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Society for Latin American Studies (SLAS


Brazilian Cinema Novo Author(s): Randal Johnson Reviewed work(s): Source: Bulletin of Latin American Research, Vol. 3, No. 2 (1984), pp. 95-106 Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of Society for Latin American Studies (SLAS) Stable URL: . Accessed: 09/05/2012 19:53
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a 100 billion dollar foreign debt. the colonized man remains a slave. Cinema Novo reveals that violence is normal behaviour for the starving. the strength of the culture he exploits. In the early 1960s. the servicing of which consumes virtually all ofthe country's export earnings and which threatens to tear asunder the country's social fabric. Cinema Novo teaches that the aesthetics of violence are revolutionary rather than primitive. The moment of violence is the moment when the colonizer becomes aware of the existence of the colonized. the repression was a period of growth known as the 'economic Accompanying which meant the brutal redistribution of already poorly distributed miracle'. . which intensified in 1969 and began to ebb only in the mid-1970s. but it is none the . In this manifesto he wrote: . has given way to the nightmare. but rather of an aesthetic of violence.3 His statement is an admittedly extreme and in many ways contradictory formulation of the thrust of early Cinema Novo. . . . In these two decades. The miracle. With them. . also known as 'An Aesthetic of Violence'. . Herein lies the tragic originality of Cinema Novo in relation to world cinema. Our originality is our hunger and our greatest misery is that this hunger is felt but not intellectually understood .2 Although the manifesto clearly aligns itself with Fanon and the struggle for Third World liberation. Brazil's military rulers brought a reign of repression and torture. . Rocha is speaking not of real violence in a revolutionary situation. The violence of a starving man is not a sign of a primitive mentality . many things have changed in Brazil. 'An Aesthetic of Hunger'. Only when he is confronted with violence can the colonizer understand. Brazilian cinema has changed as well.Brazilian Cinema RANDAL Novo1 JOHNSON University ofFlorida Over two decades have passed since Cinema Novo burst upon and profoundly altered the Brazilian cinematic and cultural scene. in turn. wealth from the working classes to the upper classes. The populist government of the early 1960s was quite unceremoniously removed by a 1964 military coup dfetat and replaced by a military regime which only now appears to be losing its hold on power. through horror. . hunger in Latin America is not simply an alarming symptom. only a culture of hunger can qualitatively surpass its own structures by undermining and destroying them. Glauber Rocha summarized the concerns of the initial phase of Cinema Novo in his Fanonianinspired manifesto. As long as he does not take up arms. a metaphorical usage of violence in a situation (he was writing after the military coup of 1964) which was far from revolutionary. . The most noble cultural manifestation of hunger is violence. it is the essence of our society.

among others.96 BULLETIN OF LATIN AMERICAN RESEARCH less representative. It would be simplistic to speak of cooptation by the military regime or to suggest that filmmakers became starstruck by commercial success. The current success of Brazilian cinema. in fact. they also dominate the state cinematic apparatus . Bye Bye Brasil. which is largely responsible for the best that Brazilian cinema has had to offer during the last twenty years and continues to offer today. and its contradictions are the contradictions of Brazilian cinema as a whole and Brazilian intellectuals in general. I in no way mean to belittle the considerable achievements of the movement. and Arnaldo Jabor. Rather. Pixote. Gaijin.4 Although Brazilian cinema has grown considerably over the last twenty years. with his highly idiowhich a concern syncratic films. including Glauber Rocha. In this paper I propose to discuss some of these contradictions. And yet the movement's only collec? tive manifesto. known as the 'Luz e Aqdo Manifesto'. They dominate not only with their films. a certain distance always existed between the rhetoric and the reality of Cinema Novo. Joaquim Pedro de Andrade. the aesthetic of hunger sometimes seems to have evolved into an aesthetic of gluttony?and perhaps only Rocha himself. it positions itself in relation to the historical evolution of Brazilian cinema. for in many ways it responds to and is influenced by the political development of Brazilian society. when. Cinema Novo directors such as Leon Hirszman. including virtually all films made after that date by Cinema Novo participants. can be exempted from this evolution?in with success in the national and international marketplace appears to have neutralized the political concerns of the early phase of Cinema Novo. the current situation is an outgrowth of a number of contradictions and paradoxes existing within