of a society without basic inherent freedoms, Ponto e Vírgula is an extremely effective and powerful work. The film is an outcry from artists undergoing political and personal crises, unable to express their feelings with words, but only screams. 
Dirigido por Luiz Tadeu Teixeira e filmado por Paulo Torre (diretor de Kaput), Ponto e Vírgula é um filme experimental cheio de tensão que cede a ansiedade e a instabilidade mental dos que vivem no Brasil pós AI-5. Portas fechadas, longos corredores cheios de luz (lembrando instituições mentais), insetos esmagados e uma figura de Jesus, compõem o panorama vertiginoso de imagens que podem ser encontradas no filme. Como um retrato de seis minutos da decadente saúde mental de uma sociedade sem as liberdades básicas inerentes, Ponto e Vírgula é um trabalho extremamente eficaz e poderoso. O filme parece um protesto de artistas em crise política e pessoal, incapazes de expressar os seus sentimentos com palavras, mas apenas gritos.
Directed by Orlando Bomfim Netto
Translated by Matheus Pestana
and Gustavo Menezes
In Tutti Tutti Buona Gente, Propriamente Buona, legendary filmmaker Orlando Bomfim Netto employs archival imagery to tell the story of the immigrants from Italy who long ago came to the Capixaba state and settled there. The film then jumps ahead to its present moment to portray the diversity of the vibrant Italian-Brazilian community of Espírito Santo. InTutti Tutti Buona Gente, Propriamente Buona Bomfim travels throughout the municipality of Santa Teresa, the mountain region of Espírito Santo where Italian immigrants came to make a new life for themselves. During these travels, Bomfim reveals gorgeous Capixaba landscapes and important traditions of  Italian-Brazilian communities.
Em Tutti Tutti Buona Gente, Propriamente Buona, o lendário cineasta Orlando Bomfim Netto utiliza imagens de arquivo como forma de dar a conhecer a história dos imigrantes italianos que há muito tempo vieram para o estado do Espírito Santo e ali se estabeleceram. Em Tutti Tutti Buona Gente, Propriamente Buona Bomfim viaja pelo município de Santa Teresa, a região serrana do Espírito Santo, onde imigrantes italianos vieram para fazer uma nova vida por si próprios. Durante essas viagens, Bomfim revela lindas paisagens capixabas e importantes tradições das comunidades ítalo-brasileiras.
Directed by Orlando Bomfim Netto
Translated by Matheus Pestana
For hundreds of years, Afro-Brazilians from northern Espírito Santo have celebrated Ticumbi, a celebration composed of revolutionary songs and dances. In Canto Para A Liberdade - A Festo do Ticumbi , Orlando Bomfim Netto captures  moments from this annual festival that has been taking place in Conceição da Barra, a municipality in the north of Espírito Santo, for hundreds of years. Bomfim records the local ceremonial music and dancing, and presents an historical overview of the Ticumbi festival and the people who participate in it.
Durante centenas de anos, a população afro-brasileira da região norte do Espírito Santo tem celebrado o Ticumbi, uma comemoração composta por canções e danças revolucionárias. Em Canto Para A Liberdade - A Festa do Ticumbi , Orlando Bomfim Netto capta momentos deste festival anual que ocorre em Conceição da Barra, município do norte do Espírito Santo, há centenas de anos. Bomfim registra a música e a dança cerimonial local, apresentando um panorama histórico do Ticumbi e das pessoas que nele participam.
Directed by Luiza Lubiana
Luiza Lubiana’s A Lenda de Proitner is a magical-realist 21 minute short film with overtones of David Lynch and Peter Weir. The film follows a little boy who has been imprisoned in a cabin by an unstable couple in an undisclosed region of Espírito Santo. With a score by the legendary Brazilian composer Jaceguay Lins (who edited the film too), A Lenda de Proitner is a surrealist tale that demands repeat viewings and is open to multiple interpretations.
A Lenda de Proitner, de Luiza Lubiana, é um curta-metragem mágico-realista de 21 minutos com tons de David Lynch e Peter Weir. O filme segue um rapazinho que foi preso em uma cabana por um casal instável, numa região não revelada do Espírito Santo. Com a partitura do lendário compositor brasileiro Jaceguay Lins (que também editou o filme), A Lenda de Proitner é um conto surrealista que exige repetições de olhares e está aberto a múltiplas interpretações.
Directed by Diego Zon
Premiering in the 2016 shorts section of the Berlin Film Festival, Das águas que passam (Running Waters) portrays the daily life of Zé de Sabino, a fisherman who works and lives in the breathtaking village of Regência, Espírito Santo (located near the Rio Doce, which suffered the greatest environmental tragedy in Brazil's history in 2015). Under cloud-filled skies, the wide-angle lensed camera captures Zé on his small boat as he fishes for the Robalo, that regions most prized fish. Zé seems to be completely integrated with the vast and awe-inspiring nature around him, whether on land or sea. Das águas que passam is sensorial cinema, director Diego Zon letting nature play its own role as a character in his film.
Estreando na seção de curtas de 2016 do Festival de Berlim, Das Águas Que Passam retrata a vida cotidiana de Zé de Sabino, um pescador que trabalha e vive na deslumbrante vila de Regência, Espírito Santo (localizada perto do Rio Doce, que em 2015 foi palco de uma das maiores tragédias ambientais da história do Brasil). Sob os céus cheios de nuvens, a câmera com lente grande angular captura Zé em seu pequeno barco à pesca do Robalo, o peixe mais apreciado daquela região. Zé parece estar completamente integrado com a vasta e imponente natureza que o cerca, seja em terra ou no mar. Das Águas Que Passam é um filme sensorial. O diretor Diego Zon, em seu filme, permite que a natureza desempenhe o seu próprio papel como personagem.
Directed by Vitor Graize
Ramon Alvarado is one of the most important figures of the 60s Amateur Cinema Cycle in Espírito Santo. Not only was Alvarado a prolific director of short films throughout his life, but he was also involved as the director of photography on many other important Espírito Santo film productions. In this career-spanning interview, Alvarado takes the viewer on a journey through his decades working in the Brazilian film industry. The filmmaker highlights the cultural explosion that took place in Espírito Santo in the 60s and the ways in which filmmaking was a key part of that artistic scene. Director and editor Vitor Graize brings forth archival images to add deeper layers of meaning to Alvarado’s recollections. 
Ramon Alvarado é uma das figuras mais importantes do Ciclo de Cinema Amador dos anos 60 no Espírito Santo. Alvarado não só foi um prolífico diretor de curtas-metragens ao longo de sua vida, como também esteve envolvido como diretor de fotografia em muitas outras produções cinematográficas importantes do Espírito Santo. Nesta entrevista, Alvarado leva o espectador numa viagem através de suas décadas de trabalho na indústria cinematográfica brasileira. O cineasta destaca a explosão cultural ocorrida no Espírito Santo nos anos 60 e as formas como a produção cinematográfica foi uma parte fundamental dessa cena artística. O diretor e editor Vitor Graize traz imagens de arquivo para investigar a fundo as lembranças de Alvarado.
Directed by NENNA
opera_K is a video-artwork by internationally renowned Brazilian multimedia artist NENNA. NENNA, who was born in Espírito Santo, was very involved with the burgeoning art and filmmaking scene, becoming good friends with figures such as Paulo Torre, Ramon Alvardo, Luiz Tadeu Teixeira, and others. NENNA, in fact, was behind saving Paulo Torre’s 1967 film Kaput, by preserving the only remaining VHS copy of the film. With opera_K, NENNA returns to Kaput, adding numerous pop-culture layers to the film, and expanding its underlying themes with startling cosmopolitan imagery.
opera_K é uma obra de vídeo-arte da artista multimídia brasileira de renome internacional NENNA.  NENNA, que nasceu no Espírito Santo, esteve muito envolvida com o florescimento da arte e do cinema, tornando-se grande amiga de figuras como Paulo Torre, Ramon Alvarado, Luiz Tadeu Teixeira, entre outros. NENNA, de fato, esteve por trás do resgate do filme Kaput de Paulo Torre, de 1967, ao preservar a única cópia VHS restante. Com opera_K, NENNA retorna a Kaput, acrescentando numerosas camadas de cultura pop ao filme e expandindo seus temas subjacentes com imagens cosmopolitas estonteantes.
Directed by Virgínia Jorge
Three stories unfold simultaneously in a bar on carnival day . The stories complement each other and merge in a lyrical and humorous back and forth that seeks to create a reflection on the concept of truth and our search for explanations of everyday phenomena, which we are nevertheless far from fully understanding, such as the invention of the wheel, or the way of life of other cultures.
Três histórias, que se desenrolam "simultaneamente" em um bar num dia de carnaval, se complementam e se fundem num vai e vem lírico e bem-humorado, que procura tecer uma reflexão sobre o conceito de verdade e nossa busca pelas explicações de fenômenos cotidianos, que não obstante estamos longe de compreender plenamente, como a invenção da roda, ou o modo de vida de outras culturas.  
Directed by Maurice Capovila
Maurice Capovilla was able to lay claim to the (trans-)national 1960s/1970s trend of allegorical underground film with this, his second feature. Utilizing the already iconic visage of Jose Mojica Marins — in a rare appearance removed from the Zé de Caixão persona —Capovilla extends this tale of a fakir whose ability to starve himself begins to draw both the religious zeal and general attention of Brazil’s population to a statement on national media consumption and cultural colonialism . Following the critique begun with Bebel, Garota Propaganda, Capovila corrals elements of northeastern folklore, rural landscape, and surrealistic camera movement to deliver a film whose complexity both makes itself known and surprises the discerning viewer. Compared to the work of some of his compatriots, O Profeta da Fome got a better chance at international appraisal than other works of what we refer to as Cinema Marginal, with its entrance into the 20th Berlin Film Festival (where it was nominated for the Golden Bear), but we find that Maurice Capovilla’s legacy is still underserved, something we hope to provide a small corrective to with this showing.
Maurice Capovilla se incluiu na tendência (trans-)nacional dos anos 1960/1970 do filme underground alegórico com seu segundo longa-metragem. Utilizando a já icônica imagem de José Mojica Marins - numa rara aparição em que não interpretava Zé de Caixão - Capovila conta a história de um faquir cuja capacidade de passar fome começa a atrair tanto o zelo religioso quanto a atenção geral da população brasileira, fazendo uma crítica do consumo da mídia nacional e do colonialismo cultural. Após a crítica iniciada com Bebel, Garota Propaganda, Capovilla reúne elementos do folclore do cangaço, da paisagem rural e movimentos surrealistas de câmera para compor um filme cuja complexidade se faz aparente e surpreende o espectador perspicaz. Comparado ao trabalho de alguns de seus compatriotas, O Profeta da Fome teve uma chance melhor na avaliação internacional do que outras obras do chamado Cinema Marginal, por participar do 20º Festival de Berlim (onde foi indicado para o Urso de Ouro), mas pensamos que o legado de Maurice Capovilla ainda é subestimado, algo que esperamos mudar minimamente com esta exibição.
Directed by Michel Schettert
Translated by Matheus Pestana
The rise of Brazilian directors Anselmo Duarte and Glauber Rocha both came about through different career trajectories - Rocha working as a young film critic in Bahia and Duarte making his way up the Brazilian studio system as a star actor. Nevertheless, the two crossed paths amicably on the set of O Pagador de Promessas, Anselmo Duarte’s 1962 film that won the Palme d’Or. That encounter marks one of the major points of interest for filmmaker Michel Schettert in his new film essay, Golpe de Vista (A Quick Glance). Golpe de Vista examines the focal point in the history of Brazilian cinema that was the international success of O Pagador de Promessas, showcasing images of Duarte soaking up the success of his award at Cannes. But the film essay also looks at the larger cultural ramifications of O Pagador in the Brazilian film industry, as the aesthetic and ideological approach of the film eventually led to a larger  clash with figures such as Rocha and the rest of the young Cinema Novo filmmakers.
A ascensão dos diretores brasileiros Anselmo Duarte e Glauber Rocha ocorreu através de diferentes trajetórias profissionais. Rocha trabalhando como um jovem crítico de cinema na Bahia e Duarte abrindo caminho no sistema de estúdios brasileiros como parte dos atores principais. No entanto, os dois se cruzaram amigavelmente no cenário de O Pagador de Promessas, filme de Anselmo Duarte de 1962 que ganhou a Palma de Ouro. Esse encontro marca um dos principais pontos de interesse do cineasta Michel Schettert em seu novo ensaio fílmico, Golpe de Vista. Golpe de Vista examina um dos pontos centrais da história do cinema brasileiro, sendo este o sucesso internacional de O Pagador de Promessas, o ilustrando com imagens de Duarte absorvendo o sucesso de seu prêmio em Cannes. O ensaio do filme também analisa algumas das maiores ramificações culturais de O Pagador na indústria cinematográfica brasileira, pois a abordagem estética e ideológica do filme resultou em um choque com grandes figuras, como o pórprio Rocha, e os demais jovens cineastas do Cinema Novo.

Directed by Gabriel Papaléo
Translated by William Plotnick
Sombras do Amanhã (Shadows of Tomorrow) is a personal work from filmmaker Gabriel Papaléo that calls attention to the low-resolution digital state of some of the most important works in the history of Brazilian cinema. Papaléo looks at some of his favorite Brazilian films, and contemplates why they are only accessible today in TV Rips, VHS Transfers, and low-resolution copies. Looking at the important relationship between television and piracy in Brazil, Papaléo visually details the ways in which the changing digital state of films alters how we perceive them. Featuring a special interview with Cinemateca do MAM film archivist Hernani Heffner, Sombras do Amanhã is a testament to the need to have functioning and thriving film archives in Brazil, to steward new digital copies of films and help preserve the memory of Brazilian audiovisual heritage in the most dignified way possible.
Sombras do Amanhã é uma obra pessoal do cineasta Gabriel Papaléo que chama atenção para o estado - digital, em baixa resolução - de alguns dos filmes mais importantes da história do cinema brasileiro. Papaléo analisa alguns de seus filmes brasileiros favoritos, e questiona por que só são acessíveis hoje em TVRips, conversões de VHS, e cópias em baixa resolução. Examinando a importante relação entre televisão e pirataria no Brasil, Papaléo detalha de forma visual como o estado variado das cópias digitais dos filmes altera nossa percepção deles. Apresentando uma entrevista exclusiva com o arquivista de filmes da Cinemateca do MAM Hernani Heffner, Sombras do Amanhã comprova a necessidade da existência e da manutenção dos arquivos cinematográficos no Brasil, de se fazer novas cópias digitais de filmes e ajudar a preservar a memória do patrimônio audiovisual brasileiro da maneira mais digna possível.
Directed by Rodrigo Almeida
Directed by Hugo Katsuo
Filmmaker and researcher Hugo Katsuo is closely familiar with themes related to the taboos surrounding nudity. As a researcher, he defended a monograph entitled “Pornografia gay e racismo: a representação e o consumo do corpo amarelo na pornografia gay ocidental.” (Gay pornography and racism: the representation and consumption of the yellow body in Western gay pornography). His filmmaking includes the short film Batchan (2020), a film that tells the story of his ancestry in an encounter with spirituality, and O Perigo Amarelo Nos Dias Atuais (2018), a documentary that features six interviews with activists from the Asian-Brazilian movement. For our program “Mouths Don’t Say Everything: Three Decades of LGBTQ+ Cinema”, Katsuo has made a cinematic poem entitled Da Fabulação, which expands on a key scene in Carlos Hugo Christensen's masterpiece, O Menino de O Vento (1967). His new film addresses a truly impressive meditation on the suggestion of nudity, or lack thereof, in one of the most important works of Brazilian LGBTQ+ cinema.
O cineasta e pesquisador Hugo Katsuo está intimamente familiarizado com temas relacionados com o tabu da nudez. Como pesquisador ele defendeu a monografia intitulada “Pornografia gay e racismo: a representação e o consumo do corpo amarelo na pornografia gay ocidental”. Sua produção cinematográfica inclui o curta Batchan (2020), um filme que conta a história de sua ancestral no encontro com a espiritualidade, e O Perigo Amarelo Nos Dias Atuais (2018), um longa documental que apresenta seis entrevistas com ativistas do movimento asiático-brasileiro. Para nossa mostra "As Bocas Não Falam Tudo: Três décadas de Cinema LGBTQ+", Katsuo fez um poema cinematográfico intitulado Da Fabulação, que se expande em uma cena chave na obra-prima de Carlos Hugo Christensen, O Menino e O Vento (1967). Seu novo filme aborda uma meditação impressionante sobre a sugestão de nudez, ou falta dela, em uma das obras mais importantes do cinema LGBTQ+ brasileiro.
Directed by Julia Katharine
Translated by Matheus Pestana
Filmmaker Julia Katharine (Tea for Two, "Won’t You Come Out To Play?", This Is Not Dancin Days) begins Vera: Ontem e Hoje with an admission: "Vera arouses ambiguous feelings in me...at the same time that i consider it a great film, for me, it is not an LGBTQIA+ film". From Julia's statement, we quickly realize that the historical legacy of Sergio Toledo's Vera (1984) is complicated. While the film is widely recognized as pioneering for its portrait of a young transgender man struggling to find their place in Brazilian society, its narrative and lead performance by Ana Beatriz Nogueira are perhaps open to scrutiny in the year 2021. In this new video piece, Julia Katharine invites her good friends Claudia Campolina & Daniel Veiga, both of whom are active in the Brazilian film industry and cinephiles in their own right, for a discussion about how the film should be newlyreceived today.
A cineasta Julia Katharine (Tea for Two, "Won't You Won't Come Out To Play?", This Is Not Dancin Days) começa Vera: Ontem e Hoje com uma admissão: "Vera desperta em mim sentimentos ambíguos...ao mesmo tempo em que o considero um grande filme, para mim não é um filme LGBTQIA+". A partir da declaração de Julia, percebemos rapidamente que o legado histórico de Vera (1984) de Sergio Toledo é complicado. Enquanto o filme é amplamente reconhecido como pioneiro por seu retrato de um jovem transexual lutando para encontrar seu lugar na sociedade brasileira, sua narrativa e performance de Ana Beatriz Nogueira talvez estejam abertas a escrutínio no ano 2021. Neste novo vídeo-ensaio, Julia Katharine convida seus bons amigos Claudia Campolina & Daniel Veiga, ambos ativos na indústria cinematográfica brasileira e cinéfilos por direito próprio, para uma discussão sobre como o filme deve ser recebido nos dias de hoje.
Directed by Helena Solberg
Translated by Gustavo Menezes
Helena Solberg's A Entrevista (1966), was filmed in 1964, the year that marked the beginning of the military coup in Brazil. The film was released two years later, at the height of the Cinema Novo movement, and generated a buzz at its premiere due to its themes. The 19-minute short film is the result of interviews conducted with several women between the ages of 19 and 27 who are upper-middle-class. The interviewees talk about marriage, sex, virginity, fidelity, happiness, work, and the social roles that are assigned or imposed on women. Behind these interviews emerges a conventional profile of the Brazilian woman idealized by issues related to female oppression and the military repression experienced in the country. Helena Solberg's lenses emphasize the presence of women in cinema as protagonists, whether filming, producing, or acting, always in an authorial way. In this context, A Entrevista is a documentary that condenses the aspirations of a generation and society in continuous transformation.
A Entrevista (1966), de Helena Solberg, foi filmado em 1964, ano que marcou o início do golpe militar no Brasil. O filme foi lançado dois anos depois, no auge do movimento Cinema Novo, e gerou um burburinho na estreia devido a seus temas.O curta-metragem de 19 minutos é o resultado de entrevistas realizadas com várias mulheres entre 19 e 27 anos de idade que são da classe média alta. As entrevistadas falam sobre casamento, sexo, virgindade, fidelidade, felicidade, trabalho e os papéis sociais que são atribuídos ou impostos às mulheres. Por trás destas entrevistas emerge um perfil convencional da mulher brasileira idealizado por questões relacionadas à opressão feminina e à repressão militar vivenciada no país. As lentes de Helena Solberg afirmam a presença da mulher no cinema como protagonista, seja filmando, produzindo ou atuando, sempre de forma autoral. Nesse contexto, A entrevista é um documentário que condensa as aspirações de uma geração e de uma sociedade em contínua transformação.

Directed by Milton Amaral
Translated by Paulo Scarpa
Jeca Tatu, a character based on the literary work of Monteiro Lobato, deals with the figure of the rural man and with land reform issues in Brazil. The figure of Jeca is present in the book "Urupês", a saga created by Lobato for the adult public. Our protagonist, a simple, lazy country bumpkin from the interior of São Paulo, sees his ranch threatened by the greed of a landowner, his possible future son-in-law. 

An icon of the seventh art in the country, the late comedian Amácio Mazzaropi is still considered today one of the greatest Brazilian actors. With simple plots, he used the figure of "Jeca" to create classics of Brazilian cinema. Having been a national success, Jeca Tatu (1959) reached more than eight million spectators in the cinemas of the country.
Jeca Tatu, personagem baseado na obra literária de Monteiro Lobato, lida com muita simplicidade da figura do homem do campo e com questões de reforma agrária no Brasil. A figura de Jeca está presente no livro "Urupês", uma saga criada por Lobato para o público adulto. Nosso protagonista, um simples e preguiçoso caipira do interior de São Paulo, vê seu rancho ameaçado pela ganância de um latifundiário, seu possível futuro genro. 

Um ícone da sétima arte no país, o saudoso comediante Amácio Mazzaropi é ainda hoje considerado um dos maiores atores brasileiros. Com enredos simples, ele usou a figura de "Jeca" para criar clássicos da cinematografia nacional. Tendo sido um sucesso nacional, Jeca Tatu (1959) alcançou mais de oito milhões de espectadores nas salas de cinema do país.

Directed by Anselmo Duarte
Translated by Paulo Scarpa
Anselmo Duarte was one of the most famous actors in Brazil when he directed and starred in Absolutamente Certo! The film follows the chanchada formula, alternating between comic scenes and musical numbers. However, according to film critic Luciano Ramos, it might be seen as a synthesis of Atlântida chanchadas, classic Vera Cruz style and the incipient Cinema Novo movement, as it’s “a popular story full of humor and a strong critical vein, shot with refined technical and formal style”.

Absolutamente Certo tells the story of Zé do Lino, a good-guy type who knows the São Paulo telephone book by heart and needs money to marry his fiancée and take care of his sick father. The opportunity arises when he is invited to test his memory on the quiz show Absolutamente Certo. But a group of unscrupulous gamblers try to take advantage of the situation to profit by forcing the young man's defeat.

Duarte wanted to create a sympathetic protagonist involved in a plot that would stir the audience's emotions and make them root for him. The filmmaker wrote the script calculating the audience's reactions, from laughing to nail-biting. The film features memorable performances by Dercy Gonçalves, Odete Lara, and Aurélio Teixeira.
Anselmo Duarte era um dos atores mais famosos do país quando dirigiu e estrelou Absolutamente Certo! O filme segue a fórmula da chanchada, trazendo cenas cômicas intercaladas com números musicais. No entanto, segundo o crítico Luciano Ramos, pode ser visto como uma síntese das chanchadas da Atlântida, o estilo clássico da Vera Cruz - onde Duarte foi buscar os técnicos para trabalhar nesta equipe - e o incipiente Cinema Novo, já que é “uma história popular dotada de humor e de um forte espírito crítico, filmada com um refinado apuro técnico e formal”.

Absolutamente Certo conta a história de Zé do Lino, um típico bom-moço que sabe de cor a lista telefônica da capital paulista e precisa de dinheiro para se casar com a noiva e para cuidar do pai enfermo. A oportunidade surge quando ele é convidado a testar sua memória no quiz show Absolutamente Certo. Mas um grupo de apostadores sem escrúpulos tenta se aproveitar da situação para lucrar forçando a derrota do rapaz.

O propósito de Duarte era criar um protagonista simpático envolvido numa trama que mexesse com a emoção da plateia e a fizesse torcer por ele. O cineasta escreveu o roteiro calculando as reações do público, desde rir até roer as unhas. O filme conta com atuações memoráveis de Dercy Gonçalves, Odete Lara e Aurélio Teixeira.
Directed by Anselmo Duarte
Zé do Burro and his wife Rosa live on a small rural property near Salvador, Bahia. One day, Zé's pet donkey is hit by lightning and he ends up going to a candomblé house, where he makes a promise to the orisha Iansã to save the animal. After the animal is brought back to good health, Zé sets out to fulfill his promise, donating half of his farm, and begins a walk towards Salvador carrying an immense wooden cross on his back to be delivered at the Saint Bárbara Church. But Zé's via crucis soon becomes even more distressing once his wife Rosa gets involved with the pimp Bonitão and when he is prevented by Padre Olavo from entering his church because Zé made his promise in a candomblé house. A crowd soon gathers around the church and representatives from different social groups try to take advantage of the situation. 

Winner of the 1962 Palme d’Or, O Pagador de Promessas is a unique work in the history of Brazilian cinema. Many consider the film to be a bridge between the industrial Brazilian cinema of Vera Cruz and Atlântida (established throughout the 1950s) and the revolutionary cinema of the budding Cinema Novo movement. Following the release of the film, great drama occurred in the Brazilian film industry when Glauber Rocha (who had previously praised Duarte) criticized the director for filming a left-wing reality with a right-wing ideology. As a result of this criticism, O Pagador de Promessas fell out of favor in the eyes of many Cinema Novo filmmakers. 

Today, Rocha’s criticism of O Pagador de Promessas seems undeserved, and the film has cemented itself as an undisputed classic of Brazilian cinema. The film is filled with a star-studded cast, including Leonardo Villar, Glória Menezes, Dionísio Azevedo, Geraldo Del Rey, Norma Bengell, Othon Bastos, and Antonio Pitanga, all of whom turn out some of their best performances. Leonardo Villar’s tragic role as the cross-bearing Zé do Burro has become one of the most unforgettable performances in all of Brazilian cinema, allowing the film to retain an immense emotional power over audiences to this day.
Zé do Burro e sua esposa Rosa vivem em uma pequena propriedade rural perto de Salvador, Bahia. Um dia, o burro de estimação de Zé é atingido por um raio e ele acaba indo para uma casa de candomblé, onde faz uma promessa à orixá Iansã para salvar o animal. Depois que o animal é curado, Zé parte para cumprir sua promessa, doando metade de sua fazenda, e inicia uma caminhada em direção a Salvador carregando uma imensa cruz de madeira em suas costas a ser entregue à igreja de Santa Bárbara. Mas a via crucis de Zé logo se torna ainda mais angustiante quando sua esposa Rosa se envolve com o cafetão Bonitão e quando ele é impedido pelo Padre Olavo de entrar em sua igreja por ter feito a promessa em uma casa de candomblé. Uma multidão se forma em frente à igreja e representantes de diferentes grupos sociais tentam se aproveitar da situação.

Vencedor da Palma de Ouro de 1962, O Pagador de Promessas é uma obra única na história do cinema brasileiro. Muitos consideram o filme uma ponte entre o cinema industrial da Vera Cruz e Atlântida (estabelecidos ao longo da década de 1950) e o cinema revolucionário do incipiente movimento do Cinema Novo. Após o lançamento do filme, houve um rebuliço na indústria cinematográfica brasileira quando Glauber Rocha (que antes havia elogiado Duarte) criticou o diretor por filmar uma realidade de esquerda com uma ideologia de direita. Como resultado desta crítica, O Pagador de Promessas perdeu prestígio aos olhos de muitos cineastas do Cinema Novo. 

Hoje, as críticas de Rocha a O Pagador de Promessas parecem imerecidas e o filme se consolidou como um clássico incontestável do cinema brasileiro. O filme está repleto de um elenco estrelado, incluindo Leonardo Villar, Glória Menezes, Dionísio Azevedo, Geraldo Del Rey, Norma Bengell, Othon Bastos e Antonio Pitanga, que têm aqui algumas das suas melhores atuações de suas carreiras. O trágico papel de Leonardo Villar como Zé do Burro tornou-se uma das performances mais inesquecíveis em todo o cinema brasileiro, permitindo que o filme mantenha até hoje um imenso poder emocional sobre as plateias.
Directed by Anselmo Duarte
Translated by Paulo Scarpa
"It became a damned film, but many people consider it a cult film. A great film, which was misunderstood in its time. I believe that interpretation. I insist, I will always insist, that Vereda da Salvação is my best film, no matter what those who were against it said." (Anselmo Duarte, discussing Vereda da Salvação in the book O Homem da Palma de Ouro).

Anselmo Duarte’s Vereda da Salvação (1965) was based on an acclaimed 1964 play by Jorge de Andrade. The plot is based on a real event, which occurred in 1955, in a community in Minas Gerais. A group of peasants, following a mystical leader, arrive on inhabited land and claim it for themselves. The mystical leader begins to preach radical ideas such as, "sin will push the air out of the world and suffering will point to the path to paradise". Soon thereafter, religious and messianic fanaticism takes hold of the peasants, leading to a tragic end for all who inhabit the land.

Vereda da Salvação
was a commercial and critical failure for Duarte upon its original release but has since gone on to gain cult status among many Brazilian cinephiles. The film, shot by legendary Argentine cinematographer Ricardo Aronovich, arguably shows Duarte at the height of his creative powers. To be sure, Vereda da Salvação is Duarte’s most brutal work, underlying his transformation towards darker themes that had begun with O Pagador de Promessas (1962). Despite the current poor digital copy of the film, which does no justice to the film's formal beauty, Vereda da Salvação remains one of the key Brazilian films of the 1960s.
"Virou um filme maldito, mas para muita gente é cult. Um grande filme incompreendido no seu tempo. Acredito na interpretação. Insisto, vou insistir sempre, que Vereda da Salvação é meu melhor filme, digam o que disserem os que foram contra." (Anselmo Duarte, discutindo Vereda da Salvação no livro O Homem da Palma de Ouro). 

O filme Vereda da Salvação (1965), de Anselmo Duarte, foi baseado na aclamada peça de teatro de Jorge de Andrade, de 1964. O enredo é baseado em um acontecimento real, ocorrido em 1955, em uma comunidade de Minas Gerais. Um grupo de camponeses, seguindo um líder místico, chega em terra habitada e a reivindica para si. O líder místico começa a pregar ideias radicais, como "o pecado vai empurrar o ar do mundo e o sofrimento vai indicar a vereda do paraíso". Logo em seguida, o fanatismo religioso e messiânico toma conta dos camponeses, levando a um final trágico para todos os que habitam a terra.

Vereda da Salvação foi um fracasso de público e crítica quando do lançamento original, mas desde então adquiriu status de "cult" entre muitos cinéfilos brasileiros. O filme, com direção de fotografia do lendário fotógrafo argentino Ricardo Aronovich, mostra Duarte no auge de sua capacidade criativa. Com certeza, Vereda da Salvação é a obra mais brutal de Duarte, marcando sua guinada para temas mais obscuros, iniciada com O Pagador de Promessas (1962). Apesar da péssima cópia digital do filme, que não faz justiça a sua beleza formal, Vereda da Salvação continua sendo um dos principais filmes brasileiros dos anos 60.
Directed by Anselmo Duarte
Translated by Paulo Scarpa
"It became a damned film, but many people consider it a cult film. A great film, which was misunderstood in its time. I believe that interpretation. I insist, I will always insist, that Vereda da Salvação is my best film, no matter what those who were against it said." (Anselmo Duarte, discussing Vereda da Salvação in the book O Homem da Palma de Ouro).

Anselmo Duarte’s Vereda da Salvação (1965) was based on an acclaimed 1964 play by Jorge de Andrade. The plot is based on a real event, which occurred in 1955, in a community in Minas Gerais. A group of peasants, following a mystical leader, arrive on inhabited land and claim it for themselves. The mystical leader begins to preach radical ideas such as, "sin will push the air out of the world and suffering will point to the path to paradise". Soon thereafter, religious and messianic fanaticism takes hold of the peasants, leading to a tragic end for all who inhabit the land.

