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Lúcia's research project

Around 100 to 120 films are produced per year in Brazil. Despite this impressive production rate, Brazilian cinema hasn't travelled outside of its home territory as much as you might expect.


Lúcia's project, IntermIdia, aimed to influence the way others understand the Brazilian films that do make it out into the wider world. The three-and-a-half year project was co-funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) in the UK and the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) of Brazil.

A screenshot from a Brazilian film as part of the IntermIdia project
I am Brazilian and was born in Brazil, but my work until recently had primarily focused on world cinema. When the AHRC and FAPESP struck a funding agreement to encourage research collaboration across both continents, I saw it as an opportunity to return to the field of Brazilian cinema. I realised I missed my country, and felt I could contribute to discussion around its cinema in a meaningful way.

Collaborating across continents

Lúcia teamed up with researchers she had previously worked with at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCAR). 
We came up with the idea of an intermedial history of Brazilian cinema. It is a way of reconstructing the history of a national cinema through the ways in which it has conversed with other arts and media.

Adopting an intermedial approach to Brazilian cinema

Such an approach provides a deeper and more meaningful understanding of what Brazilian culture is and how its society is organised.

 

For example, Lúcia and her colleagues looked at how other media, such as music and paintings, have influenced or overlapped with Brazilian cinema in different periods of its history.

 

They analysed cinema in the 1930s through the way it dealt with Samba, how it interacted with theatre in the 1950s, and the later "Cinema Novo" and "Tropicália" movements, where painting and advertising were prevalent.

This approach gave us a much more encompassing picture of the cultural phenomenon we were looking at; it was a much less hierarchical way of looking at the history of Brazilian cinema. It gave us an idea of how all these art forms interacted and used cinema to interact with each other.

Benefitting academics and students

The IntermIdia project was the first scheme within the arts to expose Lúcia's Brazilian colleagues to the University of Reading and vice versa. Everyone involved had the opportunity to explore new cultures that their work may not have allowed them to otherwise.

 

For students, there were many benefits. The project influenced the creation of a new third-year undergraduate module called World Cinema and Intermediality. Students on another undergraduate module, Ensemble Practice, were commissioned to restage silent movie prologues from Brazil, with screenings of the films they originally accompanied.

 

You can watch a video of some of these students discussing their experience on the IntermIdia website.

Students have helped us organise the restaging of film prologues, which are theatrical pieces that were played before silent films in Brazil. These are small theatrical sketches we recovered from original scripts from the 1920s. We translated them into English, and they were performed here at Reading, by Reading students.

Inspiring new research

The project has made an impact on the Department of Film, Theatre  & Television's postgraduate research student intake. Seven Brazilian PhD students were attracted to study here by the work the Department is doing – it has inspired their own research.

Research stories

Vintage TV
The context of film scholarship has allowed me to risk making a film of a sort that was completely new to me (a historical drama), which might not have been possible in the commercial environment that I came from.

Dominic Lees, PhD student

Our research

An older man sat in a chair with sunglasses with a younger man behind him holding an alarm clock

We partner with national and international cultural institutions across all our disciplines.


Some of our recent major research projects include User Not Found, Staging Beckett and Harold Pinter: Histories and Legacies