Cinema Novo from the very beginning. A movement such as Cinema Novo cannot be isolated from its historical context. from an alliance or marriage of convenience between Cinema Novo and the authoritarian Brazilian state. now producing some 100 films per year. was published only in 1973. as Robert Stam has put it. By reexamining Cinema Novo in its various contexts. if not earlier. and They Dont Wear Black-Tie. clearly dominate Brazilian cinema today. The situation becomes even more complex. The question might be asked if it is valid to speak of Cinema Novo existing today. Rocha and Cinema Novo called for an alternative form of cinematic practice which would combat the idealistic illusionism of dominant cinema and at the same time participate in the struggle for national liberation. and seemingly more contradictory. Carlos Diegues. results largely. Despite Rocha's revolutionary statements. The current situation of Brazilian cinema?an apparent mercantilistic atti? tude supported by the state?does not in fact represent a radical break with positions held in the early 1960s. examining how Cinema Novo arose and evolved during the 1960s. In a very real sense. Nelson Pereira dos Santos. Cinema Novo is synonymous with Brazilian cinema. when one realizes that since 1973 the Brazilian government has co-produced or other? wise financed the most significant national film production. Contrast that with the situation of the 1970s and 1980s. with films such as Dofia Flor and Her Two Husbands. I Love You. Many historical analyses of the movement have said that Cinema Novo had ceased to exist by 1972. and it participates in and reflects ideological debates of the period in which it arose. among others. four times the annual production of the early 1960s.

7 The country had only recently seen the and the process of redemoend of Getulio Vargas's Estado Novo (1937-1945). Vargas was reelected to the presidency in 1951 in the guise of a populist reformer who attempted to mobilize support through. leaving a quasi-socialist. each of which corresponds to a specific sociopolitical conjuncture. It's a bit like the Beatles: they never were really as united before as people thought. especially in three film industry congresses held in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in 1952 and 1953. It evolved through a num? ber of discernible phases. with its ultramodern architecture. but clearly not as a narrowly defined. nor really as separated afterward. Although it was a means of mobilizing support and guaranteeing the system's stability.8 Brasflia. It was in these congresses that filmmakers such as Alex Viany. however. as well as the cinema. Despite Vargas's death. The seeds of Cinema Novo took root in the early 1950s. Hirszman responded: In a way. we have never stopped discussing our films. Rodolfo Nanni and Nelson Pereira dos Santos first articulated ideas for the creation of an independent national cinema. His brand of developmentalism. cratization dramatically increased the level of political and cultural activity of Brazil's middle sectors. There have been some personal rifts. known as developmentalism or developmentalistnationalism. of cultural transformation that involved theatre. Leon Hirszman's award-winning 1981 film ElesNao Usam BlackTie (They Don't Wear Black-Tie) was upon its release referred to as 'Cinema Novo de novo' (Cinema Novo anew). that he and other leaders of Brazilian cinema since they are free cinema are the 'new barbarians' of international from the gadgetry and large budgets of Hollywood and from the high culture and correct ideological lines of European cinema. throughout his designated term. promising fifty years of development in five. but the discussion goes on. is perhaps the most perfect symbol of Kubitschek's developmentalist ideology. a nationalist discourse revolving around the creation of a state petroleum industry. anti-imperialist message for the Brazilian people. Vargas committed suicide in 1954. it was also an effective tool for controlling social and political tensions. Diegues has recently claimed.5 When asked in a recent inter? view if Cinema Novo directors still discussed film projects as they did in the early 1960s. But then the collaboration at the beginning was never quite as intense as people thought. .BRAZILIAN CINEMA NOVO 97 (Embrafilme). Cinema Novo arose in the late 1950s and early 1960s as part of a broad. movement heterogeneous popular music. embarked on an ambitious plan of economic expansion and industrial development. He was one of only two presidents in the 1930-64 period to remain in office. Kubitschek. among other things.6 We can thus refer to Cinema Novo existing today if seen as an open-ended pro? cess of cinematic activity. and literature. tightly-knit movement or school. legally. and not without a bit of self-serving exaggeration. was fraught with contradiction. the nationalist euphoria he helped create continued and was strengthened with the election of Juscelino Kubitschek in 1955. partially because of his ability to rally the Brazilian people around a common ideology.