Vereda da Salvação
was a commercial and critical failure for Duarte upon its original release but has since gone on to gain cult status among many Brazilian cinephiles. The film, shot by legendary Argentine cinematographer Ricardo Aronovich, arguably shows Duarte at the height of his creative powers. To be sure, Vereda da Salvação is Duarte’s most brutal work, underlying his transformation towards darker themes that had begun with O Pagador de Promessas (1962). Despite the current poor digital copy of the film, which does no justice to the film's formal beauty, Vereda da Salvação remains one of the key Brazilian films of the 1960s.
"Virou um filme maldito, mas para muita gente é cult. Um grande filme incompreendido no seu tempo. Acredito na interpretação. Insisto, vou insistir sempre, que Vereda da Salvação é meu melhor filme, digam o que disserem os que foram contra." (Anselmo Duarte, discutindo Vereda da Salvação no livro O Homem da Palma de Ouro). 

O filme Vereda da Salvação (1965), de Anselmo Duarte, foi baseado na aclamada peça de teatro de Jorge de Andrade, de 1964. O enredo é baseado em um acontecimento real, ocorrido em 1955, em uma comunidade de Minas Gerais. Um grupo de camponeses, seguindo um líder místico, chega em terra habitada e a reivindica para si. O líder místico começa a pregar ideias radicais, como "o pecado vai empurrar o ar do mundo e o sofrimento vai indicar a vereda do paraíso". Logo em seguida, o fanatismo religioso e messiânico toma conta dos camponeses, levando a um final trágico para todos os que habitam a terra.

Vereda da Salvação foi um fracasso de público e crítica quando do lançamento original, mas desde então adquiriu status de "cult" entre muitos cinéfilos brasileiros. O filme, com direção de fotografia do lendário fotógrafo argentino Ricardo Aronovich, mostra Duarte no auge de sua capacidade criativa. Com certeza, Vereda da Salvação é a obra mais brutal de Duarte, marcando sua guinada para temas mais obscuros, iniciada com O Pagador de Promessas (1962). Apesar da péssima cópia digital do filme, que não faz justiça a sua beleza formal, Vereda da Salvação continua sendo um dos principais filmes brasileiros dos anos 60.

Directed by Neville D’Almeida
Translated by Gustavo Menezes
The first feature film by Brazilian director Neville d'Almeida, Jardim de Guerra (1968) tells the story of a young man with no prospects, played by actor Joel Barcelos, who falls in love with a filmmaker and is unjustly accused of terrorism by a right-wing organization that imprisons and tortures him. In 1969, the film opened the Directors' Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival.

Despite some screenings in festivals, when Neville sent a copy to be approved and commercially exhibited, the material suffered countless cuts and was censored by the Brazilian military regime.  The plot of Jardim de Guerra is inspired by the book Kaos (1962), by Jorge Mautner, who also wrote the screenplay, together with Neville, Guará Rodrigues, and Rogério Sganzerla.
Primeiro longa-metragem do diretor brasileiro Neville d’Almeida, Jardim de Guerra (1968) mostra a história de um jovem sem perspectivas, vivido pelo ator Joel Barcelos, que se apaixona por uma cineasta e é injustamente acusado de terrorismo por uma organização de direita que o prende e o tortura. Em 1969, o filme inaugurou a Quinzena dos Realizadores do Festival de Cannes.

Apesar de algumas exibições em festivais, quando Neville enviou uma cópia para ser aprovada e exibida comercialmente, o material sofreu inúmeros cortes e acabou sendo censurado pelo regime militar brasileiro. A trama de Jardim de Guerra é inspirada no livro Kaos (1962), de Jorge Mautner, que também assina o roteiro do longa, juntamente com Neville, Guará Rodrigues e Rogério Sganzerla.

Directed by Djalma Limongi Batista
Translated by Matheus Pestana
Antônio, an unemployed lower-middle-class boy, wakes up late and leaves home to wander around São Paulo. He goes to meet a friend and breaks up with him. At night he meets a partner at the Metrópole Gallery, Isaías, for a sexual encounter. Despite the intense relationship between the two, Isaías begs Antônio to kill him.

Um Clássico, Dois em Casa, Nenhum Jogo Fora, participant of the 1968 JB/Mesbla Brazilian Amateur Film Festival, is one of the first films to address a homosexual relationship in Brazilian cinema. Directed by the transgressor and obstinate Djalma Limongi Batista, the short film portrays, among other things, an intense affective and sexual relationship between two young men. The year of its premiere marked the history of Brazil as one of the most repressive in 21 years of the Brazilian military dictatorship. And even in the midst of censorship, that same year, the School of Communications and Arts of the University of São Paulo saw the first audiovisual production made by students of the Cinema course to portray homosexuality in a non-stigmatizing way.
Antônio, um rapaz desempregado, de classe média-baixa, acorda tarde e sai de casa para perambular por São Paulo. Vai ao encontro de um amigo e rompe com ele. À noite encontra um parceiro na Galeria Metrópole, Isaías, para um enlace sexual. Apesar da repentina e intensa relação entre os dois, Isaías implora para que Antônio o mate.

Um Clássico, Dois em Casa, Nenhum Jogo Fora, participante do Festival Brasileiro de Cinema Amador JB/Mesbla de 1968, foi um dos primeiros filmes a abordar uma relação homossexual no cinema brasileiro. Dirigido pelo transgressor e obstinado Djalma Limongi Batista, o curta-metragem retrata, entre outras coisas, uma intensa relação afetiva e sexual entre dois jovens. O ano de sua estreia marcou a história do Brasil como um dos mais repressivos em 21 anos de ditadura militar brasileira, e mesmo em meio à censura, nesse mesmo ano, a Escola de Comunicações e Artes da Universidade de São Paulo viu a primeira produção audiovisual feita por estudantes do curso de Cinema retratando a homossexualidade de uma forma não estereotipada.
Directed by Sérgio Toledo
Translated by Paulo Scarpa
Vera, a pioneering portrait of transsexuality in Brazilian cinema, is a drama directed and written by Sérgio Toledo, based on the autobiography A Queda para o Alto by Anderson Herzer. The film also revealed actress Ana Beatriz Nogueira on the silver screen, in a performance that won her the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the Berlinale. 

After reaching adulthood, our protagonist's speech emphasizes his male identification and gains strength when he is asked to withdraw from the boarding school where he grew up. With the help of his teacher, Paulo, Bauer gets a job and a room to live in. From then on, wearing jeans, a long-sleeved shirt, a vest, and short hair, Bauer begins a troubled journey, insisting that everyone around him treat him like the man he is. In this drama, director Sérgio Toledo closely follows the life of a person who struggles to find his identity and his place in a hostile and complex world.
Vera, um retrato pioneiro da transexualidade no cinema brasileiro, é um drama biográfico dirigido e escrito por Sérgio Toledo, baseado na autobiografia A Queda para o Alto de Anderson Herzer. O filme também apresentou a atriz Ana Beatriz Nogueira às telas, em uma performance que lhe rendeu o Urso de Prata de Melhor Atriz no Berlinale. 

Após chegar à idade adulta, o discurso de nosso protagonista enfatiza sua identificação masculina e ganha força quando ele é convocado a se retirar do colégio interno onde cresceu. Com a ajuda de seu professor, Paulo, Bauer consegue um emprego e um quarto para morar. A partir daí, usando jeans, camisa de manga comprida, colete e cabelo curto, ele começa uma jornada dura, insistindo para que todos à sua volta o tratem como o homem que ele é. Neste drama, o diretor Sérgio Toledo acompanha de perto a vida de uma pessoa que luta para encontrar sua identidade e seu lugar em um mundo hostil e complexo.
Directed by Glauco Mirko Laurelli
Translated by Paulo Scarpa
Made three years after Jeca Tatu (1959), O Vendedor de Linguiça (1962) finds Mazzaropi moving from the countryside to the city of São Paulo, where he works as a sausage salesman to support his lower-class family. O Vendedor de Linguiça is a film that focuses on the differences between social classes in Brazil, as the daughter of Gustavo (played by Mazzaropi) finds herself a wealthy suitor for marriage. Craziness ensues when Gustavo's family tries to adapt to life among São Paulo's wealthy class, having a hard time to give up his old ways of life.
Feito três anos após Jeca Tatu (1959), O Vendedor de Linguiça (1962) encontra Mazzaropi mudando-se do interior para a cidade de São Paulo, onde trabalha como vendedor de embutidos para sustentar sua família de classe baixa. O Vendedor de Linguiça é um filme que focaliza as diferenças entre as classes sociais no Brasil, já que a filha de Gustavo (interpretada por Mazzaropi) se encontra como uma rica pretendente ao casamento. A loucura surge quando a família de Gustavo tenta se adaptar à vida entre a classe rica de São Paulo, tendo dificuldades para abandonar seus antigos modos de vida.
Directed by Antonio Carlos Da Fontoura
A Rainha Diaba  is the second feature film directed by Antônio Carlos da Fontoura. The visuals, the story, and some of the traits of Rainha Diaba, played by Milton Gonçalves, derive from the figure associated with Madame Satã, an emblematic representative of the marginal life of Lapa carioca in the first half of the 20th century. 

Fontoura's film treats violence as its central theme and main aesthetic motif. The film’s dialogue reveals an infinite repertoire of slang and expressions in an environment of strong marginal stylization. Sometimes affectionate, sometimes wrathful, Diaba controls organized crime in Rio de Janeiro from the brothel room where he lives. Upon discovering that one of his men will soon be arrested by the police, Diaba decides to use a scapegoat, Bereco, in order to involve him in a series of crimes and turn him in as if he were the real wanted one.
A Rainha Diaba é o segundo longa-metragem dirigido por Antônio Carlos da Fontoura. O visual, a história e alguns traços de Rainha Diaba, interpretado por Milton Gonçalves, derivam da figura associada à Madame Satã, emblemática representante da vida marginal da Lapa carioca na primeira metade do século XX. 

Fontoura trata a violência como o tema central e principal motivo estético de seu filme. Seus diálogos mostram um repertório infinito de gírias e expressões em um ambiente de forte estilização marginal. Às vezes afetuoso, às vezes com ira, Diaba, da sala do bordel onde vive, controla o crime organizado no Rio de Janeiro. Após descobrir que um de seus homens está prestes a ser preso pela polícia, Diaba decide usar um bode expiatório, Bereco, a fim de envolvê-lo numa série de crimes e entregá-lo como se fosse o verdadeiro procurado.
Directed by Anselmo Duarte
Translated by Paulo Scarpa
"It became a damned film, but many people consider it a cult film. A great film, which was misunderstood in its time. I believe that interpretation. I insist, I will always insist, that Vereda da Salvação is my best film, no matter what those who were against it said." (Anselmo Duarte, discussing Vereda da Salvação in the book O Homem da Palma de Ouro).

Anselmo Duarte’s Vereda da Salvação (1965) was based on an acclaimed 1964 play by Jorge de Andrade. The plot is based on a real event, which occurred in 1955, in a community in Minas Gerais. A group of peasants, following a mystical leader, arrive on inhabited land and claim it for themselves. The mystical leader begins to preach radical ideas such as, "sin will push the air out of the world and suffering will point to the path to paradise". Soon thereafter, religious and messianic fanaticism takes hold of the peasants, leading to a tragic end for all who inhabit the land.

Vereda da Salvação
was a commercial and critical failure for Duarte upon its original release but has since gone on to gain cult status among many Brazilian cinephiles. The film, shot by legendary Argentine cinematographer Ricardo Aronovich, arguably shows Duarte at the height of his creative powers. To be sure, Vereda da Salvação is Duarte’s most brutal work, underlying his transformation towards darker themes that had begun with O Pagador de Promessas (1962). Despite the current poor digital copy of the film, which does no justice to the film's formal beauty, Vereda da Salvação remains one of the key Brazilian films of the 1960s.
"Virou um filme maldito, mas para muita gente é cult. Um grande filme incompreendido no seu tempo. Acredito na interpretação. Insisto, vou insistir sempre, que Vereda da Salvação é meu melhor filme, digam o que disserem os que foram contra." (Anselmo Duarte, discutindo Vereda da Salvação no livro O Homem da Palma de Ouro). 

O filme Vereda da Salvação (1965), de Anselmo Duarte, foi baseado na aclamada peça de teatro de Jorge de Andrade, de 1964. O enredo é baseado em um acontecimento real, ocorrido em 1955, em uma comunidade de Minas Gerais. Um grupo de camponeses, seguindo um líder místico, chega em terra habitada e a reivindica para si. O líder místico começa a pregar ideias radicais, como "o pecado vai empurrar o ar do mundo e o sofrimento vai indicar a vereda do paraíso". Logo em seguida, o fanatismo religioso e messiânico toma conta dos camponeses, levando a um final trágico para todos os que habitam a terra.

Vereda da Salvação foi um fracasso de público e crítica quando do lançamento original, mas desde então adquiriu status de "cult" entre muitos cinéfilos brasileiros. O filme, com direção de fotografia do lendário fotógrafo argentino Ricardo Aronovich, mostra Duarte no auge de sua capacidade criativa. Com certeza, Vereda da Salvação é a obra mais brutal de Duarte, marcando sua guinada para temas mais obscuros, iniciada com O Pagador de Promessas (1962). Apesar da péssima cópia digital do filme, que não faz justiça a sua beleza formal, Vereda da Salvação continua sendo um dos principais filmes brasileiros dos anos 60.
Directed by Helena Solberg
Translated by Gustavo Menezes
Filmed on 35mm in São Paulo, Meio Dia (1970) marks Helena Solberg's first fiction film. Reminiscent of Jean Vigo's Zero for Conduct (1933) and François Truffaut's The 400 Blows (1959), the film portrays the uprising of a group of children at their day school. Made during one of the most socially and politically repressive moments of the Brazilian military dictatorship, the film can be seen as an allegory for the tensions building among the Brazilian population who were living under oppression.
Filmado em 35mm em São Paulo, Meio Dia (1970) marca o primeiro filme de ficção de Helena Solberg. Reminiscente do Zero de conduta de Jean Vigo (1933) e do Os incompreendidos de François Truffaut, o filme retrata a revolta de um grupo de crianças em sua escola diurna. Realizado durante um dos momentos mais social e politicamente repressivos da ditadura militar brasileira, o filme pode ser visto como uma alegoria para a construção de tensões entre a população brasileira que vivia sob a opressão.
Directed by Anselmo Duarte
Translated by Paulo Scarpa
"It became a damned film, but many people consider it a cult film. A great film, which was misunderstood in its time. I believe that interpretation. I insist, I will always insist, that Vereda da Salvação is my best film, no matter what those who were against it said." (Anselmo Duarte, discussing Vereda da Salvação in the book O Homem da Palma de Ouro).

Anselmo Duarte’s Vereda da Salvação (1965) was based on an acclaimed 1964 play by Jorge de Andrade. The plot is based on a real event, which occurred in 1955, in a community in Minas Gerais. A group of peasants, following a mystical leader, arrive on inhabited land and claim it for themselves. The mystical leader begins to preach radical ideas such as, "sin will push the air out of the world and suffering will point to the path to paradise". Soon thereafter, religious and messianic fanaticism takes hold of the peasants, leading to a tragic end for all who inhabit the land.

Vereda da Salvação
was a commercial and critical failure for Duarte upon its original release but has since gone on to gain cult status among many Brazilian cinephiles. The film, shot by legendary Argentine cinematographer Ricardo Aronovich, arguably shows Duarte at the height of his creative powers. To be sure, Vereda da Salvação is Duarte’s most brutal work, underlying his transformation towards darker themes that had begun with O Pagador de Promessas (1962). Despite the current poor digital copy of the film, which does no justice to the film's formal beauty, Vereda da Salvação remains one of the key Brazilian films of the 1960s.
"Virou um filme maldito, mas para muita gente é cult. Um grande filme incompreendido no seu tempo. Acredito na interpretação. Insisto, vou insistir sempre, que Vereda da Salvação é meu melhor filme, digam o que disserem os que foram contra." (Anselmo Duarte, discutindo Vereda da Salvação no livro O Homem da Palma de Ouro). 

O filme Vereda da Salvação (1965), de Anselmo Duarte, foi baseado na aclamada peça de teatro de Jorge de Andrade, de 1964. O enredo é baseado em um acontecimento real, ocorrido em 1955, em uma comunidade de Minas Gerais. Um grupo de camponeses, seguindo um líder místico, chega em terra habitada e a reivindica para si. O líder místico começa a pregar ideias radicais, como "o pecado vai empurrar o ar do mundo e o sofrimento vai indicar a vereda do paraíso". Logo em seguida, o fanatismo religioso e messiânico toma conta dos camponeses, levando a um final trágico para todos os que habitam a terra.

Vereda da Salvação foi um fracasso de público e crítica quando do lançamento original, mas desde então adquiriu status de "cult" entre muitos cinéfilos brasileiros. O filme, com direção de fotografia do lendário fotógrafo argentino Ricardo Aronovich, mostra Duarte no auge de sua capacidade criativa. Com certeza, Vereda da Salvação é a obra mais brutal de Duarte, marcando sua guinada para temas mais obscuros, iniciada com O Pagador de Promessas (1962). Apesar da péssima cópia digital do filme, que não faz justiça a sua beleza formal, Vereda da Salvação continua sendo um dos principais filmes brasileiros dos anos 60.
Directed by Rodrigo de Janeiro
Amácio Mazzaropi is one of the most popular comedy artists in the history of Brazilian cinema, becoming one of the only truly financially successful Brazilian filmmakers of the 20th century. However, while Mazzaropi remains popular to this day in Brazil among elder audiences, his vast filmography has yet to be fully appreciated among younger audiences in the country and especially among international audiences (as almost none of his films have been translated into other languages). For that reason, filmmaker Rodrigo de Janeiro embarks on a journey to introduce people to the legend of Mazzaropi with his carefully edited video essay, Mazzaropi: Faces of a Popular Artist. Using archival footage and photographs, Rodrigo takes the viewer from Mazzaropi's early life to the end of this career, offering insights into the artist's signature characters, his cinematographic style, and the rifes between critics and the public over the reception to Mazzaropi's movies.
Amácio Mazzaropi é um dos mais populares artistas de comédia da história do cinema brasileiro, tornando-se um dos únicos cineastas brasileiros de verdadeiro sucesso financeiro do século 20. Embora Mazzaropi continue popular até hoje no Brasil entre o público mais velho, sua vasta filmografia ainda não foi totalmente apreciada entre o público mais jovem do país e especialmente entre o público internacional (já que quase nenhum de seus filmes foi traduzido para outros idiomas). Por esta razão, o cineasta Rodrigo de Janeiro embarca numa jornada para apresentar às pessoas a lenda de Mazzaropi, com seu vídeo cuidadosamente editado, Mazzaropi: Faces de um Artista Popular. Usando filmagens de arquivo e fotografias, Rodrigo leva o espectador desde o início da vida de Mazzaropi até o fim de sua carreira, oferecendo uma visão sobre os personagens de assinatura do artista, seu estilo cinematográfico e os rifes entre os críticos e o público durante a recepção dos filmes de Mazzaropi.
Directed by Anselmo Duarte
Translated by Paulo Scarpa
"It became a damned film, but many people consider it a cult film. A great film, which was misunderstood in its time. I believe that interpretation. I insist, I will always insist, that Vereda da Salvação is my best film, no matter what those who were against it said." (Anselmo Duarte, discussing Vereda da Salvação in the book O Homem da Palma de Ouro).

Anselmo Duarte’s Vereda da Salvação (1965) was based on an acclaimed 1964 play by Jorge de Andrade. The plot is based on a real event, which occurred in 1955, in a community in Minas Gerais. A group of peasants, following a mystical leader, arrive on inhabited land and claim it for themselves. The mystical leader begins to preach radical ideas such as, "sin will push the air out of the world and suffering will point to the path to paradise". Soon thereafter, religious and messianic fanaticism takes hold of the peasants, leading to a tragic end for all who inhabit the land.

Vereda da Salvação
was a commercial and critical failure for Duarte upon its original release but has since gone on to gain cult status among many Brazilian cinephiles. The film, shot by legendary Argentine cinematographer Ricardo Aronovich, arguably shows Duarte at the height of his creative powers. To be sure, Vereda da Salvação is Duarte’s most brutal work, underlying his transformation towards darker themes that had begun with O Pagador de Promessas (1962). Despite the current poor digital copy of the film, which does no justice to the film's formal beauty, Vereda da Salvação remains one of the key Brazilian films of the 1960s.
"Virou um filme maldito, mas para muita gente é cult. Um grande filme incompreendido no seu tempo. Acredito na interpretação. Insisto, vou insistir sempre, que Vereda da Salvação é meu melhor filme, digam o que disserem os que foram contra." (Anselmo Duarte, discutindo Vereda da Salvação no livro O Homem da Palma de Ouro). 

O filme Vereda da Salvação (1965), de Anselmo Duarte, foi baseado na aclamada peça de teatro de Jorge de Andrade, de 1964. O enredo é baseado em um acontecimento real, ocorrido em 1955, em uma comunidade de Minas Gerais. Um grupo de camponeses, seguindo um líder místico, chega em terra habitada e a reivindica para si. O líder místico começa a pregar ideias radicais, como "o pecado vai empurrar o ar do mundo e o sofrimento vai indicar a vereda do paraíso". Logo em seguida, o fanatismo religioso e messiânico toma conta dos camponeses, levando a um final trágico para todos os que habitam a terra.

Vereda da Salvação foi um fracasso de público e crítica quando do lançamento original, mas desde então adquiriu status de "cult" entre muitos cinéfilos brasileiros. O filme, com direção de fotografia do lendário fotógrafo argentino Ricardo Aronovich, mostra Duarte no auge de sua capacidade criativa. Com certeza, Vereda da Salvação é a obra mais brutal de Duarte, marcando sua guinada para temas mais obscuros, iniciada com O Pagador de Promessas (1962). Apesar da péssima cópia digital do filme, que não faz justiça a sua beleza formal, Vereda da Salvação continua sendo um dos principais filmes brasileiros dos anos 60.
Directed by Alberto Botelho
One hundred years ago, filmmaker Alberto Botelho made O que foi o Carnaval de 1920!. Throughout the film, we can observe aspects of carnival in Rio de Janeiro in the beginning of the 20th century, such as the corso on Central Avenue (now Rio Branco Avenue) and Beira-Mar Avenue, where people paraded in decorated cars. The parade of the Fenianos and Democráticos carnival societies is made up of people from Brazil's high society, who move through the streets in luxurious costumes. The film also depicts a fancy-dress ball at the Hotel de Santa Rita and the children's ball at the Theatro República, considered at the time to be the largest theater in Brazil.
Cem anos atrás, o cineasta Alberto Botelho filmava O que foi o Carnaval de 1920!. Nas imagens do cinejornal, podemos observar aspectos do carnaval no Rio de Janeiro do início do século XX, como o corso na Av. Central (atual Av. Rio Branco) e Av. Beira-Mar onde pessoas desfilam em carros decorados. O desfile das sociedades carnavalescas dos Fenianos e dos Democráticos é formado por pessoas da alta sociedade brasileira, que saem em cortejo nas ruas com fantasias luxuosas. O baile à fantasia no Hotel de Santa Rita e o baile infantil do Theatro República, considerado na época como maior teatro do Brasil.
Directed by Anselmo Duarte
Translated by Paulo Scarpa
"It became a damned film, but many people consider it a cult film. A great film, which was misunderstood in its time. I believe that interpretation. I insist, I will always insist, that Vereda da Salvação is my best film, no matter what those who were against it said." (Anselmo Duarte, discussing Vereda da Salvação in the book O Homem da Palma de Ouro).

Anselmo Duarte’s Vereda da Salvação (1965) was based on an acclaimed 1964 play by Jorge de Andrade. The plot is based on a real event, which occurred in 1955, in a community in Minas Gerais. A group of peasants, following a mystical leader, arrive on inhabited land and claim it for themselves. The mystical leader begins to preach radical ideas such as, "sin will push the air out of the world and suffering will point to the path to paradise". Soon thereafter, religious and messianic fanaticism takes hold of the peasants, leading to a tragic end for all who inhabit the land.

Vereda da Salvação
was a commercial and critical failure for Duarte upon its original release but has since gone on to gain cult status among many Brazilian cinephiles. The film, shot by legendary Argentine cinematographer Ricardo Aronovich, arguably shows Duarte at the height of his creative powers. To be sure, Vereda da Salvação is Duarte’s most brutal work, underlying his transformation towards darker themes that had begun with O Pagador de Promessas (1962). Despite the current poor digital copy of the film, which does no justice to the film's formal beauty, Vereda da Salvação remains one of the key Brazilian films of the 1960s.
"Virou um filme maldito, mas para muita gente é cult. Um grande filme incompreendido no seu tempo. Acredito na interpretação. Insisto, vou insistir sempre, que Vereda da Salvação é meu melhor filme, digam o que disserem os que foram contra." (Anselmo Duarte, discutindo Vereda da Salvação no livro O Homem da Palma de Ouro). 

O filme Vereda da Salvação (1965), de Anselmo Duarte, foi baseado na aclamada peça de teatro de Jorge de Andrade, de 1964. O enredo é baseado em um acontecimento real, ocorrido em 1955, em uma comunidade de Minas Gerais. Um grupo de camponeses, seguindo um líder místico, chega em terra habitada e a reivindica para si. O líder místico começa a pregar ideias radicais, como "o pecado vai empurrar o ar do mundo e o sofrimento vai indicar a vereda do paraíso". Logo em seguida, o fanatismo religioso e messiânico toma conta dos camponeses, levando a um final trágico para todos os que habitam a terra.

Vereda da Salvação foi um fracasso de público e crítica quando do lançamento original, mas desde então adquiriu status de "cult" entre muitos cinéfilos brasileiros. O filme, com direção de fotografia do lendário fotógrafo argentino Ricardo Aronovich, mostra Duarte no auge de sua capacidade criativa. Com certeza, Vereda da Salvação é a obra mais brutal de Duarte, marcando sua guinada para temas mais obscuros, iniciada com O Pagador de Promessas (1962). Apesar da péssima cópia digital do filme, que não faz justiça a sua beleza formal, Vereda da Salvação continua sendo um dos principais filmes brasileiros dos anos 60.
Directed by Watson Macedo
Translated by Gustavo Menezes

Watson Macedo’s Carnaval no Fogo differs from the other films in this program for not containing street carnaval scenes, but is part of it for a special reason: it is the film that crystallized the formula of the carioca carnival musical film, commonly known as chanchada.

Such formula, mentioned by Sérgio Augusto in the book Este Mundo É Um Pandeiro, was summarized by the filmmaker Carlos Manga: the characters are archetypical and the plots revolve around exchanges (of identities, of objects, etc.), and the narrative was generally structured in the following way: "1) the good guy and the good girl get into trouble; 2) the comical character tries to protect both; 3) the villain takes advantage; 4) the villain loses advantage and is defeated". There is the caveat that sometimes "the good guy, at first serene and candid, turned out, due to the circumstances, to be a smartass."

Besides that, of course, are the obligatory musical numbers, included in the hope of becoming hits in the carnival of that year or the next, depending on the release date. In Carnaval no Fogo we have the premiere of songs by renowned composers such as Nássara and Wilson Batista (Balzaquiana) and Luiz Gonzaga and Humberto Teixeira (Meu brotinho and Me deixe em paz).

Unfortunately, the copy we have suffers from poor sound and image quality and lacks important scenes - notably the one in which Ricardo (Anselmo Duarte) finds the cigarette case lost by the gangster Angel (José Lewgoy) and the classic parody of the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet starring Oscarito and Grande Otelo.
Even so, the film is an important and amusing explanation of the permanence and success of the chanchada genre in Brazilian cinema.
Carnaval no Fogo, de Watson Macedo, destoa dos outros filmes deste programa por não conter cenas de carnaval de rua, mas o integra por uma razão especial: trata-se do filme que cristalizou a fórmula do filme musical carnavalesco carioca, popularmente chamado de chanchada.

Tal fórmula, citada por Sérgio Augusto no livro Este Mundo É Um Pandeiro, foi resumida pelo cineasta Carlos Manga: além dos personagens serem tipos e as tramas girarem em torno de trocas (de identidades, de objetos, etc.), a narrativa se estruturava geralmente da seguinte forma: “1) mocinho e mocinha entram em apuros; 2) cômico tenta proteger os dois; 3)vilão leva vantagem; 4) vilão perde vantagem e é vencido”. Há a ressalva de que, às vezes, “o mocinho, a princípio sereno e cândido, revelava-se, por força das circunstâncias, um espertalhão.”

Além disso, é claro, estão os obrigatórios números musicais, incluídos na esperança de emplacar no carnaval daquele ano ou do seguinte, a depender da data de lançamento. Em Carnaval no Fogo temos a estreia de canções de renomados compositores como Nássara e Wilson Batista (Balzaquiana) e Luiz Gonzaga e Humberto Teixeira (Meu Brotinho e Me deixe em paz).

Infelizmente, a cópia de que dispomos sofre de baixa qualidade de som e imagem e da ausência de cenas importantes - notadamente aquela em que Ricardo (Anselmo Duarte) encontra a cigarreira perdida pelo gângster Anjo (José Lewgoy) e a clássica paródia da cena da sacada de Romeu e Julieta protagonizada por Oscarito e Grande Otelo.

Ainda assim, o filme é uma importante e divertida explicação da permanência e do sucesso do gênero chanchada no cinema brasileiro

Directed by Anselmo Duarte
Translated by Paulo Scarpa
"It became a damned film, but many people consider it a cult film. A great film, which was misunderstood in its time. I believe that interpretation. I insist, I will always insist, that Vereda da Salvação is my best film, no matter what those who were against it said." (Anselmo Duarte, discussing Vereda da Salvação in the book O Homem da Palma de Ouro).

Anselmo Duarte’s Vereda da Salvação (1965) was based on an acclaimed 1964 play by Jorge de Andrade. The plot is based on a real event, which occurred in 1955, in a community in Minas Gerais. A group of peasants, following a mystical leader, arrive on inhabited land and claim it for themselves. The mystical leader begins to preach radical ideas such as, "sin will push the air out of the world and suffering will point to the path to paradise". Soon thereafter, religious and messianic fanaticism takes hold of the peasants, leading to a tragic end for all who inhabit the land.

Vereda da Salvação
was a commercial and critical failure for Duarte upon its original release but has since gone on to gain cult status among many Brazilian cinephiles. The film, shot by legendary Argentine cinematographer Ricardo Aronovich, arguably shows Duarte at the height of his creative powers. To be sure, Vereda da Salvação is Duarte’s most brutal work, underlying his transformation towards darker themes that had begun with O Pagador de Promessas (1962). Despite the current poor digital copy of the film, which does no justice to the film's formal beauty, Vereda da Salvação remains one of the key Brazilian films of the 1960s.
"Virou um filme maldito, mas para muita gente é cult. Um grande filme incompreendido no seu tempo. Acredito na interpretação. Insisto, vou insistir sempre, que Vereda da Salvação é meu melhor filme, digam o que disserem os que foram contra." (Anselmo Duarte, discutindo Vereda da Salvação no livro O Homem da Palma de Ouro). 

O filme Vereda da Salvação (1965), de Anselmo Duarte, foi baseado na aclamada peça de teatro de Jorge de Andrade, de 1964. O enredo é baseado em um acontecimento real, ocorrido em 1955, em uma comunidade de Minas Gerais. Um grupo de camponeses, seguindo um líder místico, chega em terra habitada e a reivindica para si. O líder místico começa a pregar ideias radicais, como "o pecado vai empurrar o ar do mundo e o sofrimento vai indicar a vereda do paraíso". Logo em seguida, o fanatismo religioso e messiânico toma conta dos camponeses, levando a um final trágico para todos os que habitam a terra.

