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The Brazilian Road Movie

The Brazilian Road Movie: Journeys of (Self) Discovery

Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
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  • Book Info
    The Brazilian Road Movie
    Book Description:

    The innovative collection of essays by a distinguished group of scholars brought together in The Brazilian Road Movie: Journeys of (Self)Discovery represents the first book-length publication on Brazil’s encounters with and reworkings of one of cinema’s most enduringly popular genres.

    eISBN: 978-0-7083-2599-5
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Series Editors’ Foreword
    (pp. ix-x)

    Over recent decades the traditional ‘languages and literatures’ model in Spanish departments in universities in the United Kingdom has been superseded by a contextual, interdisciplinary and ‘area studies’ approach to the study of the culture, history, society and politics of the Hispanic and Lusophone worlds – categories that extend far beyond the confines of the Iberian Peninsula, not only in Latin America but also to Spanish-speaking and Lusophone Africa.

    In response to these dynamic trends in research priorities and curriculum development, this series is designed to present both disciplinary and interdisciplinary research within the general field of Iberian and Latin American...

  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. List of Illustrations
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. xix-xxxii)

    Journeys and life on the road have fired the human imagination since time immemorial and inspired some of literature’s most enduringly popular narratives. Film did not escape this attraction, and the birth of cinema itself is tantalizingly associated with recording the experience of being on the move. Early cinema, as Giuliana Bruno has pointed out, ‘envisioned “panoramic views” that incorporated site-seeing journeys and the spatio-visual desire for circulation that had become fully embedded with modernity.’¹ Such connection between mobility and film is encoded in the very titles of some of the new medium’s earliest outputs, from the Lumière brothers’ landmark...

  8. Part I: On the Road

    • Chapter One Silvino Santos and the Mobile View: Documentary Geographies of Modern Brazil
      (pp. 3-25)

      In 1969, the documentary film-maker Silvino Santos was awarded a prize at the First Northern Festival of Brazilian Cinema (I Festival Norte do Cinema Brasileiro) in Manaos, in recognition of his pioneering work on the Amazon. Almost forgotten, aged eighty-two, Silvino Santos had been making films since 1913. In the same festival, the best film award was given toMacunaíma(1969), Joaquim Pedro de Andrade’s adaptation of Mário de Andrade’s novel from 1928. In a period of intensely politicized cultural production at the end of the 1960s, artists were looking back to modernism in order to find answers to contemporary...

    • Chapter Two Paths of Brazilian Road Movies in the 1950s
      (pp. 26-48)

      Three Brazilian road movies of the 1950s are the object of study here:Sai da frente(‘Get Out of The Way’), directed by Abílio Pereira de Almeida (1952),A estrada(‘The Road’), directed by Oswaldo Sampaio (1955), andPé na tábua(‘Foot on the Pedal’), directed by Victor Lima (1957). Although they are not the only Brazilian road movies of this decade, they are emblematic for the insights they provide into the cinema of the so-called ‘democratic period’ (1945–64) in Brazil.¹

      Spanning President Getúlio Vargas’s second term in office and the government of Juscelino Kubitschek (commonly known as JK)...

    • Chapter Three Bye bye Brasil and the Quest for the Nation
      (pp. 49-68)

      Carlos Diegues’s 1979 road movieBye bye Brasil, nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1980, ranks among Brazil’s most enduringly popular productions, having enjoyed national and international favour among public and critics alike. The film follows the adventures and misadventures of a group of travelling artists who go under the name of Caravana Rolidei, as they move around Brazil’s vast territory, struggling to make ends meet, in search of ever-dwindling audiences for their small-time circus act. They first step onto the scene in a modest town in the interior of the impoverished north-east of Brazil, moving on to...

    • Chapter Four Framing Landscapes: the Return Journey in Suely in the Sky
      (pp. 69-92)

      O céu de Suely(Suely in the Sky, 2006), directed by Karim Aïnouz, is set in the backlands (thesertão), in the interior of the Brazilian northeast.¹ The film portrays a migrant’s return there after a period spent in the urban south of the country, thereby representing a space that has been a recurrent subject matter in Brazilian cinema since the 1960s. This essay examines the relationship between mobility, subjectivity and the construction of cinematic landscapes, spaces and places in this film. The questions that drive this essay are the following: how is the sertão as a space of mobility...

