The best of stage and screen

    The best
of stage
and screen

    CDs or Books
    by Keyword, Title or Author
    By Alessandra Dalevi

    In a daring and treacherous cultural endeavor, Brazilian weekly newsmagazine Isto É
    has decided to choose the century’s top Brazilians in the scenic arts. The ambitious
    proposition includes creative minds working in movies, legitimate theatre, TV drama, and

    The initial list containing 33 names was prepared by a panel of experts including
    moviemakers, playwrights, dancers, writers, and media critics. The final choice will be
    made by the magazine’s readers. Isto É has been promoting other categories of high
    achievers including musicians and sports figures. In the latter category, while soccer
    Pelé was unanimously chosen as the century’s top athlete by the experts, he lost to
    Formula One race driver, Ayrton Senna, in the popular vote.

    At least 246 names were listed by the panel of experts, giving an idea of the Brazilian
    culture’s wealth in the scenic arts field. Even though there was no unanimity this time,
    writer, journalist, playwright Nélson Rodrigues (1912-1980) came in first on the experts’
    choice. Rodrigues, who used to call himself pornographic angel, would probably approve of
    this choice. In one of his most cited sayings he wrote: "All unanimity is

    Despite the abundance of names cited, some important figures didn’t make the
    preliminary list. And they include people of weight like respected moviemaker Joaquim
    Pedro de Andrade; stage, motion-picture and TV actor Lima Duarte; and theater diva Tônia
    Carrero. Late Janete Clair, the mother of all soap opera scribes, has also been snubbed.

    Some of the chosen are not Brazilian. For some people it might come as a surprise that
    comedian Oscarito, for example, was born in Malaga, Spain or that theater innovator
    Gianfrancesco Guarnieri came from Milan, Italy.

    The A List

    Nélson Rodrigues, 24 votes, 1912-1980

    The playwright from Pernambuco was a right-wing reactionary immoral moralist. Bonitinha,
    mas Ordinária (Quite Pretty, but a Harlot), Beijo no Asfalto (Asphalt Kiss)
    and Vestido de Noiva (Wedding Gown) were some of his masterpieces. His tragedies
    are populated by crooks, prostitutes and adulterous men and women.

    Fernanda Montenegro, 23 votes, born 1930

    This Carioca (from Rio) virtuoso actress has been in the world’s spotlight since
    starring on Central do Brasil (Central Station), a film that gave Montenegro
    a nomination for the Oscar this year. She is considered Brazil’s greatest living actress.
    Other movies she acted in: Arnaldo Jabor’s Tudo Bem (Everything’s Fine) from 1978
    and Leon Hirszman’s Eles Não Usam Black-tie (They Don’t Wear Black-Tie). Nobody
    would know her by her real name: Arlete Pinheiro Esteves da Silva.

    José Celso Martinez Corrêa, 22 votes, 1937

    From Araraquara, in the interior of São Paulo. He revolutionized the Brazilian stage
    starting in 1961 when he founded Grupo Oficina in São Paulo. Corrêa directed memorable
    plays like Chico Buarque de Holanda’s Roda Viva and Oswald de Andrade’s Rei da

    Cacilda Becker, 21 votes, 1921-1969

    Legendary stage actress whose life parallels the story of the theater in Brazil. Died
    on May 6, 1969 while performing on stage in Samuel Becket’s Waiting for Godot.

    José Alves Antunes Filho, 20 votes, born 1929

    Stage director from São Paulo, he has been a drive and inspiration to actors and
    directors all across the country. He is the founder of Centro de Pesquisa Teatral where
    hundreds of actors have learned about work on stage. Antunes has traveled the world with
    his experimental Macunaíma group.

    Gláuber Rocha, 19 votes, 1939-1981

    Internationally acclaimed filmmaker, he was considered a genius by colleagues and
    critics alike. Among his best movies, which where shown all over the world, are Terra
    em Transe and Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol. Considered a cultural agitator he
    was the main force behind Cinema Novo in the 1960’s and proposed a "hunger
    aesthetic" to fight the commercial cinema.