Vereda da Salvação foi um fracasso de público e crítica quando do lançamento original, mas desde então adquiriu status de "cult" entre muitos cinéfilos brasileiros. O filme, com direção de fotografia do lendário fotógrafo argentino Ricardo Aronovich, mostra Duarte no auge de sua capacidade criativa. Com certeza, Vereda da Salvação é a obra mais brutal de Duarte, marcando sua guinada para temas mais obscuros, iniciada com O Pagador de Promessas (1962). Apesar da péssima cópia digital do filme, que não faz justiça a sua beleza formal, Vereda da Salvação continua sendo um dos principais filmes brasileiros dos anos 60.
Directed by Manuel Horácio Gimenez
Nossa Escola de Samba follows a year of preparation for the carnaval parade of the Grêmio Recreativo Escola de Samba Unidos de Vila Isabel, and is based almost as a source-text on the statements of Antônio Fernandes da Silveira, aka "China", one of the founding-members of the samba school (who appears in the film, and whose speech works as off-screen narration throughout). Gimenez' camera penetrates the daily life of the Pau da Bandeira slum, where most members of the School lived, investigating the life of a certain Brazilian social stratum with the community as a microcosm, guided by how the preparations for the carnaval affect their daily lives. The Argentinian filmmaker sums it up by saying that "we see in the film what life is like in the slums and how it changes as carnaval arrives. We follow the Samba School's parade on the Avenue in every detail, and the film ends with its members going back to their daily work once the party is over. The direct image and sound manage to capture the characters very naturally in their everyday environments and their authentic musical expressions." - Introduction from Igor Nolasco
Nossa Escola de Samba acompanha a preparação de um ano para o desfile de carnaval do Grêmio Recreativo Escola de Samba Unidos de Vila Isabel, e é alicerçado quase que como texto-fonte nos depoimentos de Antônio Fernandes da Silveira, o “China”, um dos sócios-fundadores da agremiação (também retratado no filme, e cuja fala funciona como narração em off durante toda a sua extensão). A câmera de Gimenez adentra o cotidiano do morro do Pau da Bandeira, onde vivia uma parte majoritária dos participantes da Escola, e investiga a vida de certo estrato social brasileiro utilizando a comunidade como microcosmo e as mudanças na rotina promovidas pelos preparos para o carnaval como fio condutor. O cineasta argentino resume, dizendo que “vemos no filme como é a vida no morro e como ela se transforma à medida que chega a época do carnaval. Acompanhamos o desfile da Escola na Avenida em todos os detalhes e o filme termina com os participantes voltando ao trabalho cotidiano, uma vez terminada a festa. A imagem e o som direto conseguem captar os personagens com muita naturalidade em seus ambientes cotidianos e suas expressões musicais autênticas”.  - Introdução de Igor Nolasco

Directed by Anselmo Duarte
Translated by Paulo Scarpa
"It became a damned film, but many people consider it a cult film. A great film, which was misunderstood in its time. I believe that interpretation. I insist, I will always insist, that Vereda da Salvação is my best film, no matter what those who were against it said." (Anselmo Duarte, discussing Vereda da Salvação in the book O Homem da Palma de Ouro).

Anselmo Duarte’s Vereda da Salvação (1965) was based on an acclaimed 1964 play by Jorge de Andrade. The plot is based on a real event, which occurred in 1955, in a community in Minas Gerais. A group of peasants, following a mystical leader, arrive on inhabited land and claim it for themselves. The mystical leader begins to preach radical ideas such as, "sin will push the air out of the world and suffering will point to the path to paradise". Soon thereafter, religious and messianic fanaticism takes hold of the peasants, leading to a tragic end for all who inhabit the land.

Vereda da Salvação
was a commercial and critical failure for Duarte upon its original release but has since gone on to gain cult status among many Brazilian cinephiles. The film, shot by legendary Argentine cinematographer Ricardo Aronovich, arguably shows Duarte at the height of his creative powers. To be sure, Vereda da Salvação is Duarte’s most brutal work, underlying his transformation towards darker themes that had begun with O Pagador de Promessas (1962). Despite the current poor digital copy of the film, which does no justice to the film's formal beauty, Vereda da Salvação remains one of the key Brazilian films of the 1960s.
"Virou um filme maldito, mas para muita gente é cult. Um grande filme incompreendido no seu tempo. Acredito na interpretação. Insisto, vou insistir sempre, que Vereda da Salvação é meu melhor filme, digam o que disserem os que foram contra." (Anselmo Duarte, discutindo Vereda da Salvação no livro O Homem da Palma de Ouro). 

O filme Vereda da Salvação (1965), de Anselmo Duarte, foi baseado na aclamada peça de teatro de Jorge de Andrade, de 1964. O enredo é baseado em um acontecimento real, ocorrido em 1955, em uma comunidade de Minas Gerais. Um grupo de camponeses, seguindo um líder místico, chega em terra habitada e a reivindica para si. O líder místico começa a pregar ideias radicais, como "o pecado vai empurrar o ar do mundo e o sofrimento vai indicar a vereda do paraíso". Logo em seguida, o fanatismo religioso e messiânico toma conta dos camponeses, levando a um final trágico para todos os que habitam a terra.

Vereda da Salvação foi um fracasso de público e crítica quando do lançamento original, mas desde então adquiriu status de "cult" entre muitos cinéfilos brasileiros. O filme, com direção de fotografia do lendário fotógrafo argentino Ricardo Aronovich, mostra Duarte no auge de sua capacidade criativa. Com certeza, Vereda da Salvação é a obra mais brutal de Duarte, marcando sua guinada para temas mais obscuros, iniciada com O Pagador de Promessas (1962). Apesar da péssima cópia digital do filme, que não faz justiça a sua beleza formal, Vereda da Salvação continua sendo um dos principais filmes brasileiros dos anos 60.
Directed by Walter Lima Jr.
The Lyre of Delight is a carnaval film made with absolute freedom. The actors were free to improvise or alter their lines and actions, the camerawork adapted iself to the interaction of the actors with real carnavalgoers, wandering through the streets of Rio, and even the editing was done in such way, in five absolutely distinct cuts. There were many possible plots, each focusing on a different character, which could become the main storyline. Something defined the final cut: the death of actress Anecy Rocha, the director’s wife, in an elevator accident. The same freedom goes for how the spectator deal with the films. As director Walter Lima Jr. said in an interview:  “I thought viewers would feel so free while watching it that they could remix it any way they liked. They could explain everything that happens onscreen even according to their mood.”
A Lira do Delírio é um filme carnavalesco feito em absoluta liberdade. Os atores estavam livres para improvisar e alterar diálogos e ações, o trabalho de câmera se moldava às interações dos foliões reais com os atores, passeando pelas ruas da cidade, e a própria montagem do filme foi feita de forma solta, em cinco cortes absolutamente distintos. Havia várias tramas, protagonizadas por personagens diferentes, que poderiam ou não se tornar a principal. Um acontecimento definitivo para o corte final foi a morte da atriz Anecy Rocha, esposa do diretor, num acidente de elevador. E livre também é a forma que o espectador lida com o filme. Como disse o cineasta Walter Lima Jr. em entrevista: “Eu achava que de tal forma o espectador se sentiria livre diante do filme que podia remexê-lo como quisesse. Ele poderá explicar tudo o que se passa na tela até conforme o seu humor.”
Directed by Anselmo Duarte
Translated by Paulo Scarpa
"It became a damned film, but many people consider it a cult film. A great film, which was misunderstood in its time. I believe that interpretation. I insist, I will always insist, that Vereda da Salvação is my best film, no matter what those who were against it said." (Anselmo Duarte, discussing Vereda da Salvação in the book O Homem da Palma de Ouro).

Anselmo Duarte’s Vereda da Salvação (1965) was based on an acclaimed 1964 play by Jorge de Andrade. The plot is based on a real event, which occurred in 1955, in a community in Minas Gerais. A group of peasants, following a mystical leader, arrive on inhabited land and claim it for themselves. The mystical leader begins to preach radical ideas such as, "sin will push the air out of the world and suffering will point to the path to paradise". Soon thereafter, religious and messianic fanaticism takes hold of the peasants, leading to a tragic end for all who inhabit the land.

Vereda da Salvação
was a commercial and critical failure for Duarte upon its original release but has since gone on to gain cult status among many Brazilian cinephiles. The film, shot by legendary Argentine cinematographer Ricardo Aronovich, arguably shows Duarte at the height of his creative powers. To be sure, Vereda da Salvação is Duarte’s most brutal work, underlying his transformation towards darker themes that had begun with O Pagador de Promessas (1962). Despite the current poor digital copy of the film, which does no justice to the film's formal beauty, Vereda da Salvação remains one of the key Brazilian films of the 1960s.
"Virou um filme maldito, mas para muita gente é cult. Um grande filme incompreendido no seu tempo. Acredito na interpretação. Insisto, vou insistir sempre, que Vereda da Salvação é meu melhor filme, digam o que disserem os que foram contra." (Anselmo Duarte, discutindo Vereda da Salvação no livro O Homem da Palma de Ouro). 

O filme Vereda da Salvação (1965), de Anselmo Duarte, foi baseado na aclamada peça de teatro de Jorge de Andrade, de 1964. O enredo é baseado em um acontecimento real, ocorrido em 1955, em uma comunidade de Minas Gerais. Um grupo de camponeses, seguindo um líder místico, chega em terra habitada e a reivindica para si. O líder místico começa a pregar ideias radicais, como "o pecado vai empurrar o ar do mundo e o sofrimento vai indicar a vereda do paraíso". Logo em seguida, o fanatismo religioso e messiânico toma conta dos camponeses, levando a um final trágico para todos os que habitam a terra.

Vereda da Salvação foi um fracasso de público e crítica quando do lançamento original, mas desde então adquiriu status de "cult" entre muitos cinéfilos brasileiros. O filme, com direção de fotografia do lendário fotógrafo argentino Ricardo Aronovich, mostra Duarte no auge de sua capacidade criativa. Com certeza, Vereda da Salvação é a obra mais brutal de Duarte, marcando sua guinada para temas mais obscuros, iniciada com O Pagador de Promessas (1962). Apesar da péssima cópia digital do filme, que não faz justiça a sua beleza formal, Vereda da Salvação continua sendo um dos principais filmes brasileiros dos anos 60.
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

Torture and Extermination: State Violence in Genre Films from the Years of the Military Dictatorship in Brazil

June 4, 2021
Patrícia Machado
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ENG
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.
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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.
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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).
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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.

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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).
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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
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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.

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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.

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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
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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 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.
01
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.
01
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.
01
“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.
01
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

Torture and Extermination: State Violence in Genre Films from the Years of the Military Dictatorship in Brazil

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
IMAGE BY luiz paulo lima

Torture and Extermination: State Violence in Genre Films from the Years of the Military Dictatorship in Brazil

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Torture and Extermination: State Violence in Genre Films from the Years of the Military Dictatorship in Brazil

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Torture and Extermination: State Violence in Genre Films from the Years of the Military Dictatorship in Brazil

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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.
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 film available on Cinelimite, 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.
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.


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.
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.
Sadness lives in the favela
Sometimes it wanders around
Then, happiness
Who was longing, smiles
And plays a little 
While the sadness does not come

(verses from the song "Enquanto a tristeza não vem", by Sérgio Ricardo)

"Esse mundo é meu" is one of the most famous songs in Sérgio Ricardo's repertoire. Composed during the first half of the 1960s in partnership with filmmaker Ruy Guerra, its lyrics are a fighting call for human dignity. The historical context of the song is crossed with the utopian enthusiasm of the time, when the political revolution pervaded the Brazilian cultural field. "Esse mundo é meu" emerged as music that translated the growing spirit of rebellion against dominative social structures. Through the intensity of samba, and with a rhythm contagious to bodies and minds, Sérgio Ricardo's song sought to enunciate the epic dimension of a people who above all wished to achieve their liberation. The first few verses of the song denounce the violence of a society marked by authoritarian deformation. A nameless lyricist, who was a reflection of the historically massacred popular voice, reveals the tragic situation of their existence: " I was a slave in the kingdom and I am / a slave in the world where I am / but in chains no one can love". As a prisoner, submissive to hierarchical structures of power, the human being hasn’t got a chance of being happy. The appeals made by the lyrical self to magical entities, with their "mandingas" and their requests for help to Ogum, the orixá of war, do not result in the desired emancipation. Although it is an essential part of the country's identity, especially popular culture, Afro-Brazilian religiosity fails as an instrument to transform the world's disorders.  

Faced with spiritual beliefs which do not solve dilemmas, faced with the "holy warrior of the forest / (...) [who] does not come," there is only one possible way for the lyricist to fight oppression: men and women must take history into their own hands, take the reins of the future, and become active subjects of their own liberation. As the lyrics of the song announce, it is necessary to "fight". If the statement that the world belongs to human beings is true, as stated countless times in the chorus, then it is solely up to them to transform it. In the strength of his sonorous gesture, of his call to rebellion, Sérgio Ricardo's song is structured as revolutionary pedagogy. By exposing the violence of society, from a dialogue with the musical heritage of popular origin, the lyrics of "Esse mundo é meu" (“This world is mine”) show that political resistance lies mainly in the hands and actions of the oppressed classes themselves. In the few verses of the song, hope lies in human beings, and not the supernatural, as the driving force for the transformation of existence.
A committed artist and intellectual, of a generation that took on the creative craft as an unavoidable commitment to struggle, Sérgio Ricardo provides a humanist philosophy in "Esse mundo é meu” that would set the tone of his creative path through life. Becoming a kind of manifesto, the song was covered by artists such as Nara Leão and Elis Regina. "Esse mundo é meu” contains the essence of an artistic project that Sérgio Ricardo would continue until 2020, when he died at the age of 88. In "Esse mundo é meu" we find the synthesis of a political posture, of a Marxist affiliation, that would structurally influence the works he would make over the course of decades. In his multifaceted artistic output - music, films and paintings - his critical analyses of the country, as well as his aesthetic practices, were almost always formulated with the creative and poetic considerations of the popular class as a starting point. Positioning the cultural wealth, lyricism and dilemmas of the people at the center of his creations, in what he believed to be a commitment of the militant intellectual to the oppressed, Ricardo constantly returned to his revolutionary foundational pedagogy, newly elaborating the bet on human action as a possible path to happiness. In Sérgio Ricardo's works, the people resurface continuously in the form of tragedy and liberation. If on one hand their existence is precarious, marked by misery and violence, on the other hand they possess the energy capable of operating real transformations in the world. The creative essence of Ricardo is in the oscillation between death and life, between limiting social domination and the desire to break free from these chains. His work critically exposes (and explains) oppression, but also longs for (and manifests) its overcoming.

Although Sérgio Ricardo's revolutionary pedagogy is recurrent in his songs, such as "Enquanto a tristeza não vem" and "A fábrica," it seems to me it was in filmmaking, especially that of the fictional genre, that he was able to more fully exercise the didactics behind his commitment to the popular class. In making films in which he used his own songs as lyrical and political commentaries, Ricardo found a place of creation that allowed him to broaden his readings around the dramas faced by the oppressed. The dilemmas and desires of the people, present in the verses of his songs, deepened as critical dramaturgy through his cinematographic creations. This bold narrative, built on the encounter between engaged sound work and imagery of social tragedy, are present as early as the first film he directed. Under the direct influence of Nelson Pereira dos Santos's realistic cinema, especially from Rio, 40 Graus (1954) and Rio, Zona Norte (1957), the short film Menino da Calça Branca (1962) revolves around a favela child who lives under extreme conditions of hardship. In a marginalized geographic space in Rio de Janeiro, a hill which lacks even basic sanitation, a nameless boy who lives with his mother in a small wooden shack dreams of owning a pair of beautiful white pants. In a country of authoritarian heritage like Brazil, where the value of the citizen is measured by his material possessions, such desire is not insignificant. The eager prospect of getting a new outfit, the same one used by a gallant man who strolls through beautiful areas of Rio de Janeiro, goes beyond simple vanity. In the boy's mind, this object of desire may allow him to achieve respect and a place in the world that is not available to him due to his miserable condition.
In Menino da calça branca, signature aspects of Sérgio Ricardo's cinema manifest themselves. From a mise en scène tributary of neorealism, in which the narrative develops in real locations of social exclusion, the film presents not only the perverse effects of oppression on the popular class, but also a lyrical dimension in which glimpses of happiness can be found in the child's dream for a new outfit. Present in the short film as a reflection of the people, as a means of learning about segregationist Brazil, the drama of misery and the desire for happiness would reappear sometime later in Sérgio Ricardo's filmography, more precisely between 1963 and 1964, when he began to direct a new film. In what would be his first feature film where a clear creative convergence with the Cinema Novo movement can be perceived, Sérgio Ricardo would return to the central components of his revolutionary pedagogy, this time giving it greater tragic force. With a narrative that serves as a call to struggle, of summoning the human being to break with the shackles of history, it seems no coincidence that Sérgio Ricardo's new film was titled Esse mundo é meu (This World is Mine), the same name as the song in which he had expressed the general principles of his political philosophy. In this work, made under the effect of utopian euphoria, still at a historical moment in which it seemed possible to emancipate Brazil, music and cinema come together as an act of rebellion against the deleterious state of things.
In the film Esse mundo é meu, Sérgio Ricardo's camera once again enters the geographic space of a Rio favela, this time to tell two stories revolving around the dramas of the popular class. Through parallel plots that never cross but complement each other as a diagnosis of social misery, the feature film critically reveals the daily tragedy experienced by the Brazilian people. In one of the plots, the protagonist is Toninho. A black boy who lives in a depleted shack, the main breadwinner of his mother and sick stepfather, Toninho works as a shoeshine in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Despite the hard limitations that his difficult life impose on him, Toninho is a dreamer. Similar to the child of Menino da Calça Branca, who also lives in a situation of material poverty, Toninho projects that if he could obtain a common consumer good, he would have the possibility of being happy. Gathering money day by day, little by little, he wants to buy a bicycle to win over Zuleica, a young woman who doesn't date boys who can only walk as their means of transportation. Guaranteeing social status for those who have nothing, a simple bicycle becomes the epicenter of Toninho’s desire to break free from his dire situation. While kneeling on the ground shining shoes in a subordinate position to his clients, the character gets lost in daydreams in which he imagines being on two wheels next to his beloved Zuleica. In Toninho's narrative, the desire of the people emerges as a promise, a glimpse of happiness reserved for the future. Although Esse mundo é meu can be criticized for portraying Zuleica as a stereotype of the futile woman, the film never stumbles into a political moralism that considers the particular desires of the people less important. In Sérgio Ricardo's feature film, the popular class dreams of revolution, but also of conquering the challenge to own a bicycle.

It is particularly in the second plot, with tragic dimensions, where revolutionary desire lies most. Unlike Toninho's narrative, where the happiness of being in a relationship emerges as projection, Pedro's story begins with joy. Pedro is a white man working in a small steel plant, and his narrative begins with the happy celebrations of his conjugal life next to Luzia. During a walk through Rio de Janeiro, where they go to the theater, the amusement park and the beach, the two celebrate the fact that they will live together in a shack located in the favela. The atmosphere of contentment, however, lasts for a short duration. Despite their passion, the couple faces severe financial difficulties that culminate in terrible consequences. With no expectations for the future, and faced with Pedro's failure to achieve a salary increase with his boss, Luzia decides to abort a newly-discovered pregnancy. For Luzia, there is no sense in bringing a child into the world who will go hungry. In the midst of a mise en scène that borrows stylistic elements of horror, Luzia undergoes an illegal abortion, a high-risk operation carried out inside a dirty and unhealthy shack. Pierced by twisted sewing needles during a violent storm that suddenly hits the area, the character meets an agonizing death. In Esse mundo é meu, Luzia's tragedy synthesizes the social misery faced by the Brazilian popular class. Were it not for the situation of misery, were it not for the poverty imposed by the powerful, she would probably be alive next to her son. Slaves in the world they are living in, and chained by oppression, these people have no chance of being happy. This political pedagogy, the essence of Sérgio Ricardo's art, is found in several passages of the feature film. It is present in a melancholic speech by Pedro, in which the people's joy is compared to the ephemeral taste of cotton candy, and it reappears in the sequence in which the couple rides a Ferris wheel, a moment in which the fun is ruined by the sadness chanted in the song "A fábrica". In the second plot of Esse mundo é meu, the message is evident: in an unjust society that is socially divided, the people are closer to tragedy than to happiness.

Because of this, the dual narratives are necessary. In Esse Mundo é Meu, the death of Luzia not only provokes critical reflection about the terrible effects of oppression, but it is also the last straw that impels Pedro to revolt against the patronal class. Although the call to struggle was already being hinted at throughout the course of the film, especially when the narrative is invaded by fragments of the 1963 play As aventuras de Ripió Lacraia (The Adventures of Ripió Lacraia), the effective act of insurrection only materializes after Luzia's disappearance. In Sérgio Ricardo's revolutionary pedagogy, popular tragedy and political resistance coexist, the former becoming the cause for the emergence of the latter. The sequence that closes Esse mundo é meu, a virtuous swirl of the camera capturing Toninho's joy in Zuleica's arms, seems to indicate a possible restitution of happiness, an allegory of a utopian future. But this future will only come if the workers, summoned by Pedro, really take possession of their future by coming together against the patronal class. Between 1963 and 1964, when Sérgio Ricardo placed this revolutionary gesture in his feature film, conducted by the character he plays himself, Ricardo was not alone in the Brazilian cinematographic panorama. This revolt that emerges from tragedy, an ideological consciousness acquired as a result of the pain of the world, is a recurring theme in films like Barravento (1962), by Glauber Rocha, Pedreira de São Diogo (1962), by Leon Hirszman, Ganga Zumba (1963-64), by Carlos Diegues, or Os Fuzis (1963), by Ruy Guerra. Although Sérgio Ricardo is not considered by popular historiographers to be a member of Cinema Novo, perhaps because his central trajectory is located in the musical field, Esse mundo é meu has an intense dialogue with the political and stylistic universe of this cinematographic movement. It is worth remembering that in 1964 Ricardo would compose the theme song for the film Deus e o diabo na terra do sol with Glauber Rocha, a song where we can find another return to his foundational pedagogy, to the idea that critical learning can lead to changing of social reality. As the lyrics of the song state: if the lesson that the world is wrong, that history belongs to man, is well understood, the next step will be the revolt that will make the "sertão become the sea," that will make the aridity of existence finally become a utopia.

In spite of all the desires formulated in the first films of Cinema Novo, including those made by Sérgio Ricardo, the political transformation would not materialize in Brazil. In the complete opposite of the desired utopia, on the reverse side of the dream, the country would see the implantation of a military dictatorship starting in April 1964, an occupation of power by the far right that would last at least until 1985. Represented on the screens as a revolutionary agent, through a romantic artistic imagery, the popular class would not offer resistance to the coup that imploded the fragile foundations of Brazilian democracy. In a historical context of suppressing freedom, of pulverizing the ideological projects of the left, the directors of Cinema Novo would discover the enormous distance between social reality and the utopian images that had populated their films. In part, what had served as the essence of their creative processes was now an illusion. Through self-criticism, with a certain amount of bitterness, the filmmakers would realize that their portrayal of the people, even constituting denunciations of misery, did little to match the real political condition of the oppressed class. Without escaping populism and revolutionary euphoria, they had projected images on the screens which were more attuned to their desires for engagement than to the complexities and contradictions of the world. Faced with such a fracture, Cinema Novo, in the second half of the 1960s, would change its thematic axis. In the first years of the dictatorship, taking the representations of the people from the center of the works, the directors would turn mainly to narratives about the failure of their political project, about the melancholy of militants and intellectuals of the left in authoritarian times, as is noticeable in the films O desafio (1965), by Paulo César Saraceni, Terra em transe (1967), by Glauber Rocha, and O bravo guerreiro (1968), by Gustavo Dahl. Curiously, even though directly influenced by Cinema Novo, Sérgio Ricardo would not accompany such thematic displacement, remaining firm in his artistic commitment to the popular class. Even if his cinema never returned to the previous revolutionary triumphalism, now abandoned in the face of the perversities of history, he would remain faithful to the political pedagogy in which the people, in their tragic condition, emerge on the screen as a force of rupture against oppression. Although there is a change of tone in Sérgio Ricardo's following films, a move away from the utopian romanticism that has collapsed, at the same time Ricardo's commitment to the oppressed class is kept alive, with the bet that in it lies the possible power of transformation.

Such permanence is present in Juliana do amor perdido, a film Sérgio Ricardo made in 1970. In his second feature film, Ricardo leaves behind the geographical space of the favela, moving his camera towards the sea. In the interior of an island cut off from the world, where fishing is a means of subsistence for a beach community, the popular class emerges in the beginning of the narrative wrapped by the plastic beauty of a religious ritual. From a mystical ceremony in praise of the deities, composed of songs, drumming and gestures of worship, the local people gather to remove the fish that will serve them as food and merchandise. The ritual, with a sublime tone, derives from the aesthetic magnificence of the mise en scène, and gives prominence to the character who will become the protagonist of the film. A young woman endowed with great beauty, an element of mediation with the mystical plane, Juliana is considered by the town as the ultimate incarnation of holiness. The initial atmosphere of wonder, however, will be short-lived in Sérgio Ricardo's second feature film. Behind the beauty of the ceremony and the beauty of popular worship, there is a terrible violence that contaminates the lives of the islanders. As in Glauber Rocha's 1962 film Barravento, the religious dimension in Juliana do amor perdido serves as a power mechanism for alienating the people and maintaining social hierarchies of oppression. 

What in principle should be synonymous with protection and giving, the supposed divinity existing in Juliana's body is presented in the plot as a political instrument for the containment of popular dissatisfactions. Nourishing faith and devotion around the girl, whose sanctity turns out to be false, her father exercises control over the fishing community, guaranteeing benefits through spurious agreements with an American who owns the island. Unlike Esse mundo é meu, the popular class emerges in Juliana do amor perdido not only as a victim of an unjust society, but also as an agent of domination that turns against their own peers. In a historical context marked by failing utopias, just as Ruy Guerra had done in A queda (1976), the representations of the people, now fractured between suffering and serving the powerful, become more complex. In the world of Juliana do amor perdido, in which the island's village inhabitants are left to alienation, the one who suffers most is Juliana. For being aware of her religious falsehood, for being the object of cult and male erotic voracity, and for not accepting to continue as a plaything in the hands of her own father, the character desires to break with the imprisonment imposed by existence. In Juliana's longing lies the founding political pedagogy of Sérgio Ricardo. Chained by the authoritarian structure of the world, slave to the kingdom of magic and men, the character will not be able to find happiness.

For Juliana, the chance to overcome this imprisonment will be born from an encounter with a train conductor, a man who controls the means of locomotion necessary for her to leave a universe taken by violence and oppression. The passion she begins to feel for Faísca (Spark), whose surname holds in itself the power of rupture, originates not only as sexual desire, but above all as expectation of a future in which she can shake off the enormous weight of being a false saint. In the course of her escape from her new partner's side, Juliana will finally find the chance to experience a life free from the social ties that exist in the fishing community. Like the protagonists of Esse mundo é meu, Toninho who dances next to Zuleica or Pedro who has fun with Luzia in an amusement park, Juliana sees the possible materialization of joy far from the authoritarian machinery of society. If structures of power were not causing the removal of compassion in the world, the popular class could be happy. In a moment of great lyrical intensity, when Faísca and Juliana find themselves alone on a deserted beach, the sea that used to burst as a space of domination, the sea in which the character needed to dress up as a cheating saint, now resurfaces as a metaphorical place of pleasure and rupture. Although the waters no longer contain the revolutionary allegory present in Deus e o diabo na terra do sol (1964), where they emerged as an epic symbol of an entire people in emancipation, they are re-energized in Sérgio Ricardo's film narrative, appearing as a welcoming space for a female in search of liberation. If historical time was still that of pre-1964 utopian romanticism, if the country were not hostage to a military dictatorship in 1970, perhaps Juliana do amor perdido would conclude here. Perhaps, as in the final image of Esse mundo é meu, the narrative would conclude with Juliana and Faísca in the fullness of their happiness, with a mise en scène lyrically evoking the expectation of a libertarian future.

Such an outlook, however, is not held for the couple. After a series of narrative twists and turns, Juliana will again be imprisoned by the fishing community, whose alienation turns into unmeasured violence against this "saint" who should guarantee the protection of the village and not abandon it. Treated as a traitor, imprisoned by fascist religious beliefs, Juliana will face harsh aggressions imposed on her body. During a new attempt to escape, because the burning desire for rupture remains, Juliana will meet her final destiny. In despair, pursued by the men and women of the community, she is run over by the train guided by Faísca, killed precisely by the means of transportation that should offer her the paths to possible redemption. Under the effect of the historical context of the military dictatorship, when Brazilian social contradictions were intensified, Sérgio Ricardo's cinema no longer finds the previous disposition to idealize utopian futures. In authoritarian and militarized times, the artist updates the political pedagogy present in the essence of his creative work. As a result, Juliana do Amor Perdido is a film that teaches us about the mechanisms of oppression that influence the popular class. Another example of the ideological commitment to the oppressed, the feature highlights the revolutionary energy that emanates from the people, the vitality that leads them to persistent attempts to break with the system of domination. However, even if happiness materializes, an overwhelming tragic dimension emerges in the film, a destruction reinforced by prejudices, economic interests and hierarchies of power. The life and death of the popular class, their suffering and the strength of their resistance, founding creative elements of Sergio Ricardo's art, resurface in Juliana's narrative of lost love. Updated, political pedagogy teaches that times are tragic, but that the people, as a social class, continues to contain the desiring power of rupture.

And it is precisely the life and death of the people that re-emerge, with great poetic intensity, in the third feature film directed by Sérgio Ricardo. Based on a script originally written in 1968, but taken to the screen only in 1974, A noite do espantalho (The Night of the Scarecrow) moves the filmmaker's creative process towards another geographic space of exclusion, towards the northeastern sertão. It is there that the popular class faces a life crossed by hunger and submission to the authoritarian forces of colonialism. If until then Sérgio Ricardo's filmography had been dedicated to representations around the sea and the urban favela, localizing in these territories the oscillation between tragedy and the resistance of the oppressed, now his cameras turn to one of the most impoverished regions of the country, a scenario of great material precariousness also present in the central films of Cinema Novo such as Vidas Secas (1963) and Os Fuzis (1963). Continuing the filmmaker's artistic project, expanding it towards the dilemmas found in the interior of the Northeast, A noite do espantalho brings back to the scene, as a new act of engagement, a political pedagogy mediated by the miserable existential condition of the Brazilian people.
Moving to the sertão (hinterland), a choice that is not fortuitous for a militant artist, Sérgio Ricardo would elect the city of Nova Jerusalém (New Jerusalem), located in the northeastern state of Pernambuco, as the setting for his third feature-length film. Nova Jerusalém is a city that was artificially built in 1968 with buildings that attempt to imitate the architecture of ancient Jerusalem described in biblical texts. This location is where the narrative of A noite do espantalho has become known in Brazil, it is a space of Catholic celebration in which recurring staging of The Passion of Christ takes place. Considered the largest open-air theater in the world, an icon of Christian power in Latin America, Nova Jerusalém has become a territory of religious pilgrimage where hundreds of actors and faithful gather annually to stage the suffering faced by Jesus Christ in his final moments of life. However, by placing his film in this symbolic location, of intimate coexistence between kitsch and the sacred, Sergio Ricardo was in no way mobilized by any form of respect for Catholic devotion. Keeping firm in his critical disposition against religious alienation, a position already present in Juliana do Amor Perdido, the artist borrows a locality impregnated by faith without the intention of promoting celebrations, but with the perspective of operating political ruptures in a space that is socially considered as symbolic for the devoted. By filming in Nova Jerusalem, in the same territory where emotional commotion comes from the via crucis and spiritual resurrection, the filmmaker refutes a reenactment of the last days of Christ, replacing it with another tragedy that has nothing to do with the ascetic dimensions of Catholicism. By appropriating the sanctified city, its streets and buildings, the artist removes the original Christian component, putting in its place an anguish directly related to the social reality of the country. In A noite do espantalho, in a movement of materialistic subversion, Jesus is removed from the scene. Contrary to religious expectations, Nova Jerusalém becomes the stage for another passion, that which involves the anguish and suffering of the Brazilian popular class. In Sérgio Ricardo's political theatricality, in his film of engagement, what is on display is The Passion of the Sertanejo People.