    • Chapter Five Road to Riches: Migration and Social Mobility in 2 filhos de Francisco
      (pp. 93-115)

      Aside from the many images of roads filmed from moving vehicles, the motif of the journey and the numerous travelling shots of impressive landscapes,2 filhos de Francisco(Two Sons of Francisco, Breno Silveira, 2005) could hardly be categorized as a road movie, even if we accept the term as encompassing the many variations on the American genre. Silveira’s film does not address any of the themes normally associated with road movies, such as the quest for individual freedom, the subversion of society’s norms or the escape from restrictive domestic environments.¹ Neither does the film use the motif of the...

    • Chapter Six God is Brazilian: a Re-Examination of Cinema Novo and Self
      (pp. 116-142)

      Deus é brasileiro(God is Brazilian, 2003) is a road movie comedy set in the north-east of Brazil, adapted by Carlos Diegues from the short story ‘O Santo que não acreditava em Deus’ (‘The Saint who did not Believe in God’, 1991) by acclaimed Brazilian writer João Ubaldo Ribeiro.¹ The film, which takes its name from the popular saying ‘God is Brazilian’ referring to Brazilians’ belief that God has a soft spot for Brazil and looks out for its poor, tells the story of a disgruntled God (Antônio Fagundes) who is disappointed with humanity and tired of his never-ending role...

  9. Part II: The Voyage Out

    • Chapter Seven Leaving Home in Three Films by Walter Salles
      (pp. 145-161)

      When Walter Salles began making feature films in the early 1990s, Brazilian cinema was at one of its lowest ebbs, occupying at one point less than one percent of the domestic marketplace.² Struggling in the 1980s, the industry was completely derailed by newly-elected President Fernando Collor de Mello’s 1990 austerity programme which included a freeze on all personal savings accounts and the closure of Embrafilme, the government agency that had supported film-making since 1969. Any Brazilian film-maker in this period would have needed to go outside the country for work, or at least for international financing. As a result, for...

    • Chapter Eight Back to the Margins in Search of the Core: Foreign Land’s Geography of Exclusion
      (pp. 162-183)

      The crisis of the national project in the early 1990s, caused by a short-lived but disastrous government, led Brazilian art cinema, for the first time, to look at itself as periphery and reapproach the old colonial centre, Portugal.Terra estrangeira(Foreign Land, Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas, Brazil/Portugal, 1995), a film about Brazilian exiles in Portugal, is the best illustration of this perspective shift aimed at providing a new sense of Brazil’s scale and position within a global context. Shot mainly on location in São Paulo, Lisbon and Cape Verde, it promotes the encounter of Lusophone peoples who find a...

    • Chapter Nine Sertão as Post-National Landscape: Cinema, aspirinas e urubus
      (pp. 184-198)

      WhenCinema aspirinas e urubus(Cinema, Aspirins and Vultures) was released in 2005 it garnered almost immediate critical support and approval, and prompted one reviewer, perhaps rather dramatically, to declare it to be ‘a watershed’² and ‘a paradigmatic film within recent Brazilian cinema’.³ First-time feature-film maker Marcelo Gomes who, along with co-scriptwriters Karim Ainouz and Paulo Caldas, make up a new(ish) generation of talented cineastes who hail from the Brazilian north-east⁴ and who are recognized for their technical confidence and storytelling ability, was praised for producing the kind of small film with big implications so dear to aficionados of world...

    • Chapter Ten Women on the Road: Sexual Tourism and Beyond
      (pp. 199-214)

      The road movie as a genre is generally connected with Hollywood, in much the same way as travel literature is often seen as a by’product of the expansion of European colonialism. From films such as John Ford’s 1940 adaptation of John Steinbeck’sThe Grapes of Wrath(1939), to more recent titles such asEasy Rider(Dennis Hopper, 1969),Paris Texas(Wim Wenders, 1984),Wild at Heart(David Lynch, 1990),Little Miss Sunshine(Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, 2006), to cite just a few, all are emblematic of different geographical landscapes, extensive routes, narratives that usually dramatize societies in motion, as...

  10. Index
    (pp. 215-224)