Some Light Camera Action at Cinema Brazil

    A fresh breeze is blowing through the Brazilian cinema sector. Although films have been made in the country for a hundred years, domestic production has been so small and so difficult that the sector’s survival was often in doubt.

    But recently, films such as Fernando Meirelles’ “Cidade de Deus,” of 2003, which was nominated for a total of five Oscars, brought international recognition to the fledgling Brazilian film industry and a reversal of fortune is underway.


    “Cidade de Deus” was nominated for the Best Foreign Film award in 2003, and four more Oscars in 2004, among them the very prestigious awards for Best Film and Best Director. Although the film did not win any Oscars, it certainly caught everyone’s attention.


    Cinema began in Brazil around 1896 when European immigrants arrived with film projectors in their luggage. Some European films were shown at entertainment centers in Rio de Janeiro at that time.


    But it was only in 1907, with the arrival of electricity in the city, that local production could really begin. It began immediately with Os Estranguladore (The Stranglers), a 40-minute independent production of 1907 by Antônio Leal, based on a true story of a crime committed in Rio.


    The first production company was formed in 1931, called Cinédia. Its most famous production was “Alô. Alô Carnaval,” a popular success of 1936.


    For two decades hundreds of films, most of them light farce and slapstick known as chanchadas were churned out at Cinédia


    In 1949, Brazil got a modern production company, Vera Cruz, that was to be the country’s version of Hollywood. Vera Cruz turned out 17 films before going bankrupt in 1954.


    There had always been independent film productions in Brazil, but with the demise of Vera Cruz, they took on new life in the late 1950s with the appearance of a movement known as the Cinema Novo (New Cinema).


    What happened was that a new reading of Brazilian reality came to the forefront. Films began to spotlight the struggle for survival in the arid backlands of Brazil.


    “Vidas Secas,” by Nelson Pereira dos Santos, and “Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol,” by Glauber Rocha, both in 1963, were a form of protest against the lack of commitment by authorities in dealing with the problems of drought in Brazil’s poorest and most backward regions and its human consequences.


    In the 1970s, the Cinema Novo was overtaken by market forces and a wave of lightly erotic films, dealing with sexuality in Brazilian form and content, dominated the scene.


    The films, known as “pornochancada,” which could be translated as “slapstick pornography,” were little more than fun and entertainment.


    In 1980, a serious film discussed a serious subject: torture in Brazil. The film was “Pra Frente Brasil,” (directed by Roberto Farias) which was released as the military government began to loosen its grip on the country.


    After the Fall


    The military government also loosened restrictions on imports of foreign films in the 1980s and that turned out to be a particularly harsh blow to the industry.


    The numbers tell the story: in the first half of 1980, a total of 154 foreign films were shown in Brazil, while only 42 films were being made domestically.


    The problem was that the public clearly preferred the foreign product, flocking to see them in numbers three times bigger than audiences at Brazilian films. As a result, domestic production turned to almost exclusively films for children.


    In 1993, the Ministry of Culture rolled out an incentive program and began awarding prizes (Programa Banespa de Incentivo í  Indústria Cinematográfica e do Prêmio Resgate Cinema Brasileiro).


    With assistance in financing production and commercialization, the cameras started rolling. In 1994 a big box office success was a historical film, “Carlota Joaquina, Princesa do Brasil,” directed by Carla Camurati.


    That was followed by a string of hits, not only in Brazil, but at the Oscar ceremony when, during the four-year period, 1995 to 1998, Brazil had no less than three finalists for Best Foreign Film: “O Quatrilho” (1995), directed by Fábio Barreto; “Que í‰ Isso Companheiro?” (1997), directed by Bruno Barreto; and “Central do Brasil” (1998), directed by Walter Salles.


    In 1998, the female lead in “Central do Brasil,” Fernanda Montenegro, one of the country’s most famous actresses, was nominated by the Hollyood Academy of Motion Pictures for Best Actress, as well.


    Agência Brasil
    Translator: Allen Bennett

    Tags:

    • Show Comments (0)

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    comment *

    • name *

    • email *

    • website *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Ads

    You May Also Like

    U.S. Control Over Internet Has to End, Says ECLAC, in Brazil

    According to the secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission on Latin America and ...

    Brazilian Scandal’s Moneyman Testifies for 15 Hours and Lists All He Gave Money To

    In his third appearance at congressional hearings, adman/businessman Marcos Valério, spent 15 hours Tuesday, ...

    Chavez and Lula at the Margarita Summit

    Brazil and Venezuela Embark on US$ 5 Billion Petrochemical Project

    Brazil and Venezuela launched yesterday, April 16, in the municipality of Barcelona, in the ...

    Brazil real

    Brazil Decides to Accept Reais for International Deals

    With permission by the Brazilian government for payment in the national currency abroad exporters ...

    Brazil Keeps Dragging Its Feet on Updating Productivity Indices

    The expected update of Brazil’s Land Productivity Indices, used to identify land that is ...

    Brazil’s Business Leader Urges Bigger Role for Businesses

    In Brazil, the president of the Federation of Industries of the State of São ...

    Brazil Looking Forward to Argentina Leader’s Visit

    The president of Argentina, Néstor Kirchner, will arrive in Brazil on January 18 for ...

    Brazil’s Power Generator Company Already in 53 Countries

    The Leon Heimer group, from the northeastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco, a producer of ...

    Brazilian beef

    Brazil Makes Act of Contrition to Reopen Europe’s Doors to Its Beef

    Brazilian Agriculture minister, Reinhold Stephanes, stated that Brazil must "recover the European Union confidence" ...