In the film A noite do espantalho, the most daring work in Sérgio Ricardo's filmography, the story about the passion that surrounds the oppressed is built through an aesthetic experience endowed with great inventiveness. Taking up what is in the essence of his creative work, a stylistic project composed from convergences with the universe of popular art, in his third feature film Ricardo seeks to establish a poetic encounter with the musicality that comes from the northeastern songbook. If before, in the film Esse mundo é meu, the samba emerged as a cultural expression related to Rio de Janeiro's dilemmas, in dialogue with the music existing in the hills and slums, now, in his new film, Sérgio Ricardo seeks creative approaches with sound roots linked to the sertaneja identity. The battle song, the cordel poetry, the wheel dance and the work songs, among other rhythmic matrices of northeastern origin, cross the narrative totality of A noite do espantalho as an operatic rhapsody that reveals the lyrical dimensions, the tragedy and the acts of survival belonging to the popular class. In the form of a passion of the people, Sérgio Ricardo's political pedagogy, the foundation of his filmmaking, is now invested in a songbook that becomes a thread of critical learning about the structures of oppression that exist in the Brazilian sertão. 

From beginning to end, through sung dialogues, the film borrows traditions of popular musicality, modernizing them in order to narrate the misadventures that involve the oppressed in the interior of the Northeastern region. Like an opera of the people, a cinematographic musical about the adversities of the world, this feature film by Sérgio Ricardo puts on the screen the figure of a singer, an enigmatic scarecrow who is there to tell an episode of suffering and resistance that took place inside a small village in the backlands. Performed by Alceu Valença, who would become a nationally renowned composer and singer, the scarecrow crosses the film as a figure that holds the memory of popular misfortunes, as someone who wishes to share with the viewers his knowledge about the condition lived by the miserable class. Just as in Deus e o diabo na terra do sol, fulfilling a poetic-pedagogical function, the singer finds himself here to teach about the precariousness of existence. In announcing that his story is the fruit of truth and lies, of a fictional vein that comes directly from reality, the scarecrow invites us to become aware of the world, hoping that perhaps some form of "use and good profit" will result from it. It is from the voice of this storyteller, owner of great wisdom, that the narrative linked to the passion of the people of the sertanejo (countryside) sprouts.

In A noite do espantalho, the story presented by the singer reveals the authoritarian power relations existing in the Brazilian Northeast. In the interior of a sertanejo village, in a region severely affected by the dry climate, the popular class lives its days under the aggressive domination of the colonialist elite. A rich landowner who is the ultimate symbol of despotism, the Fragoso Colonel exercises unbridled control over the local population, forcing them to live in an oppressive state of near slavery. Subjected to the demands of power, imprisoned by the servitude imposed on them, the oppressed find themselves enveloped in suffering marked by hunger and material misery. In this universe fractured by social division, where the violence of the Jagunços imposes colonialist authority, the people seek refuge for their daily hardships in religious mysticism. However, as in Juliana do amor perdido, salvation through faith presents itself as something illusory. Despite the promises made by a messianic leader, by this figure so recurrent in the imaginary sertanejo, the miracle of redemption fails. With great frustration, the people watch the wreck of their expectations when the transforming rain does not arrive, anguishing themselves in face of the religious failure that foresaw the end of misery through the waters coming from the sky. 

Faced with spiritual beliefs that do not solve the world's contradictions, acquiring political consciousness about its miserable condition, the town will seek to build an act of resistance against Colonel Fragoso. As is typical in Sérgio Ricardo's cinema, in the essence of his critical pedagogy, the tragic dimension of daily life impels the oppressed to try to break the system of domination. Once again, the foundational ideas behind the song "Esse mundo é meu" (“This world is mine”) manifests itself. To be happy, to achieve their emancipation, the popular class needs to take history into their hands, overcoming forms of alienation that impede transformative political actions. The power coming from the oppressed, however, will also fail as a mechanism of confrontation against the abuses of colonialist power. Even if a political force resides in the people that never extinguishes itself, a desire for freedom that mobilizes its existence, their attempt at resistance will be massacred in the narrative of A noite do espantalho. In the face of insurgencies coming from the miserable, who refuse to leave their lands, Colonel Fragoso orders the annihilation of the rebels. Under the watchful eye of a dragon, symbol of capitalist colonialism in Brazilian lands, a group of jagunços exterminate the sertanejos, putting an end to the rebellion that had been rising. 

As in Sérgio Ricardo's other films, in A noite do espantalho, popular happiness materializes in moments when authoritarian forces are distant. Again, when the expectation of a break with the domination of oppression is drawn, a lyricism crosses the dramatic fabric as a manifestation of the joy coming from the oppressed. Especially in the sequences in which the sertanejos oppose local power, proposing the construction of an autonomous community to the colonialist system, contentment emerges in the form of a liberative power that emanates directly from the people. In A noite do espantalho, Sérgio Ricardo puts the most beautiful utopian images of his filmography on the screen. This materialization of happiness is especially evident in the moments in which the community is transformed into a collectivity, building a new village in resistance to the colonel. With a documentary-esque mise en scène, accompanied by a music of exaltation for the popular communion, the sertanejos come together and collectivize their work instruments with the intention of building the houses where they intend to live. The project of creating new homes is fulfilled from materials such as stirred clay, cut wood and tree leaves. While the mutirão (community) is being developed, something unique happens. For the only time in Sérgio Ricardo's fictional cinema, the film crew manifests itself on screen, capturing with their microphones and cameras the people's libertarian action. In a great communal act, the hands that built the houses and those that register the world share the joy of living without boundaries. The utopian power emerges in the fictional scene, but also behind the scenes, bringing together the act of artistic creation with the communal creation from the popular class. The message, put between the lines of the film, seems clear: were it not for existing power structures, this would be a possible life. In these images of plenitude, the existential bet of Ricardo resides. Unfortunately, as before in Juliana do amor perdido, the authoritarian reaction buries the glimpse of a possible future. In the form of a musical passion, Sérgio Ricardo's political pedagogy manifests itself once again, bringing forth a critical teaching about the world's suffering. 

In A noite do espantalho, however, Ricardo’s political pedagogy becomes more somber due to the real life authoritarian condition found in Brazilian society. In Sérgio Ricardo's third feature film, the mechanisms of oppression do not materialize on the scene solely from the violent actions of villainous characters like Colonel Fragoso or the capitalist colonizing dragon. In the film, through a more complex approach to the authoritarian (de)formations of the country, the Northeastern colonialism emerges as a structural dimension capable of corrupting, even, the spirit of the popular class itself. Distant from the revolutionary purity that resided in Esse mundo é meu, in which the people were represented exclusively as victims of society, in the film A noite do espantalho Sérgio Ricardo makes an effort to show that the sertanejos, in the midst of miserliness, are hostages to a system of domination that recurrently turns them into instruments of violence at the service of the economic elite. As a result of the world's structural breakdowns, a shattering of the popular class emerges in the dramatic fabric. 

In A noite do espantalho, the protagonist of the passion sung by the scarecrow is a man of popular origin who finds himself fractured between two distinct personalities. On the one hand, amidst the disorientation that runs through him, he appears on stage as the cowboy Zé Tulão. Performed by actor Gilson Moura, Tulão becomes the main political leader who stimulates the town to resistance. Owner of great wisdom, holder of conscience about the world, he shares his critical knowledge with the other sertanejos, impelling them to take possession of the colonel's lands as an act of rebellion against the mechanisms of oppression. On the other hand, becoming the dark face of the same man, the protagonist of A noite do espantalho also materializes as the jagunço Zé do Cão. Now played by José Pimentel, Zé do Cão carries the fate of death, representing the colonialist corruption that leads the popular class to become a murder weapon in the hands of the powerful. In his jagunça incarnation, he leads the genocide that exterminates the rebellious village. Fractured in two, crossed by existential instability, the protagonist of the film exists as both the personality of light and darkness. A metaphor of a people imprisoned by colonialist rule, oscillating between libertarian desire and servitude to power, he translates the complex effects of a society perverted by authoritarianism. Although he seeks a rupture like the cowboy Zé Tulão, protecting the transforming power of the popular class, the character cannot escape the authoritarian contamination, becoming also the jagunço Zé do Cão, assassin of his own brothers. The storm experienced by the protagonist will only end with his death, when, to the delight of Colonel Fragoso, one personality ends up annulling the existence of the other. For Maria do Grotão, a woman in love with the two identities of a single man, she finally only mourns for the one who carried the cross of shattering in life. In A noite do espantalho, the sertanejo passion endows the most complex political pedagogy of Sergio Ricardo. The imprisonment of the popular, which prevents him from happiness, is more perverse than appearances dictate. This is the teaching transmitted by the film. Suffering does not come only from hunger, material precariousness, or the tragedy associated with death. It also resides in the oppressive system that contaminates the popular class, making it exist as victim and tormentor at the same time. Even if the joy materializes temporarily in A noite do espantalho, as a lyrical glimpse of a utopian desire, the structural corruption that affects the people annihilates any possibilities of redemption.

In A noite do espantalho, Sérgio Ricardo’s updated political pedagogy also lies in the singular treatment given by him to the universe of the northeastern sertão. Without a shadow of a doubt, the feature film presents an intense dialogue with the cultural imaginary that is present in films of the first phase of Cinema Novo or in literary works written by authors such as Jorge Amado, José Lins do Rêgo and Graciliano Ramos. The passion sung by the scarecrow directly refers to the narrative heritages, especially of realistic bias, which represented the sertanejo condition through typical elements such as religious mysticism, colonialist authoritarianism, the geography of the drought or the miserable situation of the popular class. Becoming heir to committed artistic traditions, focused on denouncing the power hierarchies in the Northeast, A noite do espantalho continues a fictional imaginary that has positioned at the center of its creative processes the class conflict existing in one of the most impoverished regions of Brazil. To this tradition, however, Sérgio Ricardo adds other formal components that turn to the contemporaneity of the 1970s, endowing the sertanejo tragedy with a political and historical actuality. Enjoying great poetic freedom, the filmmaker adds aesthetic elements to the northeastern passion that freely refer to the counter-cultural experiences that were developing in the country in the wake of the persecutions and censorship of the military dictatorship. 

Although Sérgio Ricardo has never been an artist of counterculture, and to defend such a bond would be a mistake, in A noite do espantalho he sought to establish points of contact with the experimentalism coming from the aesthetic vanguards existing during his time. In this sense, the mise en scène of the feature film enhances the filmmaker's political pedagogy by incorporating, into the traditional sertanejo imaginary, film forms beyond the realism that usually represented the suffering of the northeastern popular class. In the film, there are countless moments when this happens. There is the renewal of the popular songbook, the transformation of the jagunços into a gang of stylized bikers, the setting of a Tropicalist colonizing dragon, the representation of the colonist space as a modern bureaucratic apparatus or the materialization of an arena stage as a theatrical locus where Zé Tulão faces his double Zé do Cão. Updated in its aesthetic potency, the mise en scène of A noite do espantalho shows that the sertanejo passion is not something belonging to the past, but an anguish that continues to exist in the historical time of the 1970s. It is, in my opinion, a recurring effort of Sérgio Ricardo's cinematographic creation: to show, from his political pedagogy, that the oscillation between life and death, between tragedy and resistance, remains the existential condition of the oppressed until the authoritarianism of Brazilian society is overcome. Although the years pass, and countless acts of rebellion break out, suffering returns as cyclic violence that affects the life of the people.

In this sense, considering the permanence of popular movements throughout time (creating problems that are still insoluble in the year 2020), it is not surprising that Sérgio Ricardo has returned to the political pedagogy that is at the essence of his artistic creation in his final films. Despite the long hiatus that Ricardo underwent in making fictional cinema, not directing a new film until the decade of 2010, his eventual reencounter with filmmaking marked a resumption of engaged narratives where the representation of the people emerges as a transit between tragedy and resistance. In the short film Pé no chão (2014), but especially in the feature Bandeira de Retalhos (2018), works in which Sérgio Ricardo returns to film in the hills of Rio de Janeiro, pedagogy resurfaces as critical teaching about the disconcerts of contemporary Brazil. Once again, as can be seen in Bandeira de Retalhos's narrative, the lyrical and political power of the people, which materializes as an act of resistance against the expropriation of a favela, culminates in a terrible tragedy that reminds us of the imprisonment of the oppressed to the power structures existing in the country. In spite of the victory against the patrimonialist sanctity, which expels the slum dwellers from their homes in the name of real estate interests, happiness is fractured by the authoritarian violence that contaminates the existence of the popular class. 

Transiting between the hills of Rio de Janeiro, the sea and the hinterland, primordial geographic spaces of the works made by Cinema Novo, Sérgio Ricardo's films manifest the coherence of an engaged artist who maintained, until the end of his life, an ideological position against the mechanisms of oppression present in Brazilian society. Keeping firmly within the ideology forged between the 1950s and 1960s, from which comes the idea that the revolutionary artist is the one who indulges in an organic pact with the popular class, Sérgio Ricardo launched himself into an aesthetic and philosophical commitment marked by readings about the dilemmas faced by the oppressed. In his cinema, which can be seen as representative of cultural Marxism, the people have always emerged as a struggling and suffering collective, as the materialization of a militant gaze that has spread specific representations of national fractures to the world. In accordance with his political thinking, in intimate contact with critical materialism, the artist imbued his work with an cinematic engagement where the popular, manifesting itself on screen, emerged above all as a social class. This is where Sérgio Ricardo's creative essence resided, it was his way of acting and being in the world. Always returning to the primordial questions which informed his thought process, to the lesson that "no one can love in chains", the artist forged a pedagogy that he believed capable of raising political awareness among audience spectators. Seeing Sérgio Ricardo's films allows us to get in touch with a cinema that never gave up its utopian desire, even though it inscribed (and evidenced) the tragedy present in daily life in Brazil. His work was constituted from the encounter between an artist of Marxist heritage and the popular class, his militancy was consolidated alongside the oppressed, and he bet on a pact that attempted to bring about real transformations in the world. For Sérgio Ricardo, from the beginning to the end of his trajectory, the belief that such transformations were possible became the foundation of his process of artistic creation. In this process, he found not only the paths of his cinema, but a humanist philosophy that mobilized his entire existence. There is no possibility for life, the artist would say, without a tireless desire for resistance.

Tristeza mora na favela
Às vezes ela sai por aí
Felicidade então
Que era saudade sorri
Brinca um pouquinho
Enquanto a tristeza não vem

(versos da canção “Enquanto a tristeza não vem”, de Sérgio Ricardo)
“Esse mundo é meu” é uma das canções mais célebres do repertório de Sérgio Ricardo. Composta na primeira metade dos anos 1960, em parceria com o cineasta Ruy Guerra, sua letra é um chamamento à luta em prol da dignidade humana. Em um contexto histórico atravessado pelo entusiasmo utópico, no qual o imaginário da revolução política impregnava organicamente o campo cultural brasileiro, “Esse mundo é meu” surgiu como música a traduzir um espírito crescente de rebeldia contra as estruturas sociais de dominação. Por meio da intensidade sonora do samba, com um ritmo a contagiar corpos e mentes, a canção de Sérgio Ricardo procurava enunciar a dimensão épica de um povo que acima de tudo deseja alcançar sua libertação. À maneira de um ensinamento político, os versos iniciais da música denunciam a violência decorrente de uma sociedade marcada pela deformação autoritária. Um eu-lírico sem nome, expressão da voz popular historicamente massacrada, desvela a situação trágica de seu existir: “Fui escravo no reino e sou / escravo no mundo em que estou / mas acorrentado ninguém pode amar”. Na condição de prisioneiro, submisso às estruturas hierárquicas de poder, o ser humano não encontra a possibilidade de ser feliz. Os apelos lançados pelo eu-lírico às entidades mágicas, com suas “mandingas” e seus pedidos de ajuda ao orixá da guerra Ogum, não resultam na emancipação desejada. Ainda que seja parte essencial da identidade do país, sobretudo da cultura popular, a religiosidade afro-brasileira falha como instrumento transformador das desordens do mundo.

Diante do espiritual que não resolve os dilemas, face ao “santo guerreiro da floresta / (...) [que] não vem”, apresenta-se para o eu-lírico um único caminho possível de combate à opressão: é preciso que os homens e as mulheres tomem a história em suas mãos, que assumam as rédeas do futuro, tornando-se sujeitos ativos de sua própria libertação. Conforme anuncia a letra da canção, faz-se necessário “brigar”. Sendo verdadeira a afirmação de que o mundo pertence ao ser humano, como repete inúmeras vezes o refrão da música, então cabe unicamente a ele transformá-lo. Na força de seu gesto sonoro, de seu chamamento à rebeldia, a canção de Sérgio Ricardo estrutura-se como pedagogia revolucionária. Ao expor a violência encontrada na sociedade, a partir de um diálogo com a herança musical de origem popular, a letra de “Esse mundo é meu” evidencia que a resistência política encontra-se sobretudo nas mãos e nas ações da própria classe oprimida. Nos poucos versos presentes na canção, a aposta reside no ser humano, e não no sobrenatural, como força motriz para a transformação da existência. 
Artista e intelectual engajado, pertencente a uma geração que assumiu o fazer criativo como compromisso incontornável de luta, Sérgio Ricardo imprimiu em “Esse mundo é meu” uma filosofia humanista que conduziria seus passos criativos por toda a vida. Tornando-se uma espécie de manifesto, gravada por nomes como Nara Leão e Elis Regina, sua canção contém a essência de um projeto artístico que ele manteria firme até 2020, quando faleceu aos 88 anos de idade. Em “Esse mundo é meu” encontra-se a síntese de uma postura política, de filiação marxista, que marcaria estruturalmente as obras realizadas durante décadas por Sérgio Ricardo. Em sua arte múltipla – músicas, filmes e pinturas –, as leituras críticas do país, assim como as práticas estéticas, quase sempre foram formuladas a partir de aproximações criativas e poéticas com a classe popular. Posicionando a riqueza cultural, o lirismo e os dilemas do povo no centro de suas criações, no que acreditava ser um compromisso do intelectual militante com os oprimidos, o artista retornou constantemente à sua pedagogia revolucionária fundacional, reelaborando a aposta na ação humana como caminho possível para a felicidade. Nas obras de Sérgio Ricardo, numa roda viva sem fim, o popular ressurge continuamente como tragédia e libertação. Se por um lado o seu existir é precário, marcado pela miséria e pela violência, por outro é nele que está contida a energia capaz de operar transformações reais no mundo. É na oscilação entre morte e vida, entre a dominação social que aprisiona e o desejo de romper com as amarras, que reside a essência criativa do artista. Um projeto de arte que expõe (e explica) criticamente a opressão, mas que também almeja (e manifesta) a sua superação.

Embora a pedagogia revolucionária de Sérgio Ricardo se apresente recorrentemente em suas canções, a exemplo de músicas como “Enquanto a tristeza não vem” e “A fábrica”, parece-me que foi na produção cinematográfica, sobretudo naquela de gênero ficcional, que o artista conseguiu exercitar com maior plenitude a didática por trás de seu compromisso com a classe popular. Na realização de filmes, em obras nas quais utilizou as próprias canções como comentários líricos e políticos, o artista encontrou um lugar de criação que lhe permitiu ampliar as leituras em torno dos dramas enfrentados pelos oprimidos. Os dilemas e os desejos do povo, presentes nos versos das músicas, aprofundaram-se como dramaturgia crítica em sua criação cinematográfica. Tal adensamento narrativo, construído no encontro entre sonoridade engajada e imagens da tragédia social, já aparecia no primeiro filme dirigido por Sérgio Ricardo. Sob influência direta do cinema realista de Nelson Pereira dos Santos, especialmente de Rio, quarenta graus (1954) e Rio, Zona Norte (1957), o curta-metragem Menino da calça branca (1961) gira em torno de uma criança favelada que vive sob condições extremas de penúria. Em um espaço geográfico marginalizado, morro carioca onde não existe sequer saneamento básico, um garoto sem nome, que mora com a mãe em um pequeno barraco de madeira, sonha em conseguir para si uma bonita calça branca. Em um país de herança autoritária como o Brasil, no qual o valor do cidadão é medido pelo tamanho de suas posses materiais, o anseio do personagem nada tem de diminuto. Obter uma nova roupa, a mesma utilizada por um homem galanteador que no filme passeia em locais arborizados do Rio de Janeiro, vai além da simples vaidade. No imaginário do menino, seu objeto de desejo talvez permita alcançar um respeito e um lugar no mundo que não lhe são oferecidos graças à sua condição miserável.
Em Menino da calça branca, manifestam-se aspectos típicos do cinema de Sérgio Ricardo. A partir de uma mise en scène tributária do neorrealismo, em que a narrativa se desenvolve nas locações da real exclusão social, o filme apresenta não apenas os efeitos perversos da opressão sobre a classe popular, mas também uma dimensão lírica na qual o vislumbre de felicidade encontra-se no sonho infantil por uma nova roupa. Presentes no curta-metragem como representação em torno do povo, como aprendizado sobre o Brasil segregacionista, o drama da miséria e o desejo de felicidade reapareceriam algum tempo depois na produção cinematográfica de Sérgio Ricardo, mais precisamente entre 1963 e 1964, quando o artista voltou à direção para realizar um novo filme. Naquele que seria o seu primeiro longa-metragem, no qual percebe-se uma clara convergência criativa com o movimento do Cinema Novo, o artista retornaria aos componentes centrais de sua pedagogia revolucionária, dessa vez conferindo-lhe maior contundência trágica. Contendo uma narrativa de chamamento à luta, de convocação do ser humano para a ruptura com os grilhões da história, não parece coincidência que o novo filme de Sérgio Ricardo tenha sido intitulado justamente Esse mundo é meu, mesmo nome da canção na qual ele manifestara os princípios gerais de sua filosofia política. Nesta obra realizada sob efeito da euforia utópica, ainda em um momento histórico no qual parecia possível um projeto de emancipação para o Brasil, música e cinema se unem como um ato de rebeldia contra o estado deletério das coisas.
No filme Esse mundo é meu, novamente a câmera de Sérgio Ricardo adentra o espaço geográfico da favela carioca, dessa vez para relatar duas narrativas que envolvem os dramas da classe popular. Por meio de tramas paralelas que nunca se cruzam, mas que se complementam como diagnóstico da miséria social, o longa-metragem desvela criticamente a tragédia cotidiana vivida pelo povo brasileiro. Em um dos enredos, o protagonismo pertence a Toninho. Rapaz negro que mora em um barraco depauperado, principal responsável pelo sustento da mãe e do padrasto adoecido, Toninho trabalha como engraxate na cidade do Rio de Janeiro. A despeito da vida difícil, a lhe impor duras limitações, o personagem é um sonhador. Do mesmo modo que a criança de Menino da calça branca, também vivendo uma situação de pobreza material, Toninho projeta sobre um objeto de consumo a possibilidade de ser feliz. Juntando dinheiro dia após dia, migalha por migalha, ele deseja comprar uma bicicleta para conseguir o amor de Zuleica, jovem que não se relaciona com rapazes que andam a pé. Garantia de status social para quem nada possui, uma simples bicicleta se transforma em epicentro dos anseios de ruptura. Enquanto engraxa sapatos, ajoelhado no chão em posição subalterna aos clientes, o personagem se perde em devaneios nos quais sonha estar sobre duas rodas, ao lado da pessoa amada. Na narrativa de Toninho, o desejo do popular emerge como um vir a ser, um vislumbre de felicidade para o futuro. Ainda que Esse mundo é meu possa ser criticado pela composição da personagem Zuleica como estereótipo da mulher fútil, em nenhum momento o filme tropeça em um moralismo político que considera menos importante os anseios particulares do povo. No longa-metragem de Sérgio Ricardo, a classe popular sonha com a revolução, mas também com a conquista de uma bicicleta.

E é no segundo enredo, de dimensões trágicas, que reside o desejo revolucionário. Diferentemente da narrativa de Toninho, na qual a felicidade ao lado da mulher amada surge como projeção, a história de Pedro começa atravessada pela alegria. Rapaz branco, operário em uma pequena metalurgia, o personagem comemora o início de sua vida conjugal ao lado de Luzia. Durante um passeio pelo Rio de Janeiro, no qual vão ao teatro, ao parque de diversões e à praia, os dois celebram o fato de que morarão juntos em um barraco localizado na favela. O clima de contentamento, no entanto, terá um curto tempo de duração. A despeito da paixão, o casal enfrenta severas dificuldades financeiras que culminarão em terríveis consequências. Sem expectativas de futuro, e diante do insucesso de Pedro em conseguir um aumento salarial com seu patrão, Luzia decide interromper uma gravidez recém-descoberta. Para a personagem, não há sentido em trazer para o mundo uma criança que passará fome e estará entregue aos desmandos do poder. Em meio a uma mise en scène que toma de empréstimo elementos estilísticos do gênero de terror, Luzia submete-se a um aborto ilegal, a uma operação de alto risco realizada dentro de um barraco sujo e insalubre. Perfurada por agulhas retorcidas de costura, sob uma tempestade violenta que desaba, a personagem agonizará até a morte. No filme Esse mundo é meu, a tragédia de Luzia sintetiza o esmagamento social enfrentado pela classe popular brasileira. Não fosse a situação de miséria, não fosse a pobreza imposta pelos poderosos, provavelmente ela estaria viva ao lado de seu filho. Escravo no mundo em que está, acorrentado pela opressão, o povo não encontra a possibilidade de ser feliz. Essa pedagogia política, essência da arte de Sérgio Ricardo, encontra-se, aliás, em várias passagens do longa-metragem. Presente em uma fala melancólica de Pedro, na qual a alegria do povo é comparada ao sabor efêmero de um algodão-doce, ela reaparece na sequência em que o casal anda em uma roda-gigante, momento no qual a diversão é atropelada pela tristeza entoada na música “A fábrica”. No segundo enredo de Esse mundo é meu, o recado é evidente: em uma sociedade injusta e mal dividida socialmente, o povo encontra-se mais próximo da tragédia do que da felicidade.

Por conta disso, a ruptura faz-se necessária. Em Esse mundo é meu, a morte de Luzia não provoca apenas um aprendizado crítico sobre os efeitos terríveis da opressão, mas é também a gota d’água que impulsiona Pedro à revolta contra a classe patronal. Ainda que o chamamento à luta já viesse se anunciando no decorrer do filme, sobretudo quando a narrativa é invadida por fragmentos da peça teatral As aventuras de Ripió Lacraia (1963), o ato efetivo de insurreição somente se materializará após consumar-se o desaparecimento de Luzia. Na pedagogia revolucionária de Sérgio Ricardo, tragédia popular e resistência política coexistem, a primeira tornando-se causa para a emergência da segunda. A sequência que encerra Esse mundo é meu, um virtuoso rodopio da câmera a capturar a alegria de Toninho nos braços de Zuleica, parece indicar uma possível restituição da felicidade, uma alegoria de futuro utópico, caso as mãos dos operários, convocadas por Pedro, realmente tomem posse da história e a conduzam a novas perspectivas de vida. Entre os anos de 1963 e 1964, ao imprimir em seu longa-metragem um gesto revolucionário, conduzido pelo personagem que ele mesmo interpreta, Sérgio Ricardo não se encontrava sozinho no panorama cinematográfico brasileiro. Essa revolta que emerge da tragédia, consciência ideológica adquirida em decorrência das dores do mundo, é tema recorrente em filmes como Barravento (1962), de Glauber Rocha, Pedreira de São Diogo (1962), de Leon Hirszman, Ganga Zumba (1963-64), de Carlos Diegues, ou Os fuzis (1963), de Ruy Guerra. Embora Sérgio Ricardo não seja considerado pela historiografia um integrante do Cinema Novo, talvez por sua trajetória central localizar-se no campo musical, Esse mundo é meu dialoga intensamente com o universo político e estilístico desse movimento cinematográfico. Vale lembrar que em 1964 ele comporia com Glauber Rocha a música-tema para o filme Deus e o diabo na terra do sol, canção na qual verifica-se mais um retorno à pedagogia fundacional, à chave do aprendizado crítico para a mudança da realidade social. Conforme enuncia a letra da música: se bem apreendida a lição de que o mundo anda errado, de que a história pertence ao homem, o próximo passo será a revolta que fará o “sertão virar mar”, que fará a aridez do existir transformar-se finalmente em utopia.

A despeito de todos os anseios impressos nos primeiros filmes do Cinema Novo, incluindo aqueles realizados por Sérgio Ricardo, a transformação política não se concretizaria na realidade histórica brasileira. No avesso completo da utopia desejada, no reverso do sonho, o país veria a implantação de uma ditadura civil-militar a partir de abril de 1964, uma ocupação de poder pela extrema direita que duraria pelo menos até o ano de 1985. Representada nas telas como agente revolucionário, por meio de um imaginário artístico romântico, a classe popular não ofereceria resistência ao golpe de Estado que implodiu os frágeis alicerces da democracia brasileira. Em um contexto histórico de supressão da liberdade, de pulverização dos projetos ideológicos da esquerda, os realizadores do Cinema Novo descobririam a enorme distância entre a realidade social e as imagens utópicas que haviam povoado seus filmes. Em parte, aquilo que servira de essência aos seus processos criativos mostrava-se agora uma ilusão. Por meio da autocrítica, com certa dose de amargura, os cineastas perceberiam que suas leituras em torno do povo, mesmo constituindo denúncias à miséria, pouco condiziam com a condição política real da classe oprimida. Sem escapar ao populismo e à euforia revolucionária, eles haviam projetado nas telas um popular mais atinado com seus desejos de engajamento do que com as complexidades e contradições do mundo. Diante de tal fratura, o Cinema Novo, na segunda metade da década de 1960, modificaria seu eixo temático. Nos primeiros anos da ditadura, retirando do centro das obras as representações do povo, os realizadores se voltariam principalmente para narrativas sobre o fracasso de seu projeto político, sobre a melancolia dos militantes e intelectuais de esquerda em tempos autoritários, como é perceptível nos filmes O desafio (1965), de Paulo César Saraceni, Terra em transe (1967), de Glauber Rocha, e O bravo guerreiro (1968), de Gustavo Dahl. Curiosamente, mesmo influenciado de modo direto pelo Cinema Novo, Sérgio Ricardo não acompanharia tal deslocamento temático, mantendo-se firme em seu compromisso artístico com a classe popular. Ainda que seu cinema nunca mais retornasse ao triunfalismo revolucionário anterior, agora abandonado diante das perversidades da história, ele permaneceria fiel à pedagogia política na qual o povo, em sua condição trágica, emerge nas telas como força de ruptura contra a opressão. Embora exista uma mudança de tom nos próximos filmes de Sérgio Ricardo, um afastar-se do romantismo utópico que entrou em colapso, ao mesmo tempo se mantém vivo o compromisso do artista com a classe oprimida, com a aposta de que nela reside uma possível potência de transformação.