    Grande Otelo, 17 votes, 1915-1993

    From Uberlândia, state of Minas Gerais, diminutive Sebastião Bernardes de Souza Prata
    formed with Oscarito in the ’50s Brazil’s most genuine comedian duo. Worked on stage,
    movies and TV.

    Zibignew Ziembinski, 17 votes

    This Russian stage director introduced in Brazil the Russian Konstantin Stanislavsky
    method of interpretation. He was also an innovator in staging and lighting.

    Nélson Pereira dos Santos, 16 votes, born 1928

    This Paulistano (from São Paulo city) working in Rio started the Cinema Novo
    movement of filmmaking at the end of the ’50s with Rio, 40 Graus (Rio, 104 Degrees
    Fahrenheit). His 1964 Vidas Secas (Barren Lives) has become an international
    movie landmark.

    Paulo Autran, 16 votes, born 1922

    This Carioca is considered by many the best Brazilian actor ever. Graduated from
    law school he never worked as an attorney.

    Oduvaldo Vianna Filho, 14 votes

    Playwright tuned with the times he portrayed with details the harsh era of the country
    under the military dictatorship starting in early 1964 and throughout the ’70s.

    Humberto Duarte Mauro, 13 votes, 1897-1983

    From Volta Grande, state of Minas Gerais. Started the so-called Cataguases cycle in the
    pioneer years of the Brazilian movie industry starting at the end of the 1920s. He made
    more than 300 movies. Among the better known are Brasa Dormida (1928), Ganga
    Bruta (1932), and Voz do Carnaval (1933) in which Carmen Miranda made her movie

    Oscarito, 13 votes, 1906-1970

    The most popular comedian in Brazil in the ’40s. Oscar Lourenço Jacinto da Imaculada
    Conceição Tereza Dias was one of the original creators of the chanchada, a
    burlesque theater transposed to the screen.

    Marília Pêra, 12 votes

    Stage, movie and TV actress from Rio. Internationally known for her role as a
    prostitute in Hector Babenco’s Pixote, a Lei do Mais Fraco (1980).

    Plínio Marcos, 11 votes,

    Enfant terrible of Brazilian drama his favorite characters are from an underworld
    populated by prostitutes, outlaws, and jailbirds. Infamous for a text laced with
    four-letter words, his most important plays are from the ’60s, among them Navalha na
    Carne (Razor in the Flesh) and Dois Perdidos numa Noite Suja (Two Lost Souls in
    a Dirty Night).

    Augusto Boal, 11 votes, 67 years old

    From Rio, Boal is a playwright and theoretician. According to his theory of Theater of
    the Oppressed, everyone is an actor.

    Ariano Suassuna, 10 votes, 71 years old

    From Paraíba in the Northeast he has fused Greek and classic literature with the
    Northeast folklore producing such masterpieces as Auto da Compadecida (The
    Compassionate Lady’s Play) and O Santo e a Porca (The Saint and the She-pig).
    Creator of the Armorial movement

    Procópio Ferreira, 10 votes, 1898-1979

    In 60 years on the stage this Carioca played more than 500 characters all across
    the country. During the ’30s, he performed 3,621 times his role in his biggest hit: Joracy
    Camargo’s Deus lhe Pague (May God Pay You).

    Mário Breves Peixoto, 10 votes, born 1910

    Brazilian Orson Welles, he directed in 1931 at age 20 the masterpiece movie Limite
    (Limit). He never made another movie, however.

    Gianfrancesco Guarnieri, 10 votes, born in 1934

    Born in Italy he moved to Brazil with his parents when he was two. Guarnieri wrote some
    of the best Brazilian plays including Eles Não Usam Black-tie (They Don’t Wear
    Black-tie) and Arena Canta Zumbi (Arena Sings Zumbi).

    Alfredo de Freitas Dias Gomes, 9 votes, born in 1922, died in May 1999

    Having started as a playwright, Dias Gomes became famous and popular by creating a new
    language for the Brazilian novelas (soap operas) in the ’70s. Some of the
    best-known feuilletons he penned were O Bem-Amado (The Beloved One) and Roque
    Santeiro (Roque, the Saint Maker).

    Dercy Gonçalves, 9 votes, 91 years old

    Almost a centenary and still very active Dercy has made a career playing rude and
    obscene characters on stage, screen and TV. This Carioca participated in 52 films.

    Dulcina de Moraes, 9 votes, 1908-1996

    Legendary stage actress from Rio de Janeiro became famous interpreting classic plays
    like Cleopatra and Caesar.

    Maria Clara Machado, 8 votes

    She is renowned as an author of children’s plays, but she also is an actress and
    director. Machado created in 1952, in Rio, the Tablado, a theater group that has formed
    many generations of actors.

    Sérgio Cardoso, 8 votes, 1925-1972

    Virtuoso actor, Cardoso debuted in 1948 interpreting Hamlet. Among his biggest
    hits: A Raposa e as Uvas (The Fox and the Grapes) by Guilherme Figueiredo and Arlequim,
    Servidor de Dois Senhores (Harlequin, Servant of Two Masters).

    Leon Hirszmann, 8 votes, 1937-1987

    Director of São Bernardo (1972) and Eles Não Usam Black-tie (1981),
    which won the Grand Prix at the Venice Film Festival. He founded in Rio the Museu de Arte

    Bibi Ferreira, 8 votes

    Actress Abigail Isquierdo Ferreira is the daughter of renowned Procópio Ferreira.
    Having started in 1941 on stage she reached the top of her career in the ’70s with Chico
    Buarque de Holanda’s play Gota d’água (The Last Straw).

    Flávio Império, 7 votes

    An innovator in scene painting, Império in the ’50s and ’60s worked with Oficina and
    Arena, two avant-garde theatrical groups.

    Décio de Almeida Prado, 7 votes

    Theater critic and playwright, he authored several books including Teatro em
    Progresso (Theater in Progress).

    Luís Carlos Barreto, 7 votes

    Legendary movie producer of such hit movies as Dona Flor e Seus Dois Maridos (Dona
    Flor and Her Two Husbands) and O Quatrilho.

    Paschoal Carlos Magno, 7 votes

    A diplomat, theater critic and playwright, he invested in the stage and discovered and
    developed theatrical talent starting in the 1930s.

    Franco Zampari, 7 votes

    An Italian businessman involved with the arts, who founded the Teatro Brasileiro de
    Comédia, in São Paulo in the ’40s.

    Paulo José, 7 votes

    Working in movies for close to 40 years. He had his debut in the big screen with
    Joaquim Pedro’s O Padre e a Moça (The Priest and the Young Woman) from 1965. He
    has also been very active on stage and TV.

    In charge of these nominations were filmmakers Tizuka Yamasaki, Carla Camurati, Carlos
    Reichenbach, Sylvio Back, Ugo Giorgetti, Marcos Fayad, PX Silveira, and Aurélio Michiles;
    first ballerina Ana Botafogo; actors Fernando Bicudo, Renato Borghi, Fernanda Torres,
    José Wilker, Sérgio Mamberti; critics Jean-Claude Bernardet, Astrid Fontenelle, Rodrigo
    Carrero, Gabriel Priolli, Luiz Carlos Maciel, Marcelo Tas, and Bárbara Heliodora; theater
    directors Gerald Thomas, Marcelo Marchioro, and Cacá Rosset; writers Nelson Nadotti,
    Maria Tereza Vargas and Marcelo Rubens Paiva; choreographer Rodrigo Pederneiras;
    playwright Renata Pallottini; and film professor Giba Assis Brasil.

    They were people from all over the country _ not only from Rio and São Paulo. Michiles
    is from Amazonas, Carrero from Pernambuco, Marchioro from Paraná, and Brasil from Rio
    Grande do Sul.

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