Programmed by Alfredo Fee and Antonia Glaser
"Viva O Brasil!" is a series dedicated to highlighting the cultural renaissance in Brazilian culture that came with the advent of the torchbearers of the Cinema Novo movement. Glauber Rocha, whose work will be displayed here alongside that of many of his peers, emphasized the uniqueness of the Cinema Novo movement when he wrote that "Cinema Novo's ability to integrate itself economically and industrially depends on freedom for Latin America. Cinema Novo makes every effort toward achieving this freedom,... a project that has grown out of the politics of hunger" ("The Aesthetics of Hunger"). This fiercely Latin American movement provided a language of cinema that underlined the political and philosophical ramifications of its films' content, proudly contesting and contextualizing the placement of cinema within the social structures of Brazil. Included as well are three Brazilian classics (Black Orpheus, Dona Flor and her Two Husbands, and Bye Bye Brasil) that, above all, emphasize the unique spirit of the Brazilian people. As vibrant as the samba of Luiz Bonfá, as subversive as the words of Chico Buarque, as defiant as the voices of Tropicália, these rarely seen films celebrate the unsung poetry of Brazilian rhythm, thought and motion.
(Marcel Camus, 1959) · Based on a play by Vinicius de Moraes and boasting one of the most stunning soundtracks of all time by Luiz Bonfá and Antônio Carlos Jobim, Black Orpheus won the esteemed Palme D'Or at Cannes. This classic film restages the tragic mythos of Orpheus and Eurydice within the technicolor chaos of Rio's Carnaval. A lavish international co-production, it represented just the type of film that would later be rejected by the burgeoning Cinema Novo movement.
runtime: 107m format: 35mm
(Mário Peixoto, 1931) · Celebrated by the likes of David Bowie, Orson Welles, and Caetano Veloso, Limite is a film whose name is whispered more frequently than it is viewed. Mário Peixoto's first and last feature film, Limite follows two women and a man lost at sea as they aimlessly search through their pasts, their chances of survival growing ever bleaker. A Brazilian cult classic, this provocative film is a landmark and a beacon for the creativity that would burst forth from Brazil's film industry in the 60s.
runtime: 120m format: DCP
(Glauber Rocha, 1962) · Barravento--the debut of one of the most crucial voices of Brazilian cinema as well as a harbinger of Latin America's Cinema Novo and Third Cinema movements--centers around the return of an educated black man to his hometown in Bahia in order to free his townspeople from the political oppression of spiritual mysticism. What follows is a document wracked by tragedy and sociopolitical anxiety. 16mm film print courtesy of the Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
runtime: 80m format: 16mm
(Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, 1966) · This lyrical adaption of Mario de Andrade's poem of the same name veils its criticism of Brazilian government behind the allegorical story of the arrival of a young priest to a small town in Minas Gerais. His presence, controversial from the start with the town's conservative populace, soon threatens to unleash conflict when he becomes embroiled in a forbidden love affair. What follows is a deft and critical tone poem of both political and emotional turmoil.
runtime: 90m format: 35mm
(Eduardo Coutinho, 1984) · This essential documentary follows the aftermath of Coutinho's aborted 1964 production Cabra Marcado Para Morrer, a film depicting the murder of peasant activist João Pedro Teixeira. Coutinho casts Teixeira's widow to play herself but, after a sudden military coup, the cast and crew find themselves scattered to the wind amongst arrests and police suppression. Twenty years later, Coutinho searches for his lost collaborators to finish the film, documenting the pain and anguish wrought by the past twenty years.
runtime: 119m format: DCP
(Bruno Barreto, 1976) · One of the most celebrated Brazilian box office hits, Dona Flor adapts Jorge Amado's classic book into a surrealist boudoir farce starring Sonia Braga and backed with a soundtrack by Chico Buarque. Flor, who is married to the passionate but good-for-nothing Vadinho, finds her marriage unfulfilling; but when Vadinho suddenly dies, she marries Teodoro only to find that he is Vadinho's polar opposite-ambitious, but passionless. Her dilemma is upturned when the ghost of her dead husband suddenly appears. Note: print is faded and red
runtime: 110m format: 35mm
(Nelson Pereira dos Santos, 1971) · In 16th century Brazil, rival colonial powers France and Portugal mobilize tribes of native Indians to carry out their imperial struggle. The Tupinambás Indians, allied with France, plan to eat a Portuguese prisoner as retaliation for the murder of one of their own, but capture a Frenchman instead. His life hanging in the balance, he struggles to convince them that he is not Portuguese. 16mm film print courtesy of the Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
runtime: 84m format: 16mm
(Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, 1969) · A countercultural and psychedelic trip of a film, Macunaíma centers on its eponymous character, a black Brazilian native who is born a fully-grown man. During a carefree day of his childhood, he comes across a fountain that magically transforms him into a white man. What follows is a satirical odyssey that allegorically confronts Brazil's urbanization, politics, and fraught history of race and class relations with the surrealistic pomp of Jodorowsky and critical eye of Pasolini.
runtime: 110m format: 35mm
(Nelson Pereira dos Santos, 1963) · Following in the steps of neorealism, Vidas Secas captures the trials and tribulations of a wandering farming family amidst a harrowing drought in Northern Brazil. As the family searches for hope in the squalor of dust, Pereira crafts a hauntingly realistic depiction of rural poverty in Brazil at the time, one replete with both bitterness and immense sympathy. 16mm film print courtesy of the Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
runtime: 103m format: 16mm
(Carlos Diegues, 1980) · A gentle ode to the Brazil of the past and the perfect farewell to this series' emphasis on Brazil's vibrant and fraught cultural climate, Bye Bye Brasil follows a circus troop fighting to stay relevant with the advent of television. Depicting the struggles of love and loss among the colorful cast of entertainers, the film (which is dedicated to "The Brazilian People of the 21st Century") sounds a mournful lament for a culture lost in the ripples of modernization.
runtime: 110m format: 35mm