Tal permanência se encontra presente em Juliana do amor perdido, filme que Sérgio Ricardo realizou no ano de 1970. Neste que é seu segundo longa-metragem, o artista deixa para trás o espaço geográfico da favela, deslocando suas câmeras rumo ao mar. No interior de uma ilha apartada do mundo, onde a pesca é meio de subsistência para uma comunidade praieira, a classe popular surge nos planos iniciais da narrativa envolta pela beleza plástica de um ritual religioso. A partir de uma cerimônia mística em louvor às divindades, composta por cânticos, batuques e gestos de adoração, a população local se reúne para retirar do mar os peixes que lhe servirão de alimento e de mercadoria. Atravessado por uma tonalidade sublime, decorrente da imponência estética impressa na mise en scène, o ritual confere destaque à personagem que se tornará protagonista do filme. Jovem dotada de grande formosura, elemento de mediação com o plano místico, Juliana é considerada pelo povoado como encarnação máxima da santidade. O clima inicial de maravilhamento, no entanto, terá curta duração no longa-metragem de Sérgio Ricardo. Por trás da beleza existente no cerimonial, beleza do culto popular, desvela-se uma terrível violência que contamina a vida dos moradores da ilha. Como no filme Barravento (1962), de Glauber Rocha, a dimensão religiosa serve como mecanismo de poder para a alienação do povo e a manutenção de hierarquias sociais de opressão. 
Aquilo que em princípio deveria ser sinônimo de proteção e dádiva, a suposta divindade existente no corpo de Juliana, apresenta-se no enredo dramático como um instrumento político para a contenção das insatisfações populares. Alimentando a fé e a devoção em torno da jovem, cuja santidade afinal revela-se falsa, seu pai exerce controle sobre a comunidade pesqueira, garantindo benefícios por meio de acordos espúrios com um norte-americano dono da ilha. Diferentemente de Esse mundo é meu, a classe popular surge em Juliana do amor perdido não apenas como vítima de uma sociedade injusta, mas também como agente de dominação que se volta contra os próprios irmãos. Em um contexto histórico marcado pelo fracasso utópico, tal qual faria Ruy Guerra no filme A queda (1976), tornam-se mais complexas as representações do povo, agora fraturado entre o sofrimento e o servilismo aos poderosos. Em meio à roda-viva do mundo, na qual o povoado da ilha se mantém entregue à alienação, quem mais sofre é Juliana. Consciente de sua falsidade religiosa, coagida a transformar-se em objeto de culto, a personagem deseja romper com o aprisionamento imposto pela existência, não aceitando continuar como joguete nas mãos do próprio pai. Nos anseios de Juliana reside a pedagogia política fundacional de Sérgio Ricardo. Acorrentada pela estrutura autoritária do mundo, escrava do reino da magia e dos homens, a personagem não poderá encontrar a felicidade.

Para Juliana, a chance de sobrepujar o aprisionamento nascerá a partir do encontro com um maquinista de trem, homem que controla o meio de locomoção necessário para que ela abandone um universo tomado por violências e opressões. A paixão que ela passa a sentir por Faísca, cujo apelido guarda em si a potência da ruptura, origina-se não apenas como desejo sexual, mas sobretudo como expectativa de um futuro no qual ela consiga destituir-se do enorme peso de ser uma falsa santa. No decorrer da fuga que empreende ao lado do novo parceiro, entre brincadeiras e gracejos eróticos, Juliana finalmente encontrará a chance de experimentar uma vida livre das amarras sociais existentes na comunidade pesqueira. Como os protagonistas de Esse mundo é meu, o Toninho que dança ao lado de Zuleica ou o Pedro que se diverte com Luzia em um parque de diversões, Juliana vê a materialização da alegria quando distante das maquinarias autoritárias da sociedade. Não fossem as estruturas de poder, causadoras dos descompassos do mundo, a classe popular poderia ser feliz. Em um momento de grande intensidade lírica, quando Faísca e Juliana encontram-se sozinhos em uma praia deserta, o mar que antes rebentava como espaço de dominação, mar no qual a personagem precisava travestir-se de santa trapaceira, ressurge como lugar metafórico de prazer e de ruptura. Ainda que as águas não mais comportem a alegoria revolucionária presente em Deus e o diabo na terra do sol (1964), no qual emergiam como símbolo épico de todo um povo em emancipação, elas reencantam-se na narrativa fílmica de Sérgio Ricardo, surgindo como espaço de acolhimento para um feminino em busca de libertação. Se o tempo histórico ainda fosse o do romantismo utópico pré-1964, se o país não estivesse refém de uma ditadura militar em 1970, talvez Juliana do amor perdido se encerrasse aqui. Talvez, como na imagem final de Esse mundo é meu, a narrativa se concluiria com Juliana e Faísca na plenitude da felicidade, com uma mise en scène lírica a evocar a expectativa de um futuro libertário.

Tal perspectiva, todavia, não está reservada ao casal. Após uma série de reviravoltas narrativas, Juliana será novamente aprisionada pela comunidade pesqueira, cuja alienação transforma-se em violência desmedida contra a “santa” que deveria garantir a proteção do povoado e não abandoná-lo. Tratada como traidora, encarcerada pela crendice religiosa fascista, a personagem enfrentará duras agressões impostas ao seu corpo. Durante uma nova tentativa de fuga, pois o desejo de ruptura permanece aceso, Juliana encontrará seu destino final. Em desespero, perseguida pelos homens e mulheres da comunidade, ela será atropelada pelo trem guiado por Faísca, morta justamente pelo meio de transporte que deveria oferecer-lhe os caminhos para uma possível redenção. Sob efeito de um contexto histórico ditatorial, de acirramento das contradições sociais brasileiras, o cinema de Sérgio Ricardo não mais encontra a disposição anterior para idealizar futuros utópicos. Em tempos autoritários e militarizados, o artista atualiza a pedagogia política presente na essência de seu trabalho criativo. Como parte da obra de Sérgio Ricardo, Juliana do amor perdido resulta em um filme de aprendizado em torno dos mecanismos de opressão que incidem sobre a existência da classe popular. Mais um exemplar do compromisso ideológico com os oprimidos, o longa-metragem ressalta a energia revolucionária que emana do povo, a vitalidade que o leva a tentativas persistentes de ruptura contra o sistema de dominação. No entanto, ainda que se materialize a felicidade, emerge no filme uma dimensão trágica avassaladora, uma destruição reforçada por preconceitos, interesses econômicos e hierarquias de poder. A vida e a morte do popular, seu sofrimento e a força de sua resistência, elementos criativos fundacionais da arte de Sérgio Ricardo, ressurgem na narrativa de Juliana do amor perdido. Atualizada, a pedagogia política ensina que os tempos são trágicos, mas que o povo, como classe social, prossegue contendo a potência desejante da ruptura.

E são justamente a vida e a morte do povo que reemergem, com grande intensidade poética, no terceiro longa-metragem realizado por Sérgio Ricardo. A partir de um roteiro escrito originalmente em 1968, mas levado às telas apenas no ano de 1974, A noite do espantalho desloca o processo criativo do cineasta em direção a outro espaço geográfico de exclusão, rumo ao sertão nordestino onde a classe popular enfrenta uma vida atravessada pela fome e pela submissão às forças autoritárias do coronelismo. Se até então a cinematografia de Sérgio Ricardo havia se dedicado a representações em torno do mar e da favela urbana, localizando nestes territórios a oscilação entre a tragédia e a resistência dos oprimidos, agora as suas câmeras se voltam para uma das regiões mais empobrecidas do país, cenário de grande precariedade material também presente em filmes centrais do Cinema Novo como Vidas Secas (1963) e Os fuzis (1963). Dando continuidade ao projeto artístico do cineasta, expandindo-o em direção aos dilemas encontrados no interior do Nordeste, A noite do espantalho recoloca em cena, como novo ato de engajamento, uma pedagogia política mediada pela condição existencial miserável do povo brasileiro.
Deslocando-se rumo ao sertão, escolha nada fortuita para um artista de cerne militante, Sérgio Ricardo elegeria como cenário para seu terceiro longa-metragem a cidade de Nova Jerusalém, localizada no estado nordestino de Pernambuco. Cidade construída artificialmente no ano de 1968, com edificações que tentam imitar a arquitetura da antiga Jerusalém descrita em textos bíblicos, a locação onde ocorre a narrativa de A noite do espantalho tornou-se conhecida, no Brasil, como espaço de celebração católica no qual realizam-se encenações recorrentes de A paixão de Cristo. Considerada o maior teatro a céu aberto do mundo, um ícone do poder cristão na América Latina, com o passar do tempo Nova Jerusalém foi se transformando em território de peregrinação religiosa no qual, anualmente, centenas de atores e fieis se reúnem com o objetivo de encenar o sofrimento enfrentado por Jesus Cristo em seus últimos momentos de vida. No entanto, ao situar seu filme nesse lugar simbólico, de convivência íntima entre o kitsch e o sagrado, de modo algum Sérgio Ricardo encontrava-se mobilizado por qualquer forma de respeito à devoção católica. Mantendo-se firme em sua disposição crítica contra a alienação religiosa, posicionamento já presente em Juliana do amor perdido, o artista toma de empréstimo uma localidade impregnada pela fé não com o intuito de promover celebrações, mas sim com a perspectiva de operar rupturas políticas em um espaço considerado socialmente como símbolo de devoção. Ao filmar em Nova Jerusalém, no mesmo território em que a comoção emocional advém da via crucis e da ressurreição espiritual, o cineasta refuta uma reencenação dos dias derradeiros de Cristo, substituindo-a por outra tragédia que nada tem a ver com as dimensões ascéticas do catolicismo. Ao se apropriar da cidade santificada, de suas ruas e edificações, o artista destitui o componente originário cristão, colocando em seu lugar uma angústia diretamente relacionada à realidade social do país. Em A noite do espantalho, num movimento de subversão materialista, Jesus é retirado de cena. Contrariando expectativas religiosas, Nova Jerusalém transforma-se em palco de outra paixão, aquela que envolve a angústia e o sofrimento da classe popular brasileira. Na teatralidade política de Sérgio Ricardo, em seu cinema de engajamento, o que se encontra em cartaz é A Paixão do Povo Sertanejo.

No filme A noite do espantalho, obra mais ousada do cinema de Sérgio Ricardo, o relato sobre a paixão que envolve os oprimidos é construído por meio de uma experiência estética dotada de grande inventividade. Retomando aquilo que se encontra na essência de seu trabalho criativo, um projeto estilístico composto a partir de convergências com o universo da arte popular, em seu terceiro longa-metragem o cineasta procura estabelecer um encontro poético com a musicalidade oriunda do cancioneiro nordestino. Se antes, no filme Esse mundo é meu, o samba emergia como expressão cultural relacionada aos dilemas do Rio de Janeiro, em diálogo com a música existente nos morros e favelas, agora, em sua nova película, Sérgio Ricardo busca aproximações criativas com raízes sonoras vinculadas à identidade sertaneja. O duelo cantado, a poesia de cordel, a dança de roda e o canto de trabalho, entre outras matrizes rítmicas de origem nordestina, atravessam a totalidade narrativa de A noite de espantalho como uma rapsódia operística que desvela as dimensões líricas, a tragédia e os atos de sobrevivência pertencentes à classe popular. Na forma de uma paixão do povo, a pedagogia política de Sérgio Ricardo, fundamento de seu fazer cinematográfico, encontra-se agora investida por um cancioneiro que se transforma em fio condutor do aprendizado crítico sobre as estruturas de opressão existentes no sertão brasileiro. 

Do início ao fim, por meio de diálogos cantados, o filme toma de empréstimo tradições da musicalidade popular, modernizando-as com o intuito de narrar as desventuras que envolvem os oprimidos no interior da região nordestina. Ao modo de uma ópera do povo, de um musical cinematográfico acerca das adversidades do mundo, o longa-metragem de Sérgio Ricardo coloca em cena a figura de um cantador, enigmático espantalho que ali se encontra para contar um episódio de sofrimento e de resistência ocorrido dentro de um pequeno povoado sertanejo. Interpretado por Alceu Valença, que futuramente se tornaria compositor e cantor de renome nacional, o espantalho atravessa o filme como figura que detém a memória dos infortúnios populares, como alguém que deseja partilhar com os espectadores seu conhecimento acerca da condição vivida pela classe miserável. Do mesmo modo que em Deus e o diabo na terra do sol (1964), cumprindo uma função poético-pedagógica, o cantador aqui se encontra para propiciar um aprendizado político sobre a precariedade da existência. Ao anunciar que sua história é fruto da verdade e da mentira, de um veio ficcional que provém diretamente da realidade, o espantalho nos convida à conscientização sobre o mundo, esperando que talvez derive daí alguma forma de “uso e [de] bom proveito”. É da voz desse contador de causos, dono de grande sabedoria, que brota a narrativa vinculada à paixão do povo sertanejo.

Em A noite do espantalho, o relato apresentado pelo cantador escancara as relações autoritárias de poder existentes no Nordeste brasileiro. No interior de um povoado sertanejo, em uma região severamente atingida pelo clima seco, a classe popular vive seus dias sob o agressivo domínio da elite coronelista. Rico proprietário de terras, símbolo máximo do despotismo latifundiário, o coronel Fragoso exerce desmedido controle sobre a população local, obrigando-a a viver em um estado opressivo de quase escravidão. Submetidos aos desmandos do poder, aprisionados pela servidão que lhes é imposta, os oprimidos encontram-se envoltos em um sofrimento marcado pela fome e pela miséria material. Nesse universo fraturado pela divisão social, em que a violência dos jagunços impõe a autoridade coronelista, o povo busca no misticismo religioso um refúgio para as agruras do cotidiano. No entanto, como antes no filme Juliana do amor perdido, a salvação pela fé apresenta-se como algo ilusório. A despeito das promessas feitas por um líder messiânico, por essa figura tão recorrente no imaginário sertanejo, o milagre da redenção falha. Com grande frustração, o povo assiste ao naufrágio de suas expectativas quando a chuva transformadora não chega, angustiando-se diante do fracasso religioso que pressagiava o fim da miséria por meio das águas vindas do céu. 

Face ao espiritual que não soluciona as contradições do mundo, adquirindo consciência política acerca de sua condição miserável, o povoado buscará a construção de um ato de resistência contra o coronel Fragoso. Como é típico no cinema de Sérgio Ricardo, na essência de sua pedagogia crítica, a dimensão trágica do cotidiano impulsiona os oprimidos à tentativa de ruptura contra o sistema de dominação. Mais uma vez, manifesta-se o aprendizado fundacional impresso na canção “Esse mundo é meu”. Para ser feliz, para alcançar sua emancipação, a classe popular precisa tomar a história em suas mãos, sobrepujando formas de alienação que impedem ações políticas transformadoras. A potência advinda dos oprimidos, entretanto, também falhará como mecanismo de enfrentamento contra os abusos do poder coronelista. Ainda que resida no povo uma força política que nunca se apaga, um desejo de liberdade que mobiliza seu existir, a tentativa de resistência será massacrada na narrativa de A noite do espantalho. Diante das insurgências advindas dos miseráveis, que se recusam a deixar suas terras, o coronel Fragoso ordena o aniquilamento dos revoltosos. Sob o olhar vigilante de um dragão, símbolo do colonialismo capitalista em terras brasileiras, um grupo de jagunços extermina os sertanejos, dando fim à rebeldia que vinha se erguendo. 

Como nos demais filmes de Sérgio Ricardo, em A noite do espantalho a felicidade popular também se materializa nos momentos em que as forças autoritárias encontram-se distantes. Novamente, quando desenha-se a expectativa de ruptura com o domínio da opressão, um lirismo atravessa o tecido dramático como manifestação da alegria proveniente dos oprimidos. Sobretudo nas sequências em que os sertanejos contrariam o poder local, propondo a construção de uma comunidade autônoma ao sistema coronelista, o contentamento emerge na forma de uma potência libertária que emana diretamente do povo. Em A noite do espantalho, Sérgio Ricardo coloca em cena as imagens utópicas mais belas de sua cinematografia. Tal materialização da felicidade evidencia-se, em especial, nos momentos em que o povoado se transforma em coletividade a erguer um vilarejo em resistência ao coronel. A partir de uma mise en scène documentarizante, acompanhada por uma música de exaltação à comunhão popular, os sertanejos somam seus braços e mãos, coletivizam seus instrumentos de trabalho, com o intuito de construir, em sistema de mutirão, as moradias nas quais pretendem viver. Do barro remexido, da madeira cortada e das folhas de árvores edifica-se o projeto de um novo lar. Enquanto se desenvolve o mutirão, algo singular ocorre. Pela única vez no cinema ficcional de Sérgio Ricardo, a equipe de filmagem manifesta-se em cena, capturando com seus microfones e câmeras o agir libertário do povo. Num grande ato comunal, as mãos que edificam as casas e aquelas que registram o mundo compartilham a alegria de um viver sem amarras. A potência utópica emerge na cena ficcional, mas também nos bastidores da filmagem, congregando a criação artística com a criação advinda do popular. A mensagem, posta nas entrelinhas do filme, parece clara: não fossem as estruturas de poder, esta seria a vida possível. Reside, nessas imagens de plenitude, a aposta existencial do artista. Infelizmente, como antes em Juliana do amor perdido, a reação autoritária soterra o vislumbre de um futuro possível. Na forma de uma paixão musical, a pedagogia política de Sérgio Ricardo manifesta-se uma vez mais, traçando o aprendizado crítico acerca do sofrimento do mundo. 

Em A noite do espantalho, no entanto, a pedagogia política adquire um adensamento referente às leituras sobre a condição autoritária encontrada na sociedade brasileira. No terceiro longa-metragem de Sérgio Ricardo, os mecanismos de opressão não se materializam em cena unicamente a partir das ações violentas oriundas de personagens vilanescos como o coronel Fragoso ou o dragão colonizador capitalista. No filme, por meio de uma abordagem mais complexa acerca das (de)formações autoritárias do país, o coronelismo nordestino emerge como dimensão estrutural capaz de corromper, inclusive, o espírito da própria classe popular. Distante da pureza revolucionária que residia em Esse mundo é meu, no qual o povo era representado exclusivamente como vítima da sociedade, verifica-se no filme A noite do espantalho um esforço de Sérgio Ricardo em evidenciar que os sertanejos, em meio ao miserabilismo, encontram-se reféns de um sistema de dominação que recorrentemente os transforma em instrumentos de violência a serviço da elite econômica. Emerge no tecido dramático, como resultado dos descompassos estruturais do mundo, um estilhaçamento da classe popular. 

No longa-metragem, o protagonista da paixão cantada pelo espantalho é um homem de origem popular que se encontra fraturado entre duas personalidades distintas. Por um lado, em meio às desorientações que o atravessam, ele surge em cena como o vaqueiro Zé Tulão. Interpretado pelo ator Gilson Moura, Tulão transforma-se na principal liderança política que estimula o povoado à resistência. Dono de grande sabedoria, detentor de consciência sobre o mundo, ele partilha seu conhecimento crítico com os demais sertanejos, impulsionando-os a tomar posse das terras do coronel como ato de rebeldia contra os mecanismos de opressão. Por outro lado, tornando-se a face sombria de um mesmo homem, o protagonista de A noite do espantalho também se materializa como o jagunço Zé do Cão. Agora interpretado por José Pimentel, Zé do Cão carrega a sina da morte, representando a corrupção coronelista que leva a classe popular a converter-se em arma assassina nas mãos dos poderosos. Em sua encarnação jagunça, ele lidera o genocídio que extermina o povoado revoltoso. Fraturado em dois, atravessado pela instabilidade existencial, o protagonista do filme existe ao mesmo tempo como personalidade das luzes e das trevas. Metáfora de um povo aprisionado pelo domínio coronelista, a oscilar entre o desejo libertário e o servilismo ao poder, ele traduz os efeitos complexos de uma sociedade pervertida pelo autoritarismo. Ainda que busque a ruptura como o vaqueiro Zé Tulão, resguardando a potência transformadora da classe popular, o personagem não consegue escapar da contaminação autoritária, convertendo-se também no jagunço Zé do Cão, assassino dos próprios irmãos. A tormenta vivida pelo protagonista só findará com sua morte, quando, para regozijo do coronel Fragoso, uma personalidade acaba anulando a existência da outra. Para Maria do Grotão, mulher apaixonada pelas duas identidades de um homem só, resta o luto por aquele que carregou em vida a cruz do estilhaçamento. Em A noite do espantalho, a paixão sertaneja dota de maior complexidade a pedagogia política de Sérgio Ricardo. O aprisionamento do popular, que lhe impede a felicidade, é mais perverso do que ditam as aparências, eis o ensinamento transmitido pelo filme. O sofrimento não se origina apenas da fome, da precariedade material ou da tragédia associada à morte. Reside, também, no sistema opressivo que contamina a classe popular, fazendo-a existir ao mesmo tempo como vítima e algoz. Mesmo que a alegria se materialize provisoriamente em A noite do espantalho, como vislumbre lírico de um desejo utópico, a corrupção estrutural que incide sobre o povo aniquila possibilidades de redenção.

Em A noite do espantalho, a atualização da pedagogia política também reside no tratamento singular conferido por Sérgio Ricardo ao universo do sertão nordestino. Sem sombra de dúvidas, o longa-metragem apresenta um intenso diálogo com o imaginário cultural que se encontra presente em filmes da primeira fase do Cinema Novo ou em obras literárias escrita por autores como Jorge Amado, José Lins do Rêgo e Graciliano Ramos. A paixão cantada pelo espantalho remete diretamente às heranças narrativas, sobretudo de viés realista, que representaram a condição sertaneja por meio de elementos típicos como o misticismo religioso, o autoritarismo coronelista, a geografia da seca ou a situação miserável da classe popular. Tornando-se herdeira de tradições artísticas engajadas, voltadas para a denúncia das hierarquias de poder no Nordeste, A noite do espantalho dá prosseguimento a um imaginário ficcional que posicionou no centro de seus processos criativos o conflito de classes existente em uma das regiões mais empobrecidas do Brasil. A esta tradição, no entanto, Sérgio Ricardo acrescenta outros componentes formais que se voltam para a contemporaneidade dos anos 1970, dotando a tragédia sertaneja de uma atualidade política e histórica. Usufruindo de grande liberdade poética, fazendo valer sua ousadia, o cineasta adiciona à paixão nordestina elementos estéticos que remetem livremente às experiências contraculturais que vinham se desenvolvendo no país à revelia das perseguições e censuras da ditadura militar. 

Ainda que Sérgio Ricardo nunca tenha sido um artista da contracultura - e defender tal vínculo seria um equívoco -, em A noite do espantalho ele procurou estabelecer pontos de contato com o experimentalismo advindo de vanguardas estéticas existente em sem seu tempo. Nesse sentido, a mise en scène do longa-metragem potencializa a pedagogia política do cineasta ao incorporar, ao imaginário tradicional sertanejo, formas fílmicas para além do realismo que habitualmente representou o sofrimento da classe popular nordestina. No filme, são inúmeros os momentos em que isso ocorre. Há a renovação do cancioneiro popular, a transformação dos jagunços em gangue de motoqueiros estilizados, a colocação em cena de um dragão colonizador tropicalista, a representação do espaço coronelista como aparato burocrático moderno ou a materialização de um palco de arena como lócus teatral onde Zé Tulão enfrenta seu duplo Zé do Cão. Atualizada em sua potência estética, a mise en scène de A noite do espantalho demonstra que a paixão sertaneja não é algo pertencente ao passado, mas sim uma angústia que prossegue existindo no tempo histórico da década de 1970. Trata-se, ao meu ver, de um esforço recorrente da criação cinematográfica de Sérgio Ricardo: evidenciar, a partir de sua pedagogia política, que a oscilação entre vida e morte, entre tragédia e resistência, permanece sendo a condição existencial dos oprimidos enquanto não for superado o autoritarismo da sociedade brasileira. Ainda que passem os anos, e que rebentem inúmeros atos de rebeldia, o sofrimento retorna como violência cíclica que incide sobre a vida do povo.

Nesse sentido, tendo em vista a permanência da paixão popular através dos tempos, como um problema ainda insolúvel no ano de 2020, não espanta que Sérgio Ricardo tenha retornado, em outros filmes, à pedagogia política que se encontra na essência de sua criação artística. Apesar da longa interrupção que atravessou o seu cinema ficcional, uma vez que o artista dirigiria um novo filme de enredo apenas na década de 2010, seu reencontro com a realização cinematográfica marcou, também, uma retomada das narrativas engajadas nas quais a representação do povo emerge como um trânsito entre a tragédia e a resistência. No curta-metragem Pé no chão (2014), mas sobretudo no longa Bandeira de retalhos (2018), obras em que Sérgio Ricardo volta a filmar nos morros cariocas, a pedagogia ressurge como ensinamento crítico sobre os desconcertos do Brasil contemporâneo. Novamente, como é perceptível na narrativa de Bandeira de retalhos, a potência lírica e política do povo, que se materializa como ato de resistência contra a desapropriação de uma favela, culmina em terrível tragédia que rememora o aprisionamento dos oprimidos às estruturas de poder existentes no país. A despeito da vitória contra a sanha patrimonialista, que expulsa os favelados de suas moradias em nome dos interesses imobiliários, a felicidade acaba fraturada pela violência autoritária que contamina a existência da classe popular. 

Transitando entre o morro carioca, o mar e o sertão, espaços geográficos primordiais das obras realizadas pelo Cinema Novo, os filmes de Sérgio Ricardo manifestam a coerência de um artista engajado que manteve, até o fim da vida, um posicionamento ideológico contra os mecanismos de opressão presentes na sociedade brasileira. Mantendo-se firme dentro do ideário forjado entre os anos 1950 e 1960, do qual provém a ideia de que o artista revolucionário é aquele que se entrega a um pacto orgânico com a classe popular, Sérgio Ricardo lançou-se a um compromisso estético e filosófico marcado por leituras acerca dos dilemas enfrentados pelos oprimidos. Em seu cinema, representante do marxismo cultural, o povo sempre emergiu como coletividade em luta e em sofrimento, como materialização de um olhar militante que difundiu para o mundo representações específicas das fraturas nacionais. Em conformidade com seu pensamento político, em íntimo contato com o materialismo crítico, o artista imbuiu-se de um engajamento no qual o popular, manifestando-se nas telas, surgiu sobretudo como classe social. Aí residiu a essência criativa de Sérgio Ricardo, seu modo de agir e de estar no mundo. Sempre retornando à questão primordial de seu pensamento, à lição de que “acorrentado ninguém pode amar”, o artista forjou uma pedagogia que acreditou capaz de conscientizar politicamente os espectadores. Ver seus filmes permite entrar em contato com um cinema que nunca abdicou do desejo utópico, ainda que inscrevesse (e evidenciasse) a tragédia presente no cotidiano brasileiro. Uma obra que se constituiu a partir do encontro entre um artista de herança marxista e a classe popular, cuja militância consolidou-se ao lado dos oprimidos, apostando em um pacto que permitisse, quem sabe, contribuir para a real transformação do mundo. Para Sérgio Ricardo, do início ao fim de sua trajetória, tal crença tornou-se o fundamento do processo artístico de criação. Nela, ele encontrou não somente os caminhos de seu cinema, mas uma filosofia humanista que mobilizou toda a sua existência. Não há vida possível, afirmaria o artista, sem um desejo incansável de resistência.
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: 14590="" repositorio.ufba.br="" ri="" handle="">.</http:>

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: 14590="" repositorio.ufba.br="" ri="" handle="">.</http:>

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.

Even those most familiar with Sérgio Ricardo's filmography may not be familiar with the latest films directed by the multi-artist. With his last project of greater scope being A Noite do Espantalho, released in 1974, over the following decades Ricardo's incursions into cinema can be exemplified by lesser-known films. An example of this is the short film Zelão, an animation made in 1999 that was conceived as an accompaniment to his 1960 song of the same name. His last projects arrived in the 2010s, under very different circumstances from those that marked the previous stages of his work as a filmmaker.

Ricardo’s return to form came with with Pé Sem Chão, a short film made in 2014 and produced by Iracema Filmes. The film opens with the following words:

"This film is the result of both the love for cinema and the central theme addressed in it. Crafted by the entirety of its artists and technicians, who, by the invitation of the director, accepted the challenge of undertaking a production devoid of any financial resource.”
This brief preamble, in its honesty, almost sounds like a humble apology from the production crew for a poor film on which they nevertheless worked with all their heart. The warning is succeeded by a tragic narrative condensed into a few minutes: a family, composed of a mother and a son - a young man with a disability - are evicted from the house where they live, in Vidigal hill, south zone of Rio de Janeiro.
Vidigal is a key element towards building any basic understanding of Sérgio Ricardo's biography. The musician and filmmaker lived in the community for a considerable part of his life, until his final years. Both the short Pé Sem Chão and the feature Bandeira de Retalhos (his final film) are set in Vidigal. His filmic twilight took place in that community.

It is significant that in both films the presence of Ricardo hovers above the action. In Bandeira de Retalhos, he is present in the figure of an intellectual musician who visits the hill. In Pé Sem Chão, even more evidently. Ricardo  plays a flâneur who passes by Vidigal and its local establishments, introducing the spectator to that microcosmic world as effectively as the tracking shots framing the slopes of the hill in the initial seconds of the film.
In the short film, the old flâneur is not merely allegorical, but also a provocative agent. While walking down alleys, his voice recites monologues that distill ideas and reflections (and there is a musical quality to the way these lines  are delivered, which is no surprise for those familiar with Ricardo's work as a musician). When he witnesses a real estate inspector issue the aforementioned family their final summons, he pragmatically questions the inspector: "are you a slave?”

Bandeira de Retalhos came out four years after Pé Sem Chão, made possible by Cavídeo, an audiovisual production company headed by Cavi Borges. He deserves a brief moment of our attention in this piece. Throughout his career, both as producer and director, Borges' affinity for various filmmakers, actors and other figures in Brazilian cinema that have made a profound impact on him is visible. He aims to bring these people to light by creating new production opportunities, and introducing their work to new generations. "Rescue" is not the most appropriate term to be used (as it implies they had been forgotten). What Cavi does is work together with people he admires and gives them the means to accomplish or be the object of new works. Among the people contemplated by Cavi’s gesture are Otávio III, Luiz Rosemberg Filho, Sylvio Lanna and, naturally, Sérgio Ricardo.

At first glance, the feature film connects to Pé Sem Chão because of their common themes. The two films, in different scopes and ways, encompass narratives of characters being evicted from where they live, and both are set in Vidigal. Bandeira de Retalhos, however, is based on a theatre play by Ricardo, inspired by an attempt undertaken by the Rio de Janeiro City Hall to expropriate the community and evict its residents from that territory. The real intention behind the City Hall’s actions was to remove the residents from the area to build a group of hotels.
Being narratively more complex (as it centers around a trio of characters integrated in a community which is represented on screen through several of its members), Bandeira de Retalhos is also a more ambitious project, and not only for having a larger runtime. The musical dimensions that are always present throughout the filmmaker's work appear in Pé Sem Chão, both in the sung reflections of the flanêur and in Ricardo's songs (especially "Palmares", a partnership with José Carlos Capinan). However, the music appears differently in the later film, during moments that vary between the diegetic and the non-diegetic. Besides showing the versatility of Sérgio Ricardo as a composer, the use of music in Bandeira de Retalhos shows someone who effectively understands the diverse  musicality of the people.

It would be anachronistic for a 2018 production, despite being set in the 1970s, to have songs in its soundtrack that are reminiscent of the musical themes present in the 1964 Black God, White Devil  (just to mention Ricardo’s best-known musical work). Ricardo understands the need for variation. In this sense, Bandeira de Retalhos will surprise a spectator more accustomed to the filmmaker's previous works, as it opens with a hip-hop number. This "modernization", so to speak (obviously not equating "old" with backwards or inferior) works organically. Considering the historical moment in which Bandeira de Retalhos was made, after the Retomada, after advertisement techniques were incorporated by Brazilian cinema and after the international boom of favela movies, the opening scene, in fact, sounds like a natural choice for Ricardo.

In the feature film, Cavideo's production is present in the elaboration of well-prepared scenography which blends with the locations and the hiring of actors familiar to Brazilian cinema and television, such as Antônio Pitanga (who had previously collaborated with Sérgio Ricardo in the 1964 Esse Mundo É Meu and the 1970 Juliana do Amor Perdido), Bemvindo Sequeira, and Osmar Prado. The real focus, however, is on the characters played by members of the group Nós do Morro, who originally staged the theatre play. Among them, Babu Santana stands out, although he only plays a brief role.

