Publications

The horizontal spread of a vertical malady: cosmopolitanism and history in Pernambuco's recent cinematic sensation

- Lucia Nagib

Brazil's recent cinematic sensation, O som ao redor/Neighboring Sounds (Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2012), displays an effective integration of form and content, as exemplified by its vertical figuration that crystallizes the devastating effects of property development and global capitalism. This chapter will attempt to unravel a two-way drive within this vertical motif: a movement off the ground, resulting in global cosmopolitanism; and another into the ground, in search of the social history and film history at its base. As Nagib hopes to demonstrate, despite the characters' late postmodernist disconnect from local context and history, O som ao redor offers a perspicacious insight into regional and national history that contributes an original and exciting addition to Brazilian and world cinema.

Read the full article here.

Som ao redor

   

Beyond difference: female participation in the Brazilian film revival of the 1990s

- Lucia Nagib

In this chapter, Nagib focuses on the female participation in what became known as 'The Retomada do Cinema Brasileiro', or the Brazilian Film Revival, by thinking beyond differences of gender, class, age and ethnicity. Nagib first re-considers the Retomada phenomenon against the backdrop of its historical time, so as to evaluate whether the production boom of the period translated into a creative peak, and, if so, how much of this carried onto the present day. Nagib then looks at the female participation in this phenomenon not just in terms of numerical growth of women film directors, admittedly impressive, but only partially reflective of the drastic changes in the modes of production and address effected by the neoliberal policies introduced in the country in the mid 1990s. Nagib argues that the most decisive contribution brought about by the rise of women in Brazilian filmmaking has been the spread of team work and shared authorship, as opposed to a mere aspiration to the auteur pantheon, as determined by a notoriously male-oriented tradition. Granted, films focusing on female victimisation were rife during the Retomada period and persist to this day, and they have been, and continue to be, invaluable for the understanding of women's struggles in the country. However, rather than resorting to feminist readings of representational strategies in these films, Nagib draws attention to other, presentational aesthetic experiments, open to the documentary contingent and the unpredictable real, which, she argues, suspend the pedagogical character of representational narratives. In order to demonstrate that new theoretical tools are needed to understand the gender powers at play in contemporary world cinema, Nagib, to conclude, analyses an excerpt of the film, Delicate Crime (Crime delicado, Beto Brant, 2006), where team work comes out as a particularly effective female, and feminist, procedure.

Read the full article here.

Old man fusing with water

 

Realist cinema as world cinema

- Lucia Nagib

The idea that "realism" is the common denominator across the vast range of productions normally labelled as "world cinema" is widespread and seemly uncontroversial. Leaving aside oppositional binaries that define world cinema as the other of Hollywood or of classical cinema, this chapter will test the realist premise by locating it in the mode of production. It will define this mode as an ethics that engages filmmakers, at cinema's creative peaks, with the physical and historical environment, reflecting a commitment to its political improvement. The chapter will conclude by proposing "realist" cinema as a more accurate term than "world" or "modern" cinema to signify this ethics.

Read the full article here.

Realist cinema as world cinema

 

Cinema, Intermediality and Historiographic Methods: The Àrido Movie in Pernambuco

- Samuel Paiva

The article concerns to the history of cinema, looking into the possibility of understanding intermediality as a historiographic method. It starts with Lúcia Nagib's propositions about "politics of impurity", in turn guided by André Bazin's notion of "impure cinema", comparing them with the "intermedial phenomena" presented by Irina Rajewsky and the "historiography of methodologies" on films' intermediality, as proposed by Ágnes Pethö. As a case study, it considers the production of cinema in Pernambuco, with increased interest in the feature Perfumed ball (1996), while also referring other works from the 1990s to nowadays.

Read the full article here.

Histoire(s) du Cinéma - Jean-Luc Godard 

"Materials Have Memories": An Interview with Melissa Dullius and Gustavo Jahn (Distruktur)

- Stefan Solomon

Brazilian filmmaking duo Melissa Dullius and Gustavo Jahn began working together in 1999 in Porto Alegre, and since 2007 have been based in Berlin, operating under the title "Distruktur". The two also have some experience in acting roles: Jahn is perhaps most recognisable from his appearance in O Som ao Redor (Neighbouring Sounds, Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2012), and Dullius appeared alongside him in Os Residentes (The Residents, Tiago Mata Machado, 2010). Since their earliest collaborations in Brazil, they have shot mostly in 16mm, and today maintain a strong interest in the materiality of their medium as part of the analogue film collective, LaborBerlin. After producing a number of shorts - as well as works that involve live performance and sound - Dullius and Jahn have recently completed their debut feature, Muito Romântico, which premiered in the Forum Expanded section of the 2016 Berlinale. It is a film that combines a punk sensibility with calculated risk-taking, consolidating the pair's affinity for celluloid, as well as their ability to breathe life into the archive. Stefan spoke with Distruktur about their practice as filmmakers, and their relationship to the materials of cinema. See the full interview below:

Stefan Solomon interviews Brazilian filmmaking duo Distruktur.

 

An aspect of Tropicália: the intermediality as a response to exile
Um aspecto da tropicália: a intermidialidade como resposta ao exílio

- Samuel Paiva

Abstract: In the transition of the 1960s and 1970s, Brazilian artists related to Tropicalismo in various media fields were forced to leave Brazil because of the military dictatorship. In response to the crisis then brought in Brazilian society, the exiles, especially those settled in London, England, established among themselves an interaction involving their artistic productions, as a way of aesthetic and political resistance. Thus, with a focus towards to this production, this article aims to build an initial map of Brazilian artistic works produced in the condition of this exile, seeking to contribute to the construction of a historiographical method guided by the prospect of intermediality.

Resumo: Na transição entre as décadas de 1960 e 1970, artistas brasileiros relacionados ao Tropicalismo em campos midiáticos diversos foram obrigados a sair do Brasil por conta da ditadura militar. Em resposta à crise então instaurada na sociedade brasileira, os exilados, sobretudo os que se estabeleceram em Londres, na Inglaterra, criaram entre si uma interação que envolvia suas produções art ísticas, como uma forma de resistência simultaneamente estética e política. Assim, com foco de interesse voltado a tal produção, este artigo tem por objetivo um mapeamento inicial de obras artísticas brasileiras produzidas na condição desse exílio, procurando contribuir para a construção de um método historiográfico pautado pela perspectiva da intermidialidade.

Read the full article here.

 

A Cinema That Could Explode or Implode: Ana Vaz Discusses "Occidente"

- Stefan Solomon

The Brazilian director Ana Vaz is steadily building a portfolio of experimental works that address in equal share the lasting impact of the spread of empire, and the felt effects of the anthropocene. This summer, MUBI is screening Vaz's 2014 short film, Occidente, a captivating work that deftly layers sound and image, taking aim at Portugal's colonial legacy and strategically drawing past and present into fresh and unpredictable relations. I spoke with Vaz recently about her filmmaking process, and about the philosophical implications of her work. See full interview below:

 Stefan Solomon interviews Brazilian director Ana Vaz

 

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