among others). the focus of Cinema Novo shifted from rural to urban Brazil. such as those who created Cinema Novo. from 1955-1960. so to speak. Rocha's Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol). Nelson Werneck . Stylistic and thematic pluralism under the aegis of Embrafilme has marked the period since 1973. which was created by Kubitschek in 1955 with the express purpose of formulating a national ideology of development. During this period of extremely harsh military rule. the first phase of Cinema Novo goes from 1960 to 1964. dos Santos's Fome de Amor). Although political liberties were restricted and censorship increased. who was intensely disliked by the military. He was overthrown by the military in 1964. Quadros was replaced by his vice-president. which inaugurated a period of extremely repressive military rule. on themselves in an attempt to understand the failure of the Left in 1964 (Saraceni's O Desafio. The initial phase of Cinema Novo was informed by a number of historical factors and influenced to a large degree by the formulations of the Instituto Superior de Estudos Brasileiros (Higher Institute of Brazilian Studies). Dahl's O Bravo Guerreiro. and allegory became the preferred mode of cinematic discourse of what is known as Tropicalism' in Brazilian cinema (Andxade's Macunaima. there was still a degree of space available for discussion and debate. often depicted in rural settings (dos Santos's Vidas Secas. but resigned after a mere seven months in office. A third phase runs from 1968 until around 1972. Guerra's Os Fuzis. as film-makers turned their cameras. it was difficult for film-makers to express opinions directly. marked by a number of institutional crises. Goulart's brief administration. After a preparatory period.9 Cinema Novo. Candido Mendes. Former Sao Paulo governor Janio Quadros succeeded Kubitschek in 1961. a period in which 'national questions' were debated at every level of society. Bressane'sMatou afamiliae foi ao cinema. The second phase of Cinema Novo extends from 1964 to 1968. middleclass artists and intellectuals. it is films directly or indirectly revealed the contradictions of that ideology? none the less important to be aware of the kinds of political and ideological discussions that were taking place and examine how Cinema Novo relates to them.98 BULLETIN OF LATIN AMERICAN RESEARCH It toyed with the people's nationalist sentiments. The films of this period attempted to contribute to the debate with films about the country's lumpen. reflects the ideological contradictions of Brazilian society as a whole. During this period. Within this historical context. Alvaro Vieira Pinto. saying that it ing underground had sold out to commercial interests (Sganzerla's O Bandido da Luz Vermelha. witnessed a turn to the Left in domestic and foreign policy as the presi? dent attempted to implement structural changes such as agrarian reform.10 The ISEB was composed of intellectuals of various political persuasions. Vargas protege Joan Goulart. Although it would be simplistic to see Cinema Novo at times Cinema Novo merely as a reflection of the ideology of ISEB?indeed. a transformation they erroneously thought to be imminent. the year of the Fifth Institutional Act. but based its programme of industrialization on foreign investment. including Helio Jaguaribe. dos Santos's At the same time a burgeonComo era gostoso o meu frances. movement challenged Cinema Novo from the Left. became increasingly politicized and sought to commit their art to the transformation of Brazilian society. labor'sPindorama). Rocha's Terra em Transe. as part of an ongoing process of cultural transformation.