Being a theater and cinema group founded in Vidigal, the inseparable relationship of Nós do Morro with the whole Bandeira de Retalhos project ends up exemplifying the affection for the community that Ricardo always had, and that is the essential pretext of his two final projects. They are the outcome of the filmic work of a multi-artist who has left a lasting mark on the history of Brazilian culture through music, theater and cinema.

Final works by artists who have an authorial control of what they do tend to be very personal, and Sérgio Ricardo doesn't escape this rule. His farewell project is a love letter to the community in which he lived for so many decades, to the resistance of the people, to their combativeness in the face of adversity, to their sensitivity, their plurality, their strengths and weaknesses. This twilight in Vidigal works for the beauty and sincerity of Sérgio Ricardo's farewell.
Even those most familiar with Sérgio Ricardo's filmography may not be familiar with the latest films directed by the multi-artist. With his last project of greater scope being A Noite do Espantalho, released in 1974, over the following decades Ricardo's incursions into cinema can be exemplified by lesser-known films. An example of this is the short film Zelão, an animation made in 1999 that was conceived as an accompaniment to his 1960 song of the same name. His last projects arrived in the 2010s, under very different circumstances from those that marked the previous stages of his work as a filmmaker.

Ricardo’s return to form came with with Pé Sem Chão, a short film made in 2014 and produced by Iracema Filmes. The film opens with the following words:

"This film is the result of both the love for cinema and the central theme addressed in it. Crafted by the entirety of its artists and technicians, who, by the invitation of the director, accepted the challenge of undertaking a production devoid of any financial resource.”
This brief preamble, in its honesty, almost sounds like a humble apology from the production crew for a poor film on which they nevertheless worked with all their heart. The warning is succeeded by a tragic narrative condensed into a few minutes: a family, composed of a mother and a son - a young man with a disability - are evicted from the house where they live, in Vidigal hill, south zone of Rio de Janeiro.
Vidigal is a key element towards building any basic understanding of Sérgio Ricardo's biography. The musician and filmmaker lived in the community for a considerable part of his life, until his final years. Both the short Pé Sem Chão and the feature Bandeira de Retalhos (his final film) are set in Vidigal. His filmic twilight took place in that community.

It is significant that in both films the presence of Ricardo hovers above the action. In Bandeira de Retalhos, he is present in the figure of an intellectual musician who visits the hill. In Pé Sem Chão, even more evidently. Ricardo  plays a flâneur who passes by Vidigal and its local establishments, introducing the spectator to that microcosmic world as effectively as the tracking shots framing the slopes of the hill in the initial seconds of the film.
In the short film, the old flâneur is not merely allegorical, but also a provocative agent. While walking down alleys, his voice recites monologues that distill ideas and reflections (and there is a musical quality to the way these lines  are delivered, which is no surprise for those familiar with Ricardo's work as a musician). When he witnesses a real estate inspector issue the aforementioned family their final summons, he pragmatically questions the inspector: "are you a slave?”

Bandeira de Retalhos came out four years after Pé Sem Chão, made possible by Cavídeo, an audiovisual production company headed by Cavi Borges. He deserves a brief moment of our attention in this piece. Throughout his career, both as producer and director, Borges' affinity for various filmmakers, actors and other figures in Brazilian cinema that have made a profound impact on him is visible. He aims to bring these people to light by creating new production opportunities, and introducing their work to new generations. "Rescue" is not the most appropriate term to be used (as it implies they had been forgotten). What Cavi does is work together with people he admires and gives them the means to accomplish or be the object of new works. Among the people contemplated by Cavi’s gesture are Otávio III, Luiz Rosemberg Filho, Sylvio Lanna and, naturally, Sérgio Ricardo.

At first glance, the feature film connects to Pé Sem Chão because of their common themes. The two films, in different scopes and ways, encompass narratives of characters being evicted from where they live, and both are set in Vidigal. Bandeira de Retalhos, however, is based on a theatre play by Ricardo, inspired by an attempt undertaken by the Rio de Janeiro City Hall to expropriate the community and evict its residents from that territory. The real intention behind the City Hall’s actions was to remove the residents from the area to build a group of hotels.
Being narratively more complex (as it centers around a trio of characters integrated in a community which is represented on screen through several of its members), Bandeira de Retalhos is also a more ambitious project, and not only for having a larger runtime. The musical dimensions that are always present throughout the filmmaker's work appear in Pé Sem Chão, both in the sung reflections of the flanêur and in Ricardo's songs (especially "Palmares", a partnership with José Carlos Capinan). However, the music appears differently in the later film, during moments that vary between the diegetic and the non-diegetic. Besides showing the versatility of Sérgio Ricardo as a composer, the use of music in Bandeira de Retalhos shows someone who effectively understands the diverse  musicality of the people.

It would be anachronistic for a 2018 production, despite being set in the 1970s, to have songs in its soundtrack that are reminiscent of the musical themes present in the 1964 Black God, White Devil  (just to mention Ricardo’s best-known musical work). Ricardo understands the need for variation. In this sense, Bandeira de Retalhos will surprise a spectator more accustomed to the filmmaker's previous works, as it opens with a hip-hop number. This "modernization", so to speak (obviously not equating "old" with backwards or inferior) works organically. Considering the historical moment in which Bandeira de Retalhos was made, after the Retomada, after advertisement techniques were incorporated by Brazilian cinema and after the international boom of favela movies, the opening scene, in fact, sounds like a natural choice for Ricardo.

In the feature film, Cavideo's production is present in the elaboration of well-prepared scenography which blends with the locations and the hiring of actors familiar to Brazilian cinema and television, such as Antônio Pitanga (who had previously collaborated with Sérgio Ricardo in the 1964 Esse Mundo É Meu and the 1970 Juliana do Amor Perdido), Bemvindo Sequeira, and Osmar Prado. The real focus, however, is on the characters played by members of the group Nós do Morro, who originally staged the theatre play. Among them, Babu Santana stands out, although he only plays a brief role.

Being a theater and cinema group founded in Vidigal, the inseparable relationship of Nós do Morro with the whole Bandeira de Retalhos project ends up exemplifying the affection for the community that Ricardo always had, and that is the essential pretext of his two final projects. They are the outcome of the filmic work of a multi-artist who has left a lasting mark on the history of Brazilian culture through music, theater and cinema.

Final works by artists who have an authorial control of what they do tend to be very personal, and Sérgio Ricardo doesn't escape this rule. His farewell project is a love letter to the community in which he lived for so many decades, to the resistance of the people, to their combativeness in the face of adversity, to their sensitivity, their plurality, their strengths and weaknesses. This twilight in Vidigal works for the beauty and sincerity of Sérgio Ricardo's farewell.
Throughout its history, the popularity of the Brazilian crime film has been anchored in the sensationalism of serialized media, in famous criminals’ biographies, and in real stories of taboos and violence rather than in a formal emulation of Hollywood crime films or 19th century literature. I daresay that Mineirinho, Vivo ou Morto (Teixeira, 1967), which is based upon a real-life criminal, is better known than Os Raptores (Teixeira, 1969), República dos Assassinos (Faria Jr., 1979)), Missão Matar! (Pieralisi, 1972), or Na Senda do Crime (Bollini Cerri, 1954). Elite Squad (Padilha, 2007) or City of God (Meirelles & Lund, 2002) better known than Xangô de Baker Street (Faria Jr., 2001) or A Grande Arte (Salles, 1991). To be clear, by calling attention to their popularity, I do not refer to the quality of the films. In Historiografia Clássica do Cinema Brasileiro, Jean-Claude Bernardet argued that what motivated the audiences to watch the successful crime thrillers of the Bela Época between 1908 and 1911 was the journalistic appeal to the cases depicted rather than the taste for cinema. Perhaps we could also extend this perception to the rest of the Brazilian crime genre’s trajectory. The audiences take delight in the scandal, and not infrequently Brazilian crime films have been sued on the charge of prematurely delivering sentences, as happened with O Caso Cláudia (Borges, 1979). Academics and the intellectual realm might praise the adaptability of the genre to the daily reality of Brazil (though we are typically not even granted that, given that genre cinema is so ill-famed over here). From this point of view, the emulation seems like feitiço sem farofa.1 While the renaissance of the crime film in Brazil between the 1950s and 1970s is tied to the migratory phenomenon and to the urban concentration fostered by the developmental governments of the time (who were responsible for the high crime rates in the main cities of the country), a very significant portion of the genre has served as a seismograph of the anxieties of its time. Another portion did so too, but not immediately.

This distinction is never strict, as it is uncommon for a film not to reveal a social pathos. Perhaps it is a matter of points of departure: a filmmaker either takes as inspiration the reality of the world or the forms codified by the history of cinema. Now, does this result in a mambembe2 form of the Bazinian dispute: filmmakers who believe in reality versus filmmakers who believe in the image? Calm down, that’s not quite it. It is not that Os Raptores does not comment on its historical moment. On the contrary, it does so with brilliance. At some point, the villain, played by director Aurélio Teixeira, tells a policeman that ‘some kill for too much talk; others, for too little’, in a clear allusion to the DOPS3 basements in 1969, operating under the rulings of AI-5. Such an explicit allusion to the practices of police under the military dictatorship reveals the boldness of Os Raptores, which was made under the rulings of AI-5. It’s also worth noting that other films had undergone cuts and censorship for doing much less (for example, in that same year, Joaquim Pedro de Andrade’s Macunaíma and José Mojica Marins’ O Ritual dos Sádicos). This equalization between police and criminal action will be the tuning fork for several scenes in Os Raptores, especially towards the film’s end when two undercover cops pass as bandits and act violently, bending the law to effectively unmask Teixeira’s character, Dr. Bruno. The good doctor is under habeas corpus at that point in the film due to the slick work of his lawyer, illustrating that for those who have money, every legal transgression leads to nothing in way of punishment. And finally, the plot-device of ‘splitting money made from a collective crime’, which is common in many Brazilian crime films from the 1950s and 60s (such as Farias’s 1962 Assalto ao Trem Pagador, Ileli’s 1961 Mulheres e Milhões, and Na Senda do Crime), posits the issue in more explicit terms: if the country has grown wealthy and become developed, how does the cake get split thereafter?
However, although these sociological commentaries exist in the above-mentioned films, they are placed en passant in the midst of generic plots, rather than at the center. In this case, it would be a mistake to take the part for the whole and try to submit the elements of these genre films to social commentary. Explicit forms of social commentary would perhaps become more dominant among those feature films made in the late 1970s, when censorship slightly loosened, allowing a police officer in Eu Matei Lúcio Flávio to utter the phrase “the only good bandit is a dead bandit”,4 while torturing a criminal to the sound of Roberto Carlos's “Lady Laura”. Os Raptores does not rely on taboo scenarios like this one (although, as I mentioned, it sometimes illustrates them), but rather on the hyperbolic repetition of vices inherited from a supranational tradition of the genre. Even so, the film is no less creative for this inheritance, nor is it more of a ‘misplaced idea’.5 The way it approaches the genre is not primarily realistic, it is also a jeitinho,6 an adequacy.

During one of the most direct initial clashes in the investigation undertaken in Os Raptores, commissioner Frank (Sebastião Vasconcelos) brings the criminal (played by Aurélio Teixeira) and an crime eyewitness face-to-face. When the sketch dictated by one of the victims is shown, the witness confirms having seen Teixeira at the crime scene, but once brought in physical proximity to the criminal, the witness recants having seen him at all. It’s not fear that leads to this denial. The detective shortly goes over to the table and brings the criminal a wig and a fake mustache. With the consent of the newly arrived defense counsel, he dresses up the criminal with the props. After seeing the man in costume, the witness now says he did see him before, it only taking a badly worn wig and mustache to spark his recognition. Following this, the chief officer goes so far as to show the witness a photograph of the man, who confirms having already seen him in the building where the murder-in-question took place, but not ever seeing the three criminals under investigation there together. A difference between the photograph, the sketch and the body in costume. The police’s condemnatory argument revolves around the mirroring of these three instances, a fact that the scene dialogue seeks to expose with maximum clarity, in what is nearly a Holmesian syllogistic recital. But Aurélio Teixeira’s staging seems to run counter to this. It does not commit to building tension, suspense or dynamics around the plot, nor does it aim for turning the syllogism of the police plea into something more imagistic through a more modular decoupage (e.g., coordinating different shots between glances, the tools of disguise, photographs, etc.). Rather, Os Raptores plays the entire scene out in a few wide shots, avoiding the exploitation of the character’s moods or expressions, which is something that would be more significant in dramaturgy. The characters behave with a certain coldness, reproducing lines mechanically in a semi-declamatory tone. They repeat explanatory dialogue that seems to come straight out of a detective novel, albeit in a Portuguese that is much too correct, and in a key of action that complies, following a procedural structure, with ready-made cliches of the genre. A strange feeling of déjà-vu takes hold, as if everything was excessively preconceived, but preconceived in the sense that the characters themselves already recognize what will be the final developments of the film — especially in relation to their own fallibility.

At another moment in the film, Laura Lia (Marza de Oliveira), who is a partner-in-crime, commends the fake wig and beard of Dr. Bruno. “Well, you really tricked us all...”, she says. Laura’s surprise is spoken, but it hardly seems to be felt by either she or us. Have we, the spectators, been tricked? No, because Teixeira’s direction chose not to emphasize the element of trickery on which the script is based. The director avoids a strained dramatic scenario or a mystery, preferring instead to move the plot forward onto the next reversal.

The crime film whodunits, at the point when Os Raptores was made (and perhaps from the beginning, since, at least, Feuillade’s crime serials), knew that incorporating an outlaw camouflaged as someone else would foreground a legitimate question of cinema — the art of visibility — thus testing the spectatorial contract. By way of illustration, also in 1969, the crime film Máscara da Traição (Roberto Pires, 1969) would make a point of transforming its protagonist (Cláudio Marzo) into a great illustrator who daydreams about a ceramic mask, dressing it up to look like high end craftsmanship so to give a unique emphasis to the element of costume work used to create a doppelgänger effect. By doing so, the mask in Máscara da Traição gains absolute centrality in that feature film. But here, there is none of that. At a key moment in Os Raptores, in order to have the criminal recognized, the white wig is hastily put on, not unlike how Scooby-Doo removes a villain’s hood by pulling on their head. The scene could work as a sketch in A Praça é Nossa,7 but here everything is taken fairly seriously. The approach at first calls to mind Rogerio Sganzerla’s [and Jairo Ferreira’s] notion of the arqui-falso.8 However, in Os Raptores there is nothing voluntarily mambembe. There is no pastiche effect generated, nor direct assertion of scenic misery as proposition or destiny. The costume is just a common wig and mustache, a generic crime narratives tic. The disguise is not a joke, but it also is not well made, absent from close-up shots throughout the entirety of the film. Thus, the facade serves as protocol, similar to commissioner Frank’s explicatory recital that details the crime.
If, at the time of its release, Os Raptores was promoted as a Hitchcock wannabe in its advertising, Aurélio Teixeira’s formal choices end up producing something quite opposite to this. There were justifications in the plot for MacGuffins, systematic explorations of the games of voyeurism or relations of duplicity, such as those aforementioned. The film has a series of cliches that include a mysterious outlaw whose image is absent in the police book of criminal profiles (the mere existence of such a book belonging much more to nineteenth century crime fiction and its obsession with the perfection of criminal portraiture, than 1960s Rio de Janeiro), the figure of the mastermind who dominates the temporal synchrony of events and carries out the crime through others he commands (like Lang’s Mabuse), or the anonymous passerby who wasn’t supposed to observe an important clue at the moment of kidnapping, but did. All of these elements could theoretically come under much closer scrutiny in the film, but the filmmaker chooses to pass by them as if they hold no true weight. He keeps with his medium wide shots and with the peremptory speeches in colloquial Portuguese that explain the narrative's mysteries. The simplicity of Aurélio Teixeira’s staging avoids producing too much suspense; it is often economical in visual and sound effects and has no more than a minimum dedication to mise-en-place in composition. So, is what we have here a bad movie, or, at most, a mediocre movie? Hold on a sec.

Os Raptores has an accelerated cadence typical of the most ordinary North American crime B-movies made two or three decades prior to it, from where it also seems to inherit its most rudimentary conventionalism. Is Os Raptores an emulation these works? Perhaps, but I believe that not even the aforementioned B-movies operated to the end of premature ejaculation as much as Teixeira’s film. The beginning of Os Raptores illustrates this rhythm. We fall by parachute onto a phone call that announces the kidnapping of a child. First the child’s mother and then her father are shown. The kidnapper, sitting in front of the father in his banker's office, announces the details of the crime. The criminal has barely finished explaining when, lo and behold, the mother shows up in tears, pleading with her husband to hand over the hundred million. “I can’t take it anymore!”, she says, although it hasn’t been even 3 minutes since the feature started. The hundred million is brought in a suitcase by the secretary in less than 15 seconds, while the mother pleads for her daughter's safe return. This will only occur about 6 or 7 minutes into the film, while in the meantime, the police have been notified about the crime and respond by surrounding the family’s house. It is not only that Aurélio Teixeira does not waste time. He makes events unfold directly, emptied of dramatic significance, applying genre protocols on top of protocols, but with obtuse speed and a major vocation for disposal. So much so that we doubt whether he really wants to narrate said events. A conflict has barely begun, and he immediately tries to resolve it. Teixeira quickly moves on to the next problem, the next drama, the next reversal, the next event or the next victim. Better to accumulate them than to deepen them.
Perhaps it is this isolated manner, copled with a ‘bangu’ 9 rhythm (the ball leaves the bottom line, without having to return to the midfield after the goal) of dealing with the crime genre that most marks Aurélio Teixeira’s particular style in this film: conventions are stacked on top of each other, taken at face value. Os Raptores is thus a long trip through readymades. The mother’s cry, in the end, ends up reduced to a passing sign, as dispensable to the narrative as the hunchback from the underground with the pillow on his back, who appears in one scene and dies in the following one. It seems that we are now describing a mannerist film, but that is not the case. It would lack the celebratory self-awareness of a film like A Dama do Cine Shanghai (de Almeida Prado, 1987), where excess is a mark of affectation. Os Raptores does not concern itself with this, as cinema history carries no weight here. There is no affectation or remarkable histrionics. Everything is protocol, and there is an even salutary embrace to classic codes in the aesthetic realm. If we wish, we may speak in a certain ponderatio. It is the storyline that has a slight quality of twisting about itself. Os Raptores throws everything of seeming significance away but has no qualms about introducing a fundamental character during its last twenty minutes. The film is thus both too little genre and too much, rarefying each element while hyperinflating dramatic motive.

But why does Os Raptores operate in this way? Here the trajectory of passing signs does not carry as much meaning in its articulation as the power of the final gesture. Crime cannot be solved by syllogisms. These movements of genre rise over something else, an act of force or violence. The commissioner investigates and keeps investigating, but his work leads to nothing. So, he has to threaten the suspect himself. In Juventude e Ternura (1968) Aurélio Teixeira piled disconnected musical scenes on top of each other, but he also successfully illustrated that all of the play was sustained on top of an economical framework that was always on the fringe of collapsing through the psychological consummation of a very inspired Anselmo Duarte in-performance. In Soninha Toda Pura (Teixeira, 1971), it is the exploration of erotic scenes that will culminate, at the end of the film, in violent rape. Aurélio Teixeira’s cinema thus works on this disparity between ‘playing genre’ and an exploitative force that, deep down, sustains it. This force is always on the verge of collapse, for it has been defiled by principle. Several of his films oppose both things, so as if to demonstrate this double need in Brazil, as much as the double repulsion; one is taken as artifice and the other as artifact. Maybe an auto-reference is being made here to the forms of production of a certain genre cinema back in the 1960s, captained by filmmakers such as Jece Valadão, Victor Lima or Braz Chediak? Possibly, but I think there is even more to this story.

Well then, let’s go back to the props of fantasy. Bruno’s wig is as simple as the sunglasses and the chinstrap that the father in A Filha do Advogado (Jota Soares, 1926) removes in court to reveal who he is or the beard that transformed Harry Richmond (another protagonist who, like Frank, has an Anglo-Saxon name) into Theodoro in the unfinished Três Irmãos (Pedro Comello, 1925). We see these same rudimentary codes in Os Raptores. It is perhaps in our 1920s pioneers, in their emulations of North American adventure films, that we can find the genesis or lineage of Teixeira's film, and its unique form of adaptability. These silent-era films functioned in an apparently classic style, but with very modular narratives. As opposed to the Hollywood three-act structure, there is also our salutary way of letting the best of it rot and keeping things rolling. Violence might be the backbone of our plots, but ultimately it is the backbone of our own authoritarian country (of which the greatest classic of that time, Ganga Bruta, is probably the major synthesizer). Os Raptores takes things a step further. Made in a later era, it handles all the buzzwords better, it isn’t afraid to speak about other things. But this is all genealogy. The birth of a particular and unsuccessful way of doing genre, which is always hastily dismissed. How many times did the chanchadas exhibit musical pieces piled on top of musical pieces, with a very naturalized excess, and for this were rated as nothing more than subpar national films? How many pornochanchadas used to be considered nothing more than large collages of eroticism and voyeurism, and nothing more? Perhaps we need to expand our ideas on appropriation, beyond the forms of more direct anthropophagy or of pastiche, because in this apparent emulation there is also (or perhaps more) creative inability to copy the model. A subtle way to imitate, but also to state that behind the radio star, there is always a pimp. Behind the police, a violent nation.
1. TN: “Feitiço sem farofa” literally reads “spell without farofa”, while in turn “farofa” is a toasted manioc flour mixture that can be filled with different flavors, typical of Brazilian cuisine and its diasporic roots. The expression was first coined by samba musician Noel Rosa in the lyrics of “Feitiço da Vila”, from 1934, and connotes a supposedly “decent” way of making samba, a way “without farofa”, which would be found in his own middle-class Rio de Janeiro neighborhood, Vila Isabel. That definition would later take criticism for its racial and class implications.

2. TN: Formerly a word that assigns the quality and/or tradition of an amateur, traveling, low-budget circus act, “mambembe” has become a common sign in Brazilian cultural analysis lexicon for art pieces that feel improvised, crude, amateur, usually in a folk-ish, vernacular manner.

3. TN: The Department of Political and Social Order (DOPS) was created in 1924 with the aim of combating political crime and it was a fundamental governing body of two dictatorships that took place in Brazil, president Getúlio Vargas’ Estado Novo (1937-1945) and the military dictatorship (1964-1985). It was extinguished in 1983. The AI-5 (Institutional Act Number Five, issued in 1968) institutionalized practices of torture, repression and censorship by the military regime.

4. TN: The origin of the Brazilian expression “bandido bom é bandido morto”, common slang widely spread to-date by far-right conservative groups, traces back to the slogan used by former police chief José Guilherme Godinho, known as Sivuca, when running for Rio de Janeiro state representative in the 1980s.

5. TN: Borrowing a term here from Brazilian literary theorist Roberto Schwarz, who uses “misplaced ideas” to refer to those tenets of Enlightenment and 19th century European progressive liberal ideology adopted by the bourgeoisie of Brazil, despite the fact that the economy and social structures of the latter were still entirely based on the then historically out-of-step system of slave labor. For further reading, see Roberto Schwarz, ‘Misplaced Ideas: Literature and Society in Late-Nineteenth-Century Brazil’ in Misplaced Ideas: Essays on Brazilian Culture, (New York: Verso, 1992), pp. 19-33.

6. TN: The word jeitinho refers to the ability of Brazilians to subvert social forms of hierarchy and restrictions such as the law or bureaucratic structures through a sort of cleverness and wit about the modern world. Taken to be a national characteristic, Livia Neves de H. Barbosa writes that the jeitinho brasileiro “…emphasizes the side of Brazilian society that privileges the human and natural aspects of social reality over the legal, political, and institutional ones.” Livia Neves de H. Barbosa, ‘The Brazilian jeitinho: an exercise in national identity’, in David J. Hess and Roberto A. DaMatta (eds), The Brazilian Puzzle: Culture on the Borderlands of the Western World (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), pp. 40-1.

7. TN: A Praça é Nossa is a widely known Brazilian TV comedy show famous for its slapstick sketches and its popular appeal. It has had different versions airing under various names since the 1950s, with new content still currently being broadcasted.

8. TN: Film critic, theorist, and filmmaker Jairo Ferreira has noted that Rogério Sganzerla, while commenting on the films by José Mojica Marins, postulated that “the natural is as fake as the fake. Only the arqui-falso [arch-false] is really real”.

9. TN: The expression “à bangu”, usually applied in soccer slang, suggests an uncompromised, unruly or amateur way of doing something, conjuring up the stereotype of the famous Bangu neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro.






É possível que a popularidade do filme policial brasileiro, ao longo de sua história, tenha se ancorado mais no sensacionalismo de folhetim, nas biografias de criminosos famosos, nas histórias reais e tabus de violência que nos gêneros hollywoodianos ou literários do século XIX. Arrisco dizer que Mineirinho, Vivo ou Morto (Teixeira, 1967), baseado num criminoso real, é, por exemplo, mais lembrado que Os Raptores (Teixeira, 1969), ou República dos Assassinos (Faria Jr., 1979) Missão: Matar! (Pieralisi, 1972) ou Na Senda do Crime (Bollini Cerri, 1954). Tropa de Elite (Padilha, 2007) ou Cidade de Deus (Meirelles & Lund, 2002) mais do que Xangô de Baker Street (Faria Jr., 2001) ou A Grande Arte (Salles, 1991). Deixo claro que não falo especificamente da qualidade dos filmes, mas da popularidade. Em seu Historiografia Clássica do Cinema Brasileiro, Jean-Claude Bernardet defendeu que o que motivava o público a ver os bem sucedidos policiais da Bela Época, entre 1908 e 1911, era menos o gosto pelo cinema e mais o apelo jornalístico aos casos retratados. Talvez pudéssemos estender esta percepção também ao resto da trajetória do gênero. O público se deleita com o fuxico, e não raros nossos filmes policiais foram processados sob a acusação de atestar sentença antes da hora, como O Caso Cláudia (Borges, 1979). O campo intelectual também pode elogiar a adaptabilidade do gênero à nossa realidade (mas, na verdade, filme de gênero é tão mal-dito por aqui, que muitas vezes nem sequer isso). Sob este prisma de visão, a emulação parece feitiço sem farofa. Se a renascença do policial entre as décadas de 1950s e 1970s está associada ao fenômeno migratório, à concentração urbana promovida pelos governos desenvolvimentistas da época (que foram responsáveis pelos altos índices de criminalidade nas principais cidades do país), uma parcela muito significativa do gênero serviu de sismógrafo das ansiedades de sua época. Outra, não imediatamente. 

Esta diferenciação nunca é estrita, pois raras vezes um filme não revela um pathos social. Talvez seja uma questão de pontos de partida: tomar como inspiração a realidade do mundo ou as formas codificadas da história do cinema. Então, uma forma mambembe do embate baziniano, cineastas que acreditam na realidade versus cineastas que acreditam na imagem? Calma, não é bem assim. Não é que Os Raptores não comente o seu momento. Pelo contrário, o faz com brilhantismo. À certa altura do campeonato, o vilão, encarnado pelo próprio Aurélio Teixeira, diz a um policial que ‘alguns matam por falar demais; outros, de menos’ numa clara alusão aos porões do DOPS em pleno 1969. Alusão tão explícita às práticas da polícia durante a ditadura militar mostra a ousadia de Os Raptores, feito sob a vigência do AI-5. Vale notar que, por muito menos, outros filmes sofreram cortes e censuras (por exemplo, no mesmo ano, Macunaíma ou O Ritual dos Sádicos). Esta equalização entre a ação policial e a criminosa será o diapasão de várias cenas em Os Raptores, sobretudo no final, quando dois agentes se passam por bandidos e agem violentamente, burlando a lei, para efetivamente desmascarar o Dr. Bruno, vivido por Teixeira; este, naquele momento, sob habeas corpus gratificado por um advogado, pois, se você tem dinheiro, tudo acaba em “pizza”, nos mostra o filme. E por fim, o próprio tópico do ‘dinheiro depois do crime coletivo’ presente em vários policiais dessa década e da anterior (Assalto ao Trem Pagador, Mulheres e Milhões, Na Senda do Crime) pondo o problema em termos mais explícitos: se o país enriqueceu e se desenvolveu, como dividir os ganhos, como dividir o bolo depois?
Só que, embora estes comentários de natureza sociológica existam nesses filmes, eles estão colocados en passant no meio das situações genéricas, mais que em seu centro. Neste caso, seria um erro tomar a parte pelo todo e tentar associá-lo a uma outra forma, quase oposta, de operação, que submete mais os elementos de gênero aos comentários sociais. Esta segunda talvez viria a se tornar mais dominante no bojo daqueles longas-metragens realizados no final da década de 1970s, quando a censura afrouxava um pouco e permitia que um Eu Matei Lúcio Flávio colocasse na boca de um policial fascista a frase “bandido bom é bandido morto”, enquanto tortura o criminoso ao som de "Lady Laura", de Roberto Carlos. Os Raptores não se sustenta em cima de situações tabus como esta (embora, como mencionei, as ilustre, por vezes), e sim na repetição hiperbólica de cacoetes herdados de uma tradição supranacional do gênero. Mas nem por isto, é menos criativo ou mais ‘idéia fora do lugar’. Sua forma de lidar com o gênero não é primordialmente realista, mas é também um jeitinho, uma adequação. 

Num dos primeiros embates mais diretos da investigação empreendida em Os Raptores, o comissário Frank (Sebastião Vasconcelos) coloca frente-a-frente o criminoso (vivido por Aurélio Teixeira) e uma testemunha ocular. Ao ser mostrado o retrato falado descrito por uma das vítimas, a testemunha confirma tê-lo visto, mas quando vê a pessoa de fato, nega. Não é medo. O detetive vai logo até a mesa e lhe traz uma peruca e um bigode falso. Com o consentimento do recém-chegado advogado de defesa, veste o criminoso dos adereços, e agora a testemunha diz ter-lo visto anteriormente.  Bastou uma peruca e um bigode mal postos, e pronto. Em seguida, o delegado ainda lhe mostra uma fotografia do sujeito e ele confirma também já tê-lo visto no prédio onde ocorreu o assassinato, porém nunca os três juntos. Uma diferença entre a fotografia, o retrato falado e o corpo fantasiado. O argumento de condenação da polícia gira em torno do espelhamento destas três instâncias, fato que os diálogos da cena procuram expor com máxima clareza, num recital quase silogístico à Sherlock Holmes. Mas a encenação de Aurélio Teixeira parece caminhar na contramão, sem se dedicar a construir tensão, suspense ou dinâmica em torno da situação, rodando toda cena em poucos planos conjuntos, evitando explorar estados de ânimomais significativos na dramaturgia. Os personagens portam-se com certa frieza, reproduzem falas mecanicamente, num tom semi-declamatório. Repetindo os diálogos explanatórios que parecem sair de um romance detetivesco, com um português até demasiadamente correto, e numa chave de atuação que atende, de maneira protocolar, a cacoetes prontos do gênero. Há uma estranha sensação de déjà vu, que é como se tudo aquilo fosse tão excessivamente pré-moldado, mas tão pré-moldado, que os próprios personagens já conhecessem os desdobramentos finais. Há aí uma marca de estilo.

Num outro momento, a parceira de crime, Laura Lia (Marza de Oliveira) elogia a peruca e barba fake do tal Dr. Bruno. “Mas você enganou mesmo a nós todos…”, diz ela. A surpresa é dita, mas pouco parece sentida. Por ela e por nós. Enganou a nós, espectadores? Não, porque a direção de Teixeira escolheu não dar ênfase a este elemento que o roteiro tem como basilar, não produzir em cima dele uma situação dramática esticada ou um mistério, e passar para o próximo.

Os whodunit policiais, àquela altura do campeonato (quiçá desde o início;desde, ao menos as séries policiais de Feuillade) , já sabiam que falar de um bandido camuflado de outra pessoa era uma verdadeira questão no cinema, arte da visibilidade, que poria à prova o contrato espectatorial, caso este fosse abalado. A título de ilustração, também em 1969, o policial Máscara da Traição de Roberto Pires fazia questão de transformar seu protagonista (Cláudio Marzo) num grande desenhista, e devanear sobre uma máscara de cerâmica, travesti-la de artesanato de primeira qualidade para dar uma ênfase ímpar ao elemento do figurino utilizado no efeito doppelgänger de Tarcísio Meira. Perseguia-se justificar o utensílio que ganhava centralidade absoluta no longa-metragem. Aqui não, nada disto. No momento chave, coloca-se apressadamente a peruca branca para o reconhecimento do criminoso, do mesmo jeito que o Scooby-Doo retira o capuz do vilão puxando a cabeça dele. Poderia ser uma esquete do A Praça é Nossa, mas aqui tudo é bem levado a sério (semelhante ao conceito de arqui-falso de Rogério Sganzerla e Jairo Ferreira, ao analisarem a abordagem de terror de Mojica) Mas não há nada de voluntariamente mambembe, nenhum efeito de pastiche gerado, nenhuma asserção direta da miserabilidade cênica como proposição ou destino. É só uma peruca e um bigode comuns, cacoetes de narrativas policiais, que o filme despreza em absoluto. O disfarce não é tosco, mas também não é bem feito. A verdade é que nem produz grande efeito. É tão protocolar quanto o recital que explica o crime.
À época, Os Raptores foi anunciado como um wannabe Hitchcock em suas peças de publicidade, mas as opções formais de Aurélio Teixeira produzem algo de bem oposto a isto. Havia justificativas na trama para macguffins, explorações sistemáticas dos jogos de voyeurismo ou das relações de duplicidade, como as supracitadas; uma série de cacoetes que inclui um bandido misterioso cuja imagem não se encontra no ‘catálogo da polícia’ (e a mera existência deste catálogo é tão mais século XIX, e sua obsessão pela perfeição da retratística criminosa, que o Rio de Janeiro dos 1960s), a figura do mastermind que domina a sincronia temporal dos acontecimentos e executa o crime através dos outros que comanda  (como o Mabuse de Lang), ou a passante anônima que não deveria ter visto, mas viu, uma pista importante na hora do rapto. Todos estes elementos poderiam vir a ser objetos de escrutínio mais detido, só que o diretor passa por eles como se não tivessem importância na solução dos crimes. Fica lá com seus planos conjuntos à meia distância, as falas peremptórias em português coloquial que explicam os mistérios. A simplicidade da encenação de Aurélio Teixeira evita produzir suspenses demasiados; é frequentemente econômica nos efeitos visuais e sonoros e não tem mais que uma mínima dedicação ao mise-en-place na composição. Então, trata-se de um mal filme, ou, no máximo, um filme mediocre? Pera lá.

Os Raptores
têm uma cadência acelerada típica dos mais ordinários policiais B norte-americanos de duas ou três décadas anteriores, de onde parece herdar também seu convencionalismo mais rudimentar. Uma emulação? Pode até ser, mas creio que nem esses filmes operavam tanto por ejaculação precoce quanto o de Teixeira. O início do filme é ilustrativo deste ritmo. Caímos de paraquedas numa ligação que anuncia o rapto de uma criança. Primeiro a mãe, e depois o pai. O sequestrador já está no escritório, sentado à frente do pai, e anuncia o crime. Mal explicou os detalhes e eis que a mãe surge aos prantos, pedindo que o marido lhe entregue os cem milhões. “Eu não aguento mais!”, diz ela, embora não façam nem 3 minutos desde que o longa-metragem começou. Os cem milhões são trazidos numa mala pelo secretário em menos de 15 segundos, enquanto a mãe suplica que a filha seja devolvida com vida. O retorno da filha sã e salva só acontecerá com 6 ou 7 minutos de filme, contando, neste meio tempo, que ainda houve tempo da polícia ser avisada e preparar um cerco em torno da casa da família. Não é apenas que Aurélio Teixeira não perca tempo. Ele faz os acontecimentos se desdobrarem de forma tão direta e descarregadas de significado dramático, aplicando protocolos de gênero em cima de protocolos, mas fazendo isto com celeridade obtusa e uma grande vocação para o descarte, que poderíamos ficar na dúvida se ele quer mesmo narrá-los. Mal começou um conflito e ele já trata de resolvê-lo. Passe para o próximo problema logo, o próximo drama, a próxima reviravolta, o próximo acontecimento ou a próxima vítima. Melhor acumulá-los que aprofundá-los.
Talvez seja este ritmo ‘à bangu’ (a bola sai da linha de fundo, sem precisar voltar ao meio-de-campo depois do gol) de lidar com o gênero policial que mais marque o estilo particular de Aurélio Teixeira neste filme: as convenções são empilhadas, exploradas superficialmente. Os Raptores é, assim, um longo passeio por ready mades. O choro da mãe, no fundo, acaba reduzido a um signo passageiro, tão dispensável à narrativa quanto o corcunda do submundo com a almofada nas costas, que surge numa cena e morre na seguinte. Parece que estamos falando de um filme maneirista, mas não é o caso. Falta a auto-consciência celebrada de um A Dama do Cine Shanghai (Prado, 1987), onde o excesso é marca de afetação. Não se trata disso. Nenhum peso da história do cinema. Nenhuma afetação ou histrionismo marcante. Aqui, tudo é protocolar, e há um abraço até salutar, no campo estético, aos códigos clássicos. Podemos, se quiser, falar num certo ponderatio. A trama, em si, é que tem um quê de rocambólico. Joga tudo fora, mas não tem pudor em introduzir um personagem fundamental nos últimos vinte minutos. É gênero de menos e gênero demais. Rarefação de cada elemento, mas hiperinflação de motivos dramáticos. 

Mas, afinal, porque tudo isto? O caso aqui é que esta trajetória de signos passageiros não carrega tanto sentido em suas articulações e justificativas quanto o gesto final. O crime não pode ser resolvido por silogismos. Estes movimentos de gênero se erguem sobre uma outra coisa. Um ato de força ou violência. O comissário investiga, investiga, investiga, mas isto não leva a nada. Então, tem de ameaçar o suspeito mesmo. Em Juventude e Ternura (1968) Aurélio Teixeira empilhava cenas musicais desconexas uma em cima da outra, mas também ilustrava muito bem que a brincadeira toda se sustentava em cima de um esqueleto econômico, sempre prestes a ruir pela consumação psicológica de um Anselmo Duarte em inspirada atuação. Em Soninha Toda Pura (1971), também a exploração de cenas eróticas culminará, no final, em um violento estupro. O cinema de Aurélio Teixeira trabalha em cima desta disparidade entre ‘brincar de gênero’ e a força cafetã que, no fundo, a sustenta, uma força sempre prestes a ruir porque conspurcada por princípio. Vários de seus filmes opõem as duas coisas, como a demonstrar esta dupla necessidade em nosso país, tanto quanto a dupla repulsão; tomam um como artifício e outro como artefato. Uma auto-referência às formas de produção de um certo cinema de gênero ali nos anos 1960s, capitaneada, dentre outros, por Jece Valadão, Victor Lima ou Braz Chediak? Possivelmente, mas acho que há ainda mais nessa história. 

Então, voltemos aos adereços da fantasia. A peruca de Bruno é tão simplória quanto o óculos escuro e a barbicha que o pai de A Filha do Advogado (Jota Soares, 1926) retira no tribunal para revelar quem é; ou, a barba que transformava Harry Richmond (outro protagonista que, como Frank, tem nome de origem anglo-saxã) em Theodoro no inacabado Três Irmãos (Pedro Comello, 1925). São os mesmos códigos rudimentares que vemos aqui. É talvez nos nossos pioneiros da década de 1920, em suas emulações de filme de aventura norte-americano, que podemos encontrar a gênese ou linhagem de Os Raptores, e sua singular forma de adaptabilidade. Também eles, na época do cinema mudo, trabalharam em estilo aparentemente clássico, mas com narrativas, no fundo, muito modulares. Contra aquela em três atos hollywoodiana, nossa forma salutar de colocar no podrão a quinta carne. De fazer a fila andar. A violência seria o sustentáculo da trama e, no fundo, de nosso próprio país autoritário (do qual o maior clássico da época, Ganga Bruta, é provavelmente a grande síntese). Os Raptores dá um passo adiante. Sendo de outro tempo, opera melhor todos os chavões, não teme falar sobre outras coisas. Mas tudo isto é genealogia. O nascimento de uma forma particular e malograda de fazer gênero, que é sempre demitida antes da hora. Quantas vezes as chanchadas não empilharam peças musicais em cima de peças musicais, com um excesso bem naturalizado, e por isto foram taxadas de nada mais do que filmes ruins? Quantas pornochanchadas não eram grandes colagens de erotismo e voyeurismo e só? É preciso talvez ampliar nossas ideias sobre apropriação, para além das formas mais diretamente antropofágicas ou de pastiche, porque há nessa aparente emulação também (ou até mais) incapacidade criativa de copiar o modelo. Uma forma sutil de imitar, mas também de dizer que por trás da estrela de rádio há sempre um cafetão. Por trás da polícia, um país violento.
It was a February day
A storm in the high sea
It was my mates and I
And death rounding up on us
On the beach there was a river of tears 
Roses and prayer against the bad weather
Euê, euá
It was enchantment
In a chant for Yemanjá

Sérgio Ricardo1


THE FILMMAKER

Juliana do Amor Perdido was shown hors concours at the 1970 Berlin Festival. It was shot between 1969 and 19702 on the seashores of the state of São Paulo, in Guarujá and Piracicaba. The film was produced by both Entrefilmes and Vera Cruz, and it was distributed in Brazil by Metro Goldwyn Mayer. Juliana do Amor Perdido is a valuable work that has been far too ignored in the field of Brazilian film studies and among general audiences. This article will contextualize the production of Juliana do Amor Perdido, highlight the film’s poor initial critical reception and later redemption, underline the ways in which the military regime censors reacted to it, discuss Sérgio Ricardo’s own feelings about the film, and present some of the reasons as to why it deserves to be more recognized. 

1969 was an emblematic year throughout the world. It was the year of the remarkable Woodstock festival, humans went to the moon, and the first message was sent via ARPANET - the precursor to the internet. In that same year, general Emilio Garrastazu Medici became president of Brazil in indirect elections. Brazil had been amidst a military dictatorship since 1964. Filmmaking was absolutely dangerous during this period. Depending on the censor’s interpretation, a film could be mutilated or banned entirely. This could then lead to the cast and crew becoming persecuted, exiled or even assassinated by the military regime.3 

Sérgio Ricardo had originally planned to shoot A Noite do Espantalho (1974) in 1969, but production was postponed once the AI-5 was proclaimed in late 1968.The AI-5 (Institutional Act 5) meant the military coup was radicalizing.4  The AI-5 meant:
All citizens had their political rights suspended for ten years.
The military regime could freely intervene in states and municipalities. 
The National Congress, City Councils and State Legislative Assemblies could be forced into recess indefinitely by the President. 
The regime could remove the mandates of federal, state or municipal representatives.
The right for citizens to vote and to be voted in union elections was suspended.
Any activity or demonstrations of a political nature were forbidden.
The guarantee of habeas corpus was suspended for political crimes.
The press, theater, music and films would be increasingly censored.5
The producer of Juliana do Amor Perdido was Jorge Ileli, who had directed films such as Amei um Bicheiro (1952) and Mulheres e Milhões (1961). Sérgio Ricardo himself explains how their production strategy had to change due to the AI-5: 
When the AI-5 came, he (Jorge Ileli) told me: Look, man… A Noite do Espantalho won’t be approved by the censors, and I’m not going to invest in a film that’s going to be banned. So, either you come up with a different, lighter story, or we give up on A Noite do Espantalho. (Ricardo, 2017)
It was after this conversation that Sérgio Ricardo had the idea to make Juliana do Amor Perdido. He would base the film on a story told to him by his uncle “about a train that, at the same time every evening, would whistle, and make everybody melancholic” (Ricardo, 2017). From that premise, Sérgio Ricardo teamed up with filmmaker and screenwriter Roberto Santos to develop a screenplay.

Once the screenplay was completed, Sérgio began the casting process. He ended up casting a newcomer, Maria do Rosário from Rio de Janeiro, as Juliana. He also casted Francisco di Franco as Faísca, Antonio Pitanga, Ítala Nandi and Macedo Neto. After financial resources were gathered, and the crew was ready to shoot, the production of Juliana do Amor Perdido began. 

The story of Juliana do Amor Perdido centers on Juliana, who is the daughter of a man who leads an entire fishing community. This community lives on an island somewhere in Brazil. The first fifteen minutes of the film reveal the major elements and themes that will be articulated throughout it. Juliana appears as a mystical being. She has a mysterious connection to the sea, and her presence is seen as fundamental to the success of fishing and the commercialization of fish on the island. The opening scene of the film reveals a magical ritual that the community undergoes, which they believe will lead to their success when fishing. Juliana is at the center of this ritual, appearing as if she were a Yemanjá, a religious figure with totally syncretic elements between Afro-Brazilian religions, Christianity, and the experience of fishing. In this opening scene, Juliana is almost an apparition of the sea queen. 

Once this ritual is over, the following scene presents a dialogue between Silva, Juliana’s father, and Mr. Moisés, who owns the island and is the middleman between the island fishermen and the fish market. In the scene, Silva complains to Moisés (who happens to have a foreign and possibly Jewish accent) that he truly believes in Juliana's holiness. Their conversation denotes that the presentation of Juliana as a Saint is a way for these businessmen to continually exploit the fishing community based on their willingness to believe whatever they are told. Aboard Mr. Moisés's boat, Silva says:

- People are complaining about the money, Mr. Moisés.

- Fishermen are stubborn. My situation is very bad, and the fisherman don’t understand it. You are a very intelligent man, and that’s why I trust you. You know, Silva… the island is my property. Some Americans want to buy it. If I sell it, the fishermen will lose their jobs, they’ll have to leave. I pity the fishermen. I get sick when I see them starving. And another thing, Silva: the purchasing power of the people is very low. No one’s eating fish in the city anymore. Only rich people eat fish. The people eat flour, in very bad quality. I’d lose my word of honor. I can’t raise your pay now. Don’t you agree, Silva?

- We have problems too, you know, Mr. Moisés? Fishermen like to work on their own.

- How old is your daughter, Silva?

- 21, Mr. Moisés.

- You have to think of the future, Silva.

- I can raise your wages, and yours alone. Be smart, don’t tell the other fishermen. Tell them about my situation. Then everything is settled.

Silva stares at his boss for a while, keeps silent, and puts his head down in agreement.

This dialogue is symbolic. The cunning way the boss leads the conversation with Silva portrays how exploitation and capitalism have the power to dictate an environment. The belief the fishermen had in the saintliness of Juliana is what maintains power structures and the status quo on the island. The above dialogue is intercut with reverse shots of Juliana blessing boats and fish with flowers. Through clever visual metaphors, the film deals with the reality of Brazil at the time. Such a strategy is widely used by artists in states of exception to deal with social issues directly or allegorically. As the story of Juliana do Amor Perdido continues on from this point, the theme of labor force exploitation is attenuated. The relationship between Juliana and her father, with the men of the island, and with a new lover, Faísca, becomes the center of the narrative.

Juliana do Amor Perdido was received with little sympathy by film critics at the time of its initial release. Comparisons between Sérgio Ricardo's musical work and the film are recurrent. The film is also compared to Glauber Rocha's Barravento (1962), especially in the way that it criticizes religions as "…the opium of the masses…". The newspaper A Província do Pará, on December 16, 1970, states: "sincerely we find the film quite bad (...) what we see is a carnival-like ritual, exoticism meant for foreign eyes”. São Paulo’s Opereta da Tarde, in August 1970, also harshly criticizes the work: "…he, who is so good at singing stories, shouldn’t be so bad at telling them". Jornal da Bahia, in December 1970, is fonder of Juliana do Amor Perdido, writing, "…the film does not defend political theses, but instead it narrates with color, sounds and lyrical rhythms. It is love murdered in a society of lies, exploitation and incest…". Jornal da Bahia’s positive review of the film, saying that it does not have a strong political message, seems to misinterpret it or perhaps to try to apply a pro-military regime bias to it.

It seems obvious that the critical consensus around Juliana do Amor Perdido had a considerable impact on the film’s commercial success when it was first released. However, Juliana do Amor Perdido has gained new appreciation over time, with recent texts highlighting its many praiseworthy aspects. However, one of the constant elements of the film which seem to have retained praise since it was first released is Dib Lutfi's photography and camera work.

THE SAINT

In Juliana do Amor Perdido, the island fishermen do not completely believe Juliana is a saint. This is reflected in the desirous way they look at her. Juliana's virginity is the supposed central element for her magical powers to operate, and she is able to defend herself from the men of the island because of this. Looking at her father, Juliana says, "I don't like the way the men look at me here”, him included. As such, incest is strongly suggested in the narrative.

Juliana's virginity/sanctity is simultaneously presented as the organizing element that maintains balance on the island, but it is also a factor of imbalance. Juliana’s deceased mother, played by Ítala Nandi, is characterized as a witch and prostitute who, through her infidelity, led Juliana's father and the fishing community to ruin. The Saint, Juliana, is the heir to all of this evil. When she falls in love with the train conductor, Faísca, the false balance of the fishing community begins to collapse once again. This patriarchal structure is present in the film's narrative. Women are oppressed by men and religion – two prisons whose only way out is death.  

Juliana's deceased mother only makes an appearance in a few scenes, but when she does, her presence is highly emblematic. The mother’s character personifies a magical woman, similar to the Western concept of a witch. The mother is presented as a mixed, magical being, a saint and a whore, who leads men astray.

Juliana's encounter with her mother happens under a dreamlike aura. The mother appears on a rock with a gypsy card in her hand, the card representing death. The mother reveals the card and says: "You are going to be a saint, Juliana. My daughter will be a saint". The tension of this scene revolves around Juliana's holiness, which the mother reaffirms, and Juliana denies.

This scene is a reflection of the gender stereotypes that were persistent during the era that Juliana do Amor Perdido was produced (Ferro, 2010). Notably, the old idea that women use their powers for evil and to drag men into disgrace. Portrayals of the demonization of women were all too common during this period, and they reveal the larger tensions experienced by women during the military dictatorship. While perpetuating these stereotypes may not have necessarily been intended by the director, they reveal themselves to us now because we understand that this perception was a major part of that historical moment. According to Marco Ferro:
[Cinema] destroys the image of the double that each institution and each individual has managed to build for society. The camera reveals that image the way it really is, it says more about each person than they want to show. It unveils the secrets, it shows the opposite of society, its “lapses” (Ferro 2010, p. 31).
CENSORSHIP
The film advances into Juliana's relationship with Faísca. Faísca is the conductor of a train which passes near by the island on a daily basis. For Juliana, the train not only brings the possibility of romance, but also the possibility of escape, to leave the community which is oppressing her. Faísca, in love with Juliana, tries to help her get off the island. He invites her to run away on the train, and while Juliana first refuses, she later gives in. 

On the train, Juliana’s supposed sanctity falls apart when she loses her virginity. Originally there was a sex scene in the film, but the censors cut it, leaving in only a few frames. As a result, the sex scene in Juliana do Amor Perdido is one of the strangest in Brazilian cinema. Initially, this scene portrayed oral sex from a man to a woman. This was something the censors did not approve of, even though there is a simulated marriage in the scene before it occurs. For the censors, films cannot portray or promote any form of sex before marriage.


This sex scene attracted attention from one of the censors responsible for analyzing the film, Sebastião Minas Brasil Coelho. Sebastião did not pay as much attention to the previously mentioned dialogue between Silva and Moisés. However, the second censor, C. Montebello, was more rigorous, even citing the dialogue between the boss and the fisherman in his report. The sex scene with the insinuation of oral sex from a man to a woman, during the dictatorship, represented female empowerment. These censors clearly felt that sexual freedom needed to be contained, as the sexual revolution was a danger to the system. The remaining shots left in the film after the censorship cuts are close ups of Juliana and Faísca and a final shot between piles of paper. 

The following quotations present the opinions of censors Sebastião Minas Brasil Coelho and C. Montebello in their censorship reports. On June 9, 1970, Sebastião Minas Brasil Coelho issued:

To conclude, I must reiterate that it is a romantic film, full of lyricism and sensitivity, about a typical Brazilian theme, which is mysticism and religious sects of the country’s coastal areas. Its development is homogeneous, with inserts of opportune and intelligently placed flashbacks. There is a sex scene with Juliana and Faísca, in a poetic and non-erotic manner. I consider it inconvenient for minors to watch certain scenes. Therefore, I recommend it to be released for 18 and older.6
That concludes his report, but, after signing the document, Sebastião makes an observation in the body of the paper:
Considering that during the sex scene in the fourth part of the film there are shots of eroticism when Juliana is taken by Faísca, I suggest that shot be cut down to six frames in the moment Juliana appears in the foreground with erotic nuances. Considering that this film will represent Brazil in the International Berlin Festival, I think it should receive a special certificate for an uncut release. To be shown nationally, however, the cuts described above must be made.7
C. Montebello, the second censor, offers different opinions in his report issued on August 10th, 1970:
1a part - there is a dialogue between the leader of the fishermen and the “Jew” who owns the island where they live, in which said owner threatens to sell it to “the American” and says, “then you won’t have the right to fish”, and also that “fish is too expensive and only rich people can afford it”, that the people have little purchasing power and can only eat flour.

4a part – We totally agree with the previous censor, who thought the scene of the carnal conjunction should have this shot removed entirely or made shorter: when the young man, after kissing his lover, goes down alongside her body (then he disappears behind the boxes which were probably placed in the shot), and leaving only the shot when the young woman twists her body, at the mercy of the pleasure given to her by her lover (not in the shot), in an erotic practice which is not thought well of by the moral norms, which we could be considered aberrant, and therefore unfit to be shown in public.8 

Conclusion: just to notify the dignified boss of SCDP, we reiterate that the film does not seem fit to be shown internationally, due to the fact that it centers on an isolated group of uncultured fishermen (for that reason they are exploited by the “Jew”) and subdued by the utterly primitive spiritualist cult of Yemanjá. It would send foreigners a demoralizing view of Brazilian reality, contrary to the efforts of our public administration to erase the negative image by which our country is known in other places.9
C. Montebello noticed and remarked upon the political tones of the dialogue between Mr. Moises and Silva, but was more emphatic to highlight the sex scene, about which he totally agreed with Sebastião Minas Brasil Coelho. As a result, the dialogue remained intact and the sex scene was cut to six frames. It is important to call attention to the fact that he recommends the film shouldn’t be shown internationally. This demonstrates that censors cared about how the military regime was being perceived by other countries.
Juliana do Amor Perdido is not a film about femininity. Rather, it is about a masculine world which has become disorganized by two women, Juliana and her mother. These women are portrayed as stereotypes - magical women who are dominated by the men around them and exploited for capital gain. At the end of the film, Traíra, a young fisherman, takes Silva’s place and Moisés proposes to raise his pay under the condition that he arranges for a new saint to be brought into the community. As they talk, they look at a young girl on the beach. Thus, the exploitation of that community is perpetuated. A new saint, like Juliana, will have her body become an object of order and disorder on the island.

The tragic end sequence shows Juliana on the tracks again, running barefoot and being chased by part of the island community. She sees Faísca’s train coming towards her. Behind her is the oppression of her old world, and in front of her is the train, which no longer represents love or escape, but an iron monster. Juliana meets her death between the two poles that would have led to further trauma in her life. 

Juliana do Amor Perdido is not Sérgio Ricardo’s best film, but it is an important work in the history of Brazilian cinema. Juliana do Amor Perdido displays a visual beauty that stands out for its time, its precious soundtrack has songs written and sung by Sérgio Ricardo himself, and the film highlights themes that were important to deal with during an era of repression. There is something inside all of us that needs to be freed, a magic that needs to be tapped into and shared. This magic needs to be used for good, rather than serving as an instrument of domination. Perhaps the message of Juliana do Amor Perdido, one year after the AI-5, was that there is no solution in the individual. There is no escape from oppressive relations, unless we come together. Exile solves nothing.

“Juliana is the queen of the sea”
Sérgio Ricardo



1. Part of the lyrics of the song “Juliana, Rainha do Mar”. Released on the LP Arrebentação in 1971. Lyrics, composition, and interpretation by Sérgio Ricardo.

2. Juliana do Amor Perdido received its commercial release in 1970, but the production and filming took place in 1969. This article will take 1969 as its production date.

3. If the military suspected that filmmakers were involved in any subversive activities, even if there was no reason to believe it, those filmmakers could have been persecuted.

4. When the military rose to power in 1964, their public discourse was generally mild. However, they were already persecuting, spying, censoring, arresting, exiling, and torturing their enemies from day one. The AI-5 meant the regime was tougher and more openly dictatorial.

5. Source: Presidência da República – Casa Civil.

6. Source: Memória da Censura no Cinema Brasileiro 1964-1988.

7. Ibid.

8. Source: Memória da Censura no Cinema Brasileiro 1964-1988.

9. Ibid.
REFERENCES

Ferro, M. Cinema e História. São Paulo: Paz e Terra, 2010.Hagemeyer, Rafel Rosa. SARAIVA, Daniel Lopes (orgs.) Esse Mundo é Meu: As artes de Sérgio Ricardo. Curitiba: April, 2018.

Nandi, I. Interview conducted in the project A Câmara Acústica de Sérgio Ricardo. Rio de Janeiro, July 23rd, 2017.

Ricardo, S. Interview conducted in the project A Câmara Acústica de Sérgio Ricardo. Rio de Janeiro, July 22nd, 2017.

It was a February day
A storm in the high sea
It was my mates and I
And death rounding up on us
On the beach there was a river of tears 
Roses and prayer against the bad weather
Euê, euá
It was enchantment
In a chant for Yemanjá

Sérgio Ricardo1


THE FILMMAKER

Juliana do Amor Perdido was shown hors concours at the 1970 Berlin Festival. It was shot between 1969 and 19702 on the seashores of the state of São Paulo, in Guarujá and Piracicaba. The film was produced by both Entrefilmes and Vera Cruz, and it was distributed in Brazil by Metro Goldwyn Mayer. Juliana do Amor Perdido is a valuable work that has been far too ignored in the field of Brazilian film studies and among general audiences. This article will contextualize the production of Juliana do Amor Perdido, highlight the film’s poor initial critical reception and later redemption, underline the ways in which the military regime censors reacted to it, discuss Sérgio Ricardo’s own feelings about the film, and present some of the reasons as to why it deserves to be more recognized. 

1969 was an emblematic year throughout the world. It was the year of the remarkable Woodstock festival, humans went to the moon, and the first message was sent via ARPANET - the precursor to the internet. In that same year, general Emilio Garrastazu Medici became president of Brazil in indirect elections. Brazil had been amidst a military dictatorship since 1964. Filmmaking was absolutely dangerous during this period. Depending on the censor’s interpretation, a film could be mutilated or banned entirely. This could then lead to the cast and crew becoming persecuted, exiled or even assassinated by the military regime.3 

Sérgio Ricardo had originally planned to shoot A Noite do Espantalho (1974) in 1969, but production was postponed once the AI-5 was proclaimed in late 1968.The AI-5 (Institutional Act 5) meant the military coup was radicalizing.4  The AI-5 meant:
All citizens had their political rights suspended for ten years.
The military regime could freely intervene in states and municipalities. 
The National Congress, City Councils and State Legislative Assemblies could be forced into recess indefinitely by the President. 
The regime could remove the mandates of federal, state or municipal representatives.
The right for citizens to vote and to be voted in union elections was suspended.
Any activity or demonstrations of a political nature were forbidden.
The guarantee of habeas corpus was suspended for political crimes.
The press, theater, music and films would be increasingly censored.5
The producer of Juliana do Amor Perdido was Jorge Ileli, who had directed films such as Amei um Bicheiro (1952) and Mulheres e Milhões (1961). Sérgio Ricardo himself explains how their production strategy had to change due to the AI-5: 
When the AI-5 came, he (Jorge Ileli) told me: Look, man… A Noite do Espantalho won’t be approved by the censors, and I’m not going to invest in a film that’s going to be banned. So, either you come up with a different, lighter story, or we give up on A Noite do Espantalho. (Ricardo, 2017)
It was after this conversation that Sérgio Ricardo had the idea to make Juliana do Amor Perdido. He would base the film on a story told to him by his uncle “about a train that, at the same time every evening, would whistle, and make everybody melancholic” (Ricardo, 2017). From that premise, Sérgio Ricardo teamed up with filmmaker and screenwriter Roberto Santos to develop a screenplay.

Once the screenplay was completed, Sérgio began the casting process. He ended up casting a newcomer, Maria do Rosário from Rio de Janeiro, as Juliana. He also casted Francisco di Franco as Faísca, Antonio Pitanga, Ítala Nandi and Macedo Neto. After financial resources were gathered, and the crew was ready to shoot, the production of Juliana do Amor Perdido began. 

The story of Juliana do Amor Perdido centers on Juliana, who is the daughter of a man who leads an entire fishing community. This community lives on an island somewhere in Brazil. The first fifteen minutes of the film reveal the major elements and themes that will be articulated throughout it. Juliana appears as a mystical being. She has a mysterious connection to the sea, and her presence is seen as fundamental to the success of fishing and the commercialization of fish on the island. The opening scene of the film reveals a magical ritual that the community undergoes, which they believe will lead to their success when fishing. Juliana is at the center of this ritual, appearing as if she were a Yemanjá, a religious figure with totally syncretic elements between Afro-Brazilian religions, Christianity, and the experience of fishing. In this opening scene, Juliana is almost an apparition of the sea queen. 

Once this ritual is over, the following scene presents a dialogue between Silva, Juliana’s father, and Mr. Moisés, who owns the island and is the middleman between the island fishermen and the fish market. In the scene, Silva complains to Moisés (who happens to have a foreign and possibly Jewish accent) that he truly believes in Juliana's holiness. Their conversation denotes that the presentation of Juliana as a Saint is a way for these businessmen to continually exploit the fishing community based on their willingness to believe whatever they are told. Aboard Mr. Moisés's boat, Silva says:

- People are complaining about the money, Mr. Moisés.

- Fishermen are stubborn. My situation is very bad, and the fisherman don’t understand it. You are a very intelligent man, and that’s why I trust you. You know, Silva… the island is my property. Some Americans want to buy it. If I sell it, the fishermen will lose their jobs, they’ll have to leave. I pity the fishermen. I get sick when I see them starving. And another thing, Silva: the purchasing power of the people is very low. No one’s eating fish in the city anymore. Only rich people eat fish. The people eat flour, in very bad quality. I’d lose my word of honor. I can’t raise your pay now. Don’t you agree, Silva?

- We have problems too, you know, Mr. Moisés? Fishermen like to work on their own.

- How old is your daughter, Silva?

- 21, Mr. Moisés.

- You have to think of the future, Silva.

- I can raise your wages, and yours alone. Be smart, don’t tell the other fishermen. Tell them about my situation. Then everything is settled.

Silva stares at his boss for a while, keeps silent, and puts his head down in agreement.

This dialogue is symbolic. The cunning way the boss leads the conversation with Silva portrays how exploitation and capitalism have the power to dictate an environment. The belief the fishermen had in the saintliness of Juliana is what maintains power structures and the status quo on the island. The above dialogue is intercut with reverse shots of Juliana blessing boats and fish with flowers. Through clever visual metaphors, the film deals with the reality of Brazil at the time. Such a strategy is widely used by artists in states of exception to deal with social issues directly or allegorically. As the story of Juliana do Amor Perdido continues on from this point, the theme of labor force exploitation is attenuated. The relationship between Juliana and her father, with the men of the island, and with a new lover, Faísca, becomes the center of the narrative.

Juliana do Amor Perdido was received with little sympathy by film critics at the time of its initial release. Comparisons between Sérgio Ricardo's musical work and the film are recurrent. The film is also compared to Glauber Rocha's Barravento (1962), especially in the way that it criticizes religions as "…the opium of the masses…". The newspaper A Província do Pará, on December 16, 1970, states: "sincerely we find the film quite bad (...) what we see is a carnival-like ritual, exoticism meant for foreign eyes”. São Paulo’s Opereta da Tarde, in August 1970, also harshly criticizes the work: "…he, who is so good at singing stories, shouldn’t be so bad at telling them". Jornal da Bahia, in December 1970, is fonder of Juliana do Amor Perdido, writing, "…the film does not defend political theses, but instead it narrates with color, sounds and lyrical rhythms. It is love murdered in a society of lies, exploitation and incest…". Jornal da Bahia’s positive review of the film, saying that it does not have a strong political message, seems to misinterpret it or perhaps to try to apply a pro-military regime bias to it.

It seems obvious that the critical consensus around Juliana do Amor Perdido had a considerable impact on the film’s commercial success when it was first released. However, Juliana do Amor Perdido has gained new appreciation over time, with recent texts highlighting its many praiseworthy aspects. However, one of the constant elements of the film which seem to have retained praise since it was first released is Dib Lutfi's photography and camera work.

THE SAINT

In Juliana do Amor Perdido, the island fishermen do not completely believe Juliana is a saint. This is reflected in the desirous way they look at her. Juliana's virginity is the supposed central element for her magical powers to operate, and she is able to defend herself from the men of the island because of this. Looking at her father, Juliana says, "I don't like the way the men look at me here”, him included. As such, incest is strongly suggested in the narrative.

Juliana's virginity/sanctity is simultaneously presented as the organizing element that maintains balance on the island, but it is also a factor of imbalance. Juliana’s deceased mother, played by Ítala Nandi, is characterized as a witch and prostitute who, through her infidelity, led Juliana's father and the fishing community to ruin. The Saint, Juliana, is the heir to all of this evil. When she falls in love with the train conductor, Faísca, the false balance of the fishing community begins to collapse once again. This patriarchal structure is present in the film's narrative. Women are oppressed by men and religion – two prisons whose only way out is death.  

Juliana's deceased mother only makes an appearance in a few scenes, but when she does, her presence is highly emblematic. The mother’s character personifies a magical woman, similar to the Western concept of a witch. The mother is presented as a mixed, magical being, a saint and a whore, who leads men astray.

Juliana's encounter with her mother happens under a dreamlike aura. The mother appears on a rock with a gypsy card in her hand, the card representing death. The mother reveals the card and says: "You are going to be a saint, Juliana. My daughter will be a saint". The tension of this scene revolves around Juliana's holiness, which the mother reaffirms, and Juliana denies.

This scene is a reflection of the gender stereotypes that were persistent during the era that Juliana do Amor Perdido was produced (Ferro, 2010). Notably, the old idea that women use their powers for evil and to drag men into disgrace. Portrayals of the demonization of women were all too common during this period, and they reveal the larger tensions experienced by women during the military dictatorship. While perpetuating these stereotypes may not have necessarily been intended by the director, they reveal themselves to us now because we understand that this perception was a major part of that historical moment. According to Marco Ferro:
[Cinema] destroys the image of the double that each institution and each individual has managed to build for society. The camera reveals that image the way it really is, it says more about each person than they want to show. It unveils the secrets, it shows the opposite of society, its “lapses” (Ferro 2010, p. 31).
CENSORSHIP
The film advances into Juliana's relationship with Faísca. Faísca is the conductor of a train which passes near by the island on a daily basis. For Juliana, the train not only brings the possibility of romance, but also the possibility of escape, to leave the community which is oppressing her. Faísca, in love with Juliana, tries to help her get off the island. He invites her to run away on the train, and while Juliana first refuses, she later gives in. 

On the train, Juliana’s supposed sanctity falls apart when she loses her virginity. Originally there was a sex scene in the film, but the censors cut it, leaving in only a few frames. As a result, the sex scene in Juliana do Amor Perdido is one of the strangest in Brazilian cinema. Initially, this scene portrayed oral sex from a man to a woman. This was something the censors did not approve of, even though there is a simulated marriage in the scene before it occurs. For the censors, films cannot portray or promote any form of sex before marriage.


This sex scene attracted attention from one of the censors responsible for analyzing the film, Sebastião Minas Brasil Coelho. Sebastião did not pay as much attention to the previously mentioned dialogue between Silva and Moisés. However, the second censor, C. Montebello, was more rigorous, even citing the dialogue between the boss and the fisherman in his report. The sex scene with the insinuation of oral sex from a man to a woman, during the dictatorship, represented female empowerment. These censors clearly felt that sexual freedom needed to be contained, as the sexual revolution was a danger to the system. The remaining shots left in the film after the censorship cuts are close ups of Juliana and Faísca and a final shot between piles of paper. 

The following quotations present the opinions of censors Sebastião Minas Brasil Coelho and C. Montebello in their censorship reports. On June 9, 1970, Sebastião Minas Brasil Coelho issued:

To conclude, I must reiterate that it is a romantic film, full of lyricism and sensitivity, about a typical Brazilian theme, which is mysticism and religious sects of the country’s coastal areas. Its development is homogeneous, with inserts of opportune and intelligently placed flashbacks. There is a sex scene with Juliana and Faísca, in a poetic and non-erotic manner. I consider it inconvenient for minors to watch certain scenes. Therefore, I recommend it to be released for 18 and older.6
That concludes his report, but, after signing the document, Sebastião makes an observation in the body of the paper:
Considering that during the sex scene in the fourth part of the film there are shots of eroticism when Juliana is taken by Faísca, I suggest that shot be cut down to six frames in the moment Juliana appears in the foreground with erotic nuances. Considering that this film will represent Brazil in the International Berlin Festival, I think it should receive a special certificate for an uncut release. To be shown nationally, however, the cuts described above must be made.7
C. Montebello, the second censor, offers different opinions in his report issued on August 10th, 1970:
1a part - there is a dialogue between the leader of the fishermen and the “Jew” who owns the island where they live, in which said owner threatens to sell it to “the American” and says, “then you won’t have the right to fish”, and also that “fish is too expensive and only rich people can afford it”, that the people have little purchasing power and can only eat flour.

4a part – We totally agree with the previous censor, who thought the scene of the carnal conjunction should have this shot removed entirely or made shorter: when the young man, after kissing his lover, goes down alongside her body (then he disappears behind the boxes which were probably placed in the shot), and leaving only the shot when the young woman twists her body, at the mercy of the pleasure given to her by her lover (not in the shot), in an erotic practice which is not thought well of by the moral norms, which we could be considered aberrant, and therefore unfit to be shown in public.8 

Conclusion: just to notify the dignified boss of SCDP, we reiterate that the film does not seem fit to be shown internationally, due to the fact that it centers on an isolated group of uncultured fishermen (for that reason they are exploited by the “Jew”) and subdued by the utterly primitive spiritualist cult of Yemanjá. It would send foreigners a demoralizing view of Brazilian reality, contrary to the efforts of our public administration to erase the negative image by which our country is known in other places.9
C. Montebello noticed and remarked upon the political tones of the dialogue between Mr. Moises and Silva, but was more emphatic to highlight the sex scene, about which he totally agreed with Sebastião Minas Brasil Coelho. As a result, the dialogue remained intact and the sex scene was cut to six frames. It is important to call attention to the fact that he recommends the film shouldn’t be shown internationally. This demonstrates that censors cared about how the military regime was being perceived by other countries.
Juliana do Amor Perdido is not a film about femininity. Rather, it is about a masculine world which has become disorganized by two women, Juliana and her mother. These women are portrayed as stereotypes - magical women who are dominated by the men around them and exploited for capital gain. At the end of the film, Traíra, a young fisherman, takes Silva’s place and Moisés proposes to raise his pay under the condition that he arranges for a new saint to be brought into the community. As they talk, they look at a young girl on the beach. Thus, the exploitation of that community is perpetuated. A new saint, like Juliana, will have her body become an object of order and disorder on the island.

The tragic end sequence shows Juliana on the tracks again, running barefoot and being chased by part of the island community. She sees Faísca’s train coming towards her. Behind her is the oppression of her old world, and in front of her is the train, which no longer represents love or escape, but an iron monster. Juliana meets her death between the two poles that would have led to further trauma in her life. 

Juliana do Amor Perdido is not Sérgio Ricardo’s best film, but it is an important work in the history of Brazilian cinema. Juliana do Amor Perdido displays a visual beauty that stands out for its time, its precious soundtrack has songs written and sung by Sérgio Ricardo himself, and the film highlights themes that were important to deal with during an era of repression. There is something inside all of us that needs to be freed, a magic that needs to be tapped into and shared. This magic needs to be used for good, rather than serving as an instrument of domination. Perhaps the message of Juliana do Amor Perdido, one year after the AI-5, was that there is no solution in the individual. There is no escape from oppressive relations, unless we come together. Exile solves nothing.

“Juliana is the queen of the sea”
Sérgio Ricardo



1. Part of the lyrics of the song “Juliana, Rainha do Mar”. Released on the LP Arrebentação in 1971. Lyrics, composition, and interpretation by Sérgio Ricardo.

2. Juliana do Amor Perdido received its commercial release in 1970, but the production and filming took place in 1969. This article will take 1969 as its production date.

3. If the military suspected that filmmakers were involved in any subversive activities, even if there was no reason to believe it, those filmmakers could have been persecuted.

4. When the military rose to power in 1964, their public discourse was generally mild. However, they were already persecuting, spying, censoring, arresting, exiling, and torturing their enemies from day one. The AI-5 meant the regime was tougher and more openly dictatorial.

5. Source: Presidência da República – Casa Civil.

6. Source: Memória da Censura no Cinema Brasileiro 1964-1988.

7. Ibid.

8. Source: Memória da Censura no Cinema Brasileiro 1964-1988.

9. Ibid.
REFERENCES

Ferro, M. Cinema e História. São Paulo: Paz e Terra, 2010.Hagemeyer, Rafel Rosa. SARAIVA, Daniel Lopes (orgs.) Esse Mundo é Meu: As artes de Sérgio Ricardo. Curitiba: April, 2018.

Nandi, I. Interview conducted in the project A Câmara Acústica de Sérgio Ricardo. Rio de Janeiro, July 23rd, 2017.

Ricardo, S. Interview conducted in the project A Câmara Acústica de Sérgio Ricardo. Rio de Janeiro, July 22nd, 2017.

“Isn't yesterday’s god the god of today?”
1. The Catulé Narrative
Before we explore the historical, dramatic, and cinematographic universe surrounding the film Vereda da Salvação (1965), we begin this essay with a narrative account and analysis of the event known in historiography as “A aparição do demônio no Catulé” (“The demon's apparition in Catulé”).1
As such, we hope to lay the groundwork for a more insightful plunge into the 1965 film directed by Anselmo Duarte, based on the play written by the São Paulo-born dramatist and writer Jorge Andrade. The theater play, in turn, took inspiration from oral testimonies organized by Maria Isaura Pereira de Queiroz (among others) in the book Estudos de Sociologia e História (Anhembi, 1957), which contains the essay “The demon's apparition in Catulé”, written by the Italian anthropologist Carlo Castaldi.

We believe this approach will allow us to extract certain elements from this episode that were assimilated by the dramatic arts and cinema, particularly in what it reverberates and, ultimately, contradicts: the underlying debates surrounding the national-popular issue.

In our attempt to both describe and interpret the facts, our references include the narratives by Castaldi as well as by Duarte himself, and the reports and analyses by Lísias Nogueira Negrão (2001), Renato Queiroz (2009), and Fabiano Lucena (2017).

Furthermore, we feel it is necessary to provide some contextual background information for the episode in question.

The historical peculiarities of the period reveal a context traversed by political-rural archaism, militarism, and radical changes in the agricultural framework, marked by the internationalization of the economy and the subsequent traumatic reordering of the geopolitics of the countryside with the forced expropriation of vast territories.

As for the specific context, the episode involved small landowners who were expropriated from their lands and forced to become sharecroppers. Lacking the appropriate techniques to deal with their new location, they were forced to confront the challenges of an extremely unfavorable economic geopolitics.

Simultaneously, if we consider the ex-landowner community’s own perspective, their beliefs transitioned during the land expropriation process from a typical rustic-provincial Catholicism to the Adventist Church of the Promise, Brazil’s first Pentecostal and Sabbatarian evangelical church.

Finally, we reflect upon the distinctions and continuities between Millenarianism, Messianism, and more specifically in the episode at stake, how these terms were accommodated in a territory where American Protestantism began to exert an organic and consistent influence.

Let's move on, then, to the narrative.

In a clearing in the Forest, in a locality known as Catulé in the São João do Mata Farm, there was a small settlement of a community of 44 individuals, described at the time as “pessoas de cor” (“people of color”). Most of these individuals were illiterate, linked by ties of kinship, friendship and fellowship. The settlement was in the state of Minas Gerais, in the town of Malacacheta, in the Mucuri Valley, close to the Jequitinhonha River valley, a microregion of Teófilo Otoni.

Defined by scholars as a “political-religious movement (...) characterized by messianic-millenarian traits”, this episode seems to fall within a category of resistance and reaction phenomena, organized by traditional communities against the precarious conditions arising from forced modernization.

All of this in a country that insisted on conserving a patrimonialist and slavocrat mode of production while simultaneously embarking on a limited industrialization process. Against this backdrop emerges the “Demônio no Catulé” (“Demon of Catulé”).

It was April, 1955, when...

Worker-partners (…), overcome by a fierce mystical-religious frenzy, became the main protagonists of a social drama which has since been forgotten in academic circles: ‘The demon's apparition in Catulé’. Newly converted to the Adventist Church of Promise, our characters were involved in a tragic sequence of events: they sacrificed four of their children, killed some of their dogs and cats, and lost two of their adult men, slaughtered by soldiers who rode to the Catulé grotto in a posse to arrest the ‘fanatics’ – all this amid internal accusations of demonic possession and beatings of children and adults to cast out the devil and ‘investigate the Church of God.' (Queiroz, 2008)
It is worth mentioning how these reports described the material situation of these characters.

First, they detail how the settlers were expropriated from their lands, which was to be used for land speculation given the appreciation of the region in the wake of the newly built Rio-Bahia Highway. Furthermore, as stated by Queiroz, when transitioning to these new lands the new settlers increasingly felt the burden of unproductive individuals, mostly children, who did not serve as part of the workforce or were unable to work:‍

… small landowners or homesteaders, deprived of their land, found themselves forced to accept the condition of worker-tenants, living “as a favor” on the rural property of a major farmer. In this new life condition, their former material and symbolic techniques proved to be progressively inoperative to adjust to the environment. Their livelihoods, already minimal under the traditional rural system, thus became more restrictive under the rustic mode of existence. (Queiroz, 2008)
According to Lucena (2017), the Catulé community lived their lives according to the interconnection between “a logic grounded on the traditional rustic system, sanctioned above all by a rustic patriarchal Catholicism, and their shared identity through land expropriation.”

The inhabitants of Catulé abruptly shifted from being smallholders to sharecroppers, forced to share production with the owner, a fact which likely had a traumatic effect on their lives.

As Lucena explains, there was…

...in addition to a Catholic versus Protestant rivalry among sharecroppers and landowners, as well as conflicts regarding material (re)production, expressed in the hostilities which led to the displacement of the production process, in the transition from small producers to subordination to an owner and their subsequent proletarianization, the group also faced internal dissent over the distribution of labor and land as much as in religious matters.
Lacking the necessary techniques to prepare the soil they managed to occupy – according to Castaldi, “the balance between the nature of the place and the techniques available to overcome the situation gradually disappeared” – these same inhabitants converted themselves to the Adventism of Promise.

Perhaps therein lies the main characteristic through which the political-religious phenomenon of Catulé is a particularly exceptional case among the messianic-millenarian movements in Brazil: the neo-Pentecostal religious worldview served as the engine and foundation for action.

In a context ravaged by material and psychological losses resulting from the land expropriation process, the community received the visit of missionaries from the Adventist Church of Promise, when two pastors stayed in the area in 1954 to conduct liturgical actions and counsel the nascent Adventist groups at that time.

The characteristics below reveal an even more unique episode:

The Adventists of Promise preserved in their doctrines the importance of Christ's second coming as much as the belief in the Millennium, ‘integrating the Seventh-day Adventist eschatology into their teachings'. We thus conclude that Adventism of Promise is an adapted version of Seventh-day Adventism within a Pentecostal framework, a Christian branch that emerged in the United States in the early 20th century. (…): “The ‘brothers’ should treat each other with the utmost respect; any discussion whatsoever was a sin that required mutual forgiveness; likewise, it was a sin to talk about trivialities. Sexual morality was extremely strict (…) from which we conclude that, for the Adventism of Promise, the dead do not go to heaven, there is no hell nor purgatory, and the resurrection of the flesh is the only means of returning to life and only God has the attribute of immortality. The dead await unconscious in their graves until they are resurrected for the Final Judgment. Believers will be saved and shall inhabit the same, albeit renewed, land forever ‘without fatigue or weariness’, while the wicked shall be destroyed for eternity. ‘In the plan of the eternal Father, therefore, there is no middle ground’.
After their expropriation, the community converted to the new faith while simultaneously engaging in a fierce leadership dispute, mirroring the clash between Catholicism – which represented the previous traditional system – and the new difficulties brought about the new order. As Castaldi described: “alliances based on family ties were replaced by communal sect”.

The dispute was triggered by a series of factors, including a feud between Manuel and Joaquim, his son-in-law, which clearly expressed how the transition from Catholicism to Adventism of Promise had decisively changed the relations among the group.

On one side, there was Manuel, responsible for mediating the relations between peasants and landowner. On the other side, Joaquim, a 26-year-old young man, single, literate and recently arrived at the community. Joaquim, an avid and devout reader of the Bible, gradually manifested a euphoria typical of religious leaders, which ultimately destabilized Manuel's authority.

2. Catulé as a Political-Religious Phenomenon

The complexity of the episode fully manifests itself insofar as we identify the presence and subtle differences between Messianism, Millenarianism, and Messianic-Millenarianist movements.

According to Lísias Nogueira Negrão – based on the considerations of Maria Isaura Pereira de Queiroz – Messianism and Messianic movements...

...are inherently ideal-types insofar as they refer to an observable reality, but do not reproduce or restrict themselves to such reality – even if the authors categorize their concepts as empirical types. The former expresses a belief in a Savior – God himself or an emissary – and the expectation of his arrival which would put an end to the present order, seen as wicked or oppressive, and establish a new era of Virtue and Justice; the latter refers to a collective action – whether by the people as a whole or a segment of any given society – which strives to fulfill the new order desired, under the guidance of a leader with charismatic virtues.

The conception above correlates messianic movements with Eschatology, even though we may find millenarian non-messianic movements, propelled by a succession – or plurality – of war leaders, assemblies of elders, virgins, or inspiring children, etc. On the other hand, typical messianic movements may not always have the conception of a final eschaton.

The belief in Chiliasm or Millenarianism – a doctrine according to which predestined individuals would remain 1,000 years on Earth after the final judgment and experience all sorts of delights – went on to include Messianism, mirrored in the distinctive enthusiasm that shone through the figure of Manuel.

The new region imposed internal contradictions and challenges, which provoked strong feelings and increasingly fueled the imagination. Hierophanies, beatings, glossolalia, and murders resulted in a macabre combination of child and animal sacrifices as well as possession sessions, often associated with entranced states.

The logic of myth and action in Catulé suggests that, beyond the pursuit of a mythic outcome (the Chiliasm, the Kingdom of Heaven), and even prior to submitting themselves to a nihilistic self-annulment through the suicidal attitude of eliminating children and animals, the episode reveals a desperate attempt to confront an unjust political order and the impoverished material conditions in which they lived. “Through internalization, in which no longer dischargeable instincts turn inward, comes the invention of what is popularly called the human ‘soul’”, writes Nietzsche in On the Genealogy of Morality.

Entranced Earth: hierophany, glossolalia, sacrifice... everything appears to suggest the hypothesis of a psycho-collective conjuration. The Catulé event seems to transcend, in all its dimensions, the condition of a phenomenon limited to religious fanaticism or ecstasy, encompassing a series of factors through which the event stands as a type of necessary response, underpinned by a plethora of religious orders.

First and foremost a reaction to the need to cope – psychologically and materially – with the inexorable condition of being expropriated, the natural antagonism against the new landowner (whom, like Joaquim, was Catholic), the reduction of the workforce expressed in the contingent of children, the miserable living conditions, a cosmology comprised of strict practical and theoretical prescriptions towards purification, in turn associated with the need for projection and materialization.

The straight line, which would allegedly guide us from myth to irrationality, does not provide the adequate basis from which to grasp the particularity of this event.

In “Lógica do Mito e da Ação: o movimento messiânico canela de 1963” (“The Logic of Myth and Action: The Canela messianic movement of 1963”), an essay about the messianic movement that led to an upheaval among the Ramkokamckra-Canela Indians in the state of Maranhão, in 1963, anthropologist Manuela Carneiro da Cunha explains the reasons behind her thesis:

I propose to discuss that, while this cult is the counterpart to the social structure of Canela, the unfolding of the actions, as understood by the actors themselves, dialectically refer to a myth: the origin of the white man, a myth literally reenacted in reverse to present the indigenous triumph and the ultimate downfall of the white man. To this end, I place myself at the level of representations: as such we may understand the effectiveness of the messianic movement founded on logical categories of Canela thought, which ultimately furnishes cognitive satisfaction. 
Amid the outbursts and pantomimes that took over Catulé in that Holy Week, may we identify some underlying thought, a cognitive difficulty? Or nothing more than irrational anger, which would later serve to justify the severe punishment at the hands of the State?

If, from the point of view of the white men who ruled these lands, there was no logic or reason, we may ask how one could expect to find reason in view of such widespread injustice and contradiction? Wouldn't the diagnosis that inferred fanaticism to Catulé provide, through an inverse movement and for the very first time, the absent arms of Law and Justice? By denying them not only a Eurocentric rationality, but any logic through which to justify their actions, they were thrown into further intense distrust and abandonment, without any support from the State or from anyone else.

On the other hand, if we acknowledge that some cognitive attitude in Catulé contradicted the dominant perspective, we may envisage other insights. In this regard, we find an underlying difference between the Ramkokamckra-Canela Indians and the events at Catulé: while the former seemingly resembles a rite or cult that had occasionally occurred in the past, what happens in Catulé seems not to obey a ritual logic, but rather a strategy of dynamic imagination, a strategy of improvisation.

Cunha concludes the essay with the following reflection:

If the undeniable driving force behind these movements is the experience of inequality, they nonetheless meet intellectual demands, as they allow us to understand that they endured a lifestyle that has barely changed over a century.
The political-religious phenomenon of Catulé: through this categorization we align ourselves with Cunha as much as Castaldi, Queiroz, and Lucena, according to which we may adopt a non-ethnocentric stance when perceiving the events, i.e., refraining from assigning fanaticism, irrationality, and illogicality to the participants without first considering the oppressive conditions in which they lived.
3. Transition from an Anthropological Narrative to a Dramatic Narrative

Carlo Castaldi's narrative, published two years after the incident, provides such a realistic portrayal of the dynamics of events that it conveys the dramatic atmosphere of grand anthropological accounts.

In an essay dedicated to the phenomenon, titled “The demon's apparition in Catulé” (1957), Castaldi describes the events to circumscribe a crescendo of seemingly contradictory attitudes, mediated by the cosmological principles of the new religion. Within this context emerged the incipient conditions through which the beating of a woman and a child transpired as natural events for the community:

We were at the end of our religious service” – narrates one of the residents of Catulé “and we were all leading prayer”. Maria dos Anjos was sleeping, kneeling on the doorstep and “did not pray”. Artuliana (Joaquim's sister) said that “it was Satan acting" and, suddenly, Joaquim jumped on Anjos and started beating her “to expel Satan”. No one reprimanded Joaquim’s second act of violence. Onofre and the others endorsed not only his actions, but his justification: “I hit her to banish Satan”. Thus, Satan was a reality so plausible for everyone involved that his existence was beyond doubt. Likewise, they believed in the real possibility of falling victim to his temptations or to be directly possessed by him. When Joaquim released the young woman, she did not run away; instead she returned to B.’s house, where she lived, and went to sleep. They had barely begun to disperse when Geraldo R. dos S. yelled that “Satan had appeared in his yard”. Everyone rushed to see and he pointed to a piece of brown sugar, which he alleged had mysteriously appeared. When we asked what led him to believe that the brown sugar had demonic connotations, he was unable to explain; he admitted the cat could have stolen it and left it on the ground. In any case, that night, after the tempestuous experiences during the earlier meeting, when Maria dos Anjos was accused of harboring the devil in her body, it seemed reasonable for Geraldo to see the brown sugar in an unusual place and blame it on the devil. Likewise, nobody else found Geraldo's account preposterous; nor did they find it absurd that Satan would leave, soon afterwards as Joaquim argued, invisible to all but him, from the brown sugar to enter Eve, Maria’s daughter. Joaquim thus began to beat Eva in an attempt to expel the demon, until Artuliana finally declared that the devil had left Eva’s body; her statement was also accepted without further discussion.
Given the radical nature of the event, plastic in its consequences, it is only natural that interest would emerge among playwrights and filmmakers, especially in light of the effervescent landscape of converging themes: violent expropriation of land, unequal relationships between boss and employees, and religious fanaticism and messianism comprising a batch of social issues that inspired middle-class movements. These movements sought not only to fight against social inequalities, but to devise a doctrine regarding the authenticity of popular culture and the paternalistic notions that orbit the national-popular.

Among these cultural movements, we find initiatives and actions that seem to exist within contradictions; nevertheless, however dissenting they may be, they share very similar material and ideological conditions. Moreover, unlike the people they chronicle, they actively participate in urban cultural circuits.

Founded in 1962, in the state of Guanabara (present-day state of Rio de Janeiro), the Popular Culture Center (CPC in the Portuguese acronym) was created by a group of left-wing intellectuals: playwright Oduvaldo Vianna Filho, AKA Vianinha; filmmaker Leon Hirszman, and sociologist Carlos Estevam Martins – in partnership with the National Student Union (UNE in the Portuguese acronym).

Their goal was to create and disseminate a “arte popular revolucionária” (“revolutionary popular art”), a venture which yielded some important films and musical albums, but ultimately proved to be as authoritarian as the national-popular Vargas project: equally regulatory of popular cultural expressions and equally authoritarian by equating such expressions to a nation-building project which, in a contradictory movement, denied the status of equal citizenship to the so-called “popular”.

The Theater of the Oppressed – founded by Augusto Boal – and the Cinema Novo movement would return to some of these issues through different approaches, while preserving the will to legislate over an extremely fragmentary population, rich in their cosmological and material perspectives, albeit dispersed throughout the miserable and violence-ridden corners of Brazil.

Both – the CPC and Cinema Novo – were concerned with formally assimilating people, individuals, and human groups that they knew only through indirect experience.

The singularity of Catulé, however, lies in how it barely conforms to the line of forces that make up the contradictions and schisms about the national-popular. Badly and poorly, the event aligns with a perspective about the democratic struggle and the public denouncement of oppression, aggravated by the 1964 Military Coup. It does not produce the conscientious harmony with which scholars attribute, even if with the best of intentions, a dimension of irrationality to popular religious expressions. This type of interpretation establishes a direct causality between myth and action – and in Catulé everything transpires not as a ritual, but following, as previously stated, an improvisation strategy.

In 1963, the poet and playwright Jorge Andrade wrote a dramatized version, baptized Vereda da Salvação, narrating these facts, with an emphasis on the Marxist vulgate grounded on negative perceptions of the connections between religion and politics – a theme in vogue at that moment in Cinema Novo as found in films such as Barravento (1962) and Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol (1964).

For his theatrical adaptation of the Catulé episode, Andrade based his work on the studies compiled by Maria Isaura Pereira de Queiroz, published in 1957 in the book Estudos de Sociologia e História, which contains articles by Carlos Castaldi and Eunice Ribeiro. According to Queiroz, “while the playwright altered some details of the event, he remained largely faithful to the context of political and mystical ecstasy, as well as by focusing on the role of the two group leaders, merely altering some kinship relationships and the tragic outcome of the event”.

In summary, the Catulé episode found its way into Theater and Cinema through similar paths, if not in form and approach, and least thematically with the Theater of Jorge Andrade, Dias Gomes, and Gianfrancesco Guarnieri; and with Cinema Novo through the works of Linduarte Noronha, Nelson Pereira dos Santos, and Glauber Rocha.

4. Film: Performance and Hierophany

Duarte believed that Vereda da Salvação was his best work, but the film was not well received by audiences and critics alike.
One reason for such aversion is clear: both military and conservatives resented the grim vision of the land conflict. The left, in turn, disliked the oversimplified approach to social issues. Cinema Novo, especially Glauber Rocha, spurned the work for its shallow use of the cinematographic form and for issues that go beyond debates over the form of the film.

In the eyes of the young exponents of the newfangled Movement, Duarte represented São Paulo's industrial cinema. After winning the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1962, with his cinematic vision in O Pagador de Promessas, the skepticism regarding the superficial nature of his films became more prominent through the texts, essays, and declarations of the Cinemanovistas.

Glauber went further and assigned to Jorge Andrade the epithet “Shakespeare do café paulista” (“Coffee Shakespeare from São Paulo”) since, according to him, Andrade “adopts the Shakespearean methodology to theatricalize the mythology of the coffee-based economic history of the state of São Paulo.” 

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Anselmo Duarte mirrors the structure of Vereda da Salvação (the theater play) in his film, directed two years later. Hence, the film’s form of expression, extremely accurate from the point of view of cinematographic desire, did not reveal the same consistency with which the visions of Cinema Novo were later opposed.
The film begins by introducing an environment: a traveling shot reveals the forest and the clearing. The camera approaches as we see the new overseers blessing the new sharecroppers. We can’t help but notice a certain naturalization of the real drama, embedded within the scenery. The country viola, like a medieval lute, emphasizes a melancholic feeling. 

We gradually enter the village and its everyday world. A muller, a shelf, physical labor, scarcity. An offscreen narrative explains the process: “There was no money to fence the land and we ended up fenced in ourselves”. 

Cut to a sex scene, the children eavesdrop... The joy of the children allows us a glimpse of bodily freedom, which nonetheless stands in contrast with the dialogue between the couple as they secretly plot their own wedding.
All signs of the conversion of faith are provided in the first few minutes of the film: the new social and religious condition as well as the transition to a stricter code of moral behavior. The film thus introduces an atmosphere of contradiction and imminence. 

The depth of field informs a collectivity. Onofre’s speech professes the new religion, which finds a vulnerable population, whose imagination gradually begins to shape a change in behavior.
In the argument between Joaquim and Manuel concerning his wife, Maria, a brief shot shows the woman who, overcome with anger, throws a corn straw into the fire. The narrative seems to follow an escalation of mutual demands and impositions, straining relationships and creating centers of power. The continuous camera movement trails a high-angle shot ascending close to 90 degrees. 

The camera returns and reveals the community: Manuel becomes a distinctive figure through Raul Cortez's body performance. The villagers slowly return to their homes as Joaquim remains solitary, in the center of the village, under the watchful eyes of the locals. Tension seizes the environment. 

“You’re no longer in charge. God is in charge now”. 

Under the pressure of his wife, who refuses the radical behavior professed by the Advent of the Promise, Manuel says: “They're perfecting the Church of God”. 

During a harsh period of fasting, known as the Week of Penance, the children feel hungry and want to eat, but are punished and beaten whenever they risk pinching food. The sound of children, mothers cradling their babies, signal the terrifying discrepancy between real hunger and the cognitive demands brought about by the mystical fasting. 

The high contingent of unproductive inhabitants is further aggravated by the new parishioners who, in the process