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Brazilian Women's Filmmaking

Brazilian Women's Filmmaking: From Dictatorship to Democracy

Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Brazilian Women's Filmmaking
    Book Description:

    At most recent count, there are no fewer than forty-five women in Brazil directing or codirecting feature-length fiction or documentary films. In the early 1990s, women filmmakers in Brazil were credited for being at the forefront of the rebirth of filmmaking, or retomada, after the abolition of the state film agency and subsequent standstill of film production. Despite their numbers and success, films by Brazilian women directors are generally absent from discussions of Latin American film and published scholarly works._x000B__x000B_Filling this void, Brazilian Women's Filmmaking focuses on women's film production in Brazil from the mid-1970s to the current era. Leslie L. Marsh explains how women's filmmaking contributed to the reformulation of sexual, cultural, and political citizenship during Brazil's fight for the return and expansion of civil rights during the 1970s and 1980s and the recent questioning of the quality of democracy in the 1990s and 2000s. She interprets key films by Ana Carolina and Tizuka Yamasaki, documentaries with social themes, and independent videos supported by archival research and extensive interviews with Brazilian women filmmakers. Despite changes in production contexts, recent Brazilian women's films have furthered feminist debates regarding citizenship while raising concerns about the quality of the emergent democracy. Brazilian Women's Filmmaking offers a unique view of how women's audiovisual production has intersected with the reconfigurations of gender and female sexuality put forth by the women's movements in Brazil and continuing demands for greater social, cultural, and political inclusion._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09437-8
    Subjects: Sociology, Film Studies, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    It was raining the day Dilma Rousseff was sworn in as Brazil’s new president. Television commentators noted that the stage before the Planalto (presidential office) was usually open but had to be covered due to the rain. The outgoing president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva stood before the masses who had gathered to witness the ceremony, removed the one-hundred-year-old presidential faixa he was wearing, and placed it over Rousseff, who proudly draped it across her chest. Eight years earlier, on January 1, 2003, Lula (as he was popularly known) received the presidential sash from Fernando Henrique Cardoso, marking the first...

  5. 1 Brazilian Women’s Filmmaking and the State during the 1970s and 1980s
    (pp. 13-45)

    Despite a long history in filmmaking and increasing visibility, women’s contribution to Brazilian cinema has only recently begun to gain greater attention from scholars of Latin American film. In the preface to the article they include in their volume on women’s filmmaking in Brazil, Randal Johnson and Robert Stam refer to the presence of women filmmakers in world cinema as a strong but subterranean current.¹ Thus, this chapter aims to fill a void in Brazilian film historiography and bring women’s activity in Brazilian film to the surface. By drawing on both published materials as well as oral interviews, I aim...

  6. 2 Contesting the Boundaries of Belonging in the Films of Ana Carolina Teixeira Soares
    (pp. 46-87)

    Having begun her career in filmmaking in the 1960s and continued into the new millennium, Ana Carolina is a foundational woman director of twentieth-century Brazilian cinema. Before directing her first feature-length fiction film (Mar de Rosas) in 1977, Ana Carolina directed numerous documentaries in which she demonstrated a keen interest in artists and their artistic practice (Três Desenhos, 1970; Monteiro Lobato, 1970; A Fiandeira, 1970; Nelson Pereira dos Santos Saúda o Povo e Pede Passagem, 1978). Her early films also reveal a keen political eye. She offers sympathetic explorations of labor in Lavrador (1968), a poetic analysis of unions in...

  7. 3 Rescreening the Past: The Politics of Memory in Brazilian Women’s Filmmaking of the 1980s
    (pp. 88-119)

    Brazilian women’s filmmaking during the 1980s emerged at the juncture of several influences. Amid apparent political openings, a pressing desire to reflect on the recent past rubbed up against state-sponsored visions of Brazilian history. A process of developing new senses of cultural and political identity was met with a lingering practice of censorship. As discussed in chapter 1, the grip of authoritarian rule began to loosen during the second half of the 1970s. Students and organized labor once again took to the streets to demand political change. In late 1978, the AI-5, a key authoritarian instrument, was abolished. Shortly thereafter,...

  8. 4 Widening the Screen: Independent and Alternative Film and Video, 1983 to 1988
    (pp. 120-153)

    Just as it is important to bring to light Brazilian women’s feature-length filmmaking, it is equally important to address independent and alternative film and video projects that contributed to new definitions of citizenship during the last years of the dictatorship and the transition toward democracy.

    While the term independent here refers to modes of production wherein media makers work outside commercial media organizations, the term alternative refers to media practices in which the communicative processes arise from or hold close linkages with the socially, politically, and economically excluded. Contemporary feminist film scholars have urged the study of moving image production...

  9. 5 Developments under Democracy: Brazilian Women’s Filmmaking in a New Era
    (pp. 154-180)

    The years encompassing the transition from an autocratic regime to democracy in Brazil did not progress without challenges. Director Lúcia Murat’s 1996 film Doces Poderes highlights the importance of the moving image to intervene in democratic reconstruction of the nation and speaks to a key turning point in Brazil’s recent political history. The film’s protagonist, a television journalist, Bia (Marisa Orth), travels to Brasília to cover the political campaigns for upcoming gubernatorial elections where a white, conservative man linked to an established, inner network of political power, and a black, progressive male candidate run for office. Bia’s democratic ideals regarding...

  10. Conclusion
    (pp. 181-184)

    In addition to recent efforts by President Rousseff to bring attention to Brazilian women artists, the year 2004 marked a watershed moment in contemporary Brazilian women’s filmmaking. Coinciding with the declaration of 2004 as the Year of the Brazilian Woman and Rio de Janeiro’s holding a special summit on women of the Mercosul/Mercosur, the first edition of the Femina International Festival of Women’s Cinema (Festival Internacional de Cinema Feminino) took place. By its eighth edition (in 2011), the Femina Festival has become a premier mobilizer for women’s filmmaking, establishing connections between Brazilian women’s filmmaking and the rest of Latin America...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 185-210)
  12. Selected Filmography
    (pp. 211-214)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 215-228)
  14. Index
    (pp. 229-234)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 235-239)