the urban and rural proletariat. retrograde. a export economy. but rather as the 'Nation' (that which is authentic) versus the 'anti-Nation' (that which is alienated from the 'Nation's' true historical being). on the one hand. the nonproductive sector of the middle-class and certain portions of the proletariat. which. its relations of dependence industrial powers. through an to those of industrialized countries. forming a 'populist pact'. and the productive sector of the middle-class. It was only after a stage of advanced capitalism was achieved that the question of alternative modes of production could be contemplated. modern. They therefore conceived the major contradiction of Brazilian society as being not capital versus labour. This dichotomy reflects a dualist vision of society with. They saw the continuation of such relations as an impediment to autonomous development. national. and. they did share a number of fundamental ideas. transformation led by enlightened intellectuals such as them? selves and progressive elements of the national bourgeoisie. in other words. sectors whose interests lie not with national development but rather with the continued foreign domination of the nation's economy. urban. included the industrial bourgeoisie. it was necessary for an enlightened intelligentsia to create an authentic. archaic sector of society.BRAZILIAN CINEMA NOVO 99 Sodre. given the makeup of the Institute. export-import groups. First of all. once again. 1967). and Roland Corbisier. .e. rather than. The 'Nation'/'anti-Nation' as formulated by ISEB cuts across class dichotomy lines and thus attempts to efface or ignore questions of class conflict. progressive sector of society. for example. the development they spoke of was based on a capitalist mode of production. or the traditional. Although I have merely summarized some of ISEB's positions. industrial development as an end to be achieved through a variety of absolute value. on the other. because they saw imperialism not as an external determinant but rather as an internal or 'internalized' force in Brazilian society. they saw autonomous. industrial society led by a supposedly progressive national industrial bourgeoisie dedicated to autonomous national capitalist development. shared. a feudalrural sector dominated by an oligarchy whose interests are tied. foreign versus national. The 'Nation'. included large landowners. the contradictions of this developmentalist ideology are immense. The 'anti-Nation'. And perhaps paradoxically. But it is important to note that large sectors of the Left. Such liberation would come through what they called a 'bourgeois revolution'. including the Brazilian Communist Party. seen as the modern. these views.. are conveniently postponed until after full capitalist development is achieved. Although members of the institute did not always coincide precisely in the concepts used. national. as an unequestionable means. which Glauber Rocha so brilliantly dissected in Terra em Transe (Land in Anguish. The members of ISEB formulated a nationalist thesis based on a radical which was caused by what they called awareness of Brazil's underdevelopment. to advanced the country's 'colonial situation'. i. critical consciousness ofthe country's underdevelopment and its causes and thereby overcome the country's alienation from its true historical being and lead to a process of social transformation and national liberation. The contradiction was set forth in these terms. The intellectuals associated with ISEB felt that for autonomous national development to occur.

Paradoxically. which denounces the reification of human beings in capitalist society. on the other it tended to value as authentically Brazilian. . which was owned by the family of politician Magalhaes Pinto. while focusing speciflcally on the twin alienations of religious mysticism and anarchistic cangaceiro violence. and the impoverished Northeast.' Similar to the ideologues of ISEB. alienation' through a strategy of conscientizacao. in ISEB's formulation) held responsible for it.11 Such a critique would appear only after 1964 in such films as Paulo Cesar Saraceni's 0 Desafio (The Challenge. Ruy Guerra's Os Fuzis (1964). on the one hand. one of the civilian conspirators in the coup d'etat of 1964. Barravento (The Turning Wind. Dos Santos's Vidas Secas outlines a conflict between a landowner and a peasant family during a period of drought. where the three films just mentioned were set.100 BULLETIN OF LATIN AMERICAN RESEARCH In general terms. Cinema Novo aligned itself with the modern and progressive forces of urban. urban slums. but also in its sources of financing. filmmakers initially attempted to search out the areas of Brazil where social contradictions were most apparent: poor fishing villages. at least during its initial phase. In their attempt to de-alienate the Brazilian people. and Glauber Rocha's Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol (1964). including classics such as Nelson Pereira dos Santos's Vidas Secas (1967). not a single film of the 1960-1964 period critically examines the contradictions of the bourgeoisie or the supposedly progressive sector that was to lead the country along the road to development. and Rocha's Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol. authentically national. Many pre-1964 Cinema Novo films. In other words. the cultural forms of the traditional sector. Guerra's Os Fuzis concerns soldiers who guard a landowner's food warehouse from starving peasants. early Cinema Novo films tended to focus on the traditional or backward areas of Brazil. With the possible of Guerra's nouvelle vague-inspiied Os Cafajestes (The Hustlers. Cinema Novo's alliance with supposedly progressive sectors of the national bourgeoisie is revealed not only in its choice of themes. Rocha's first two films. Cinema Novo 7s not a single film but an evolving complex of films that will ultimately make the public aware of its own misery. It sought. industrial society. As Rocha wrote in 'An Aesthetic of Hunger'. when the failure of the 'populist pact' was painfully apparent. 1965) and Rocha's Terra em Transe. feudal. a curious inversion occurs in these early Cinema Novo films. Cinema Novo tended to see the major conflict of Brazilian society as 'colonizer' versus 'colonized'. rather than analyse it in terms of class. modern Brazil led by sectors ofthe national bourgeoisie. backward Brazil tied to imperialist interests with a progressive. The movement was engaged in a struggle to create an authentic national culture in opposition to the interests of the colonizer. denouncing that backwardness and the economic sectors (the 'antiNation'. exception 1962).12 If. however. were financed by the National Bank of Minas Gerais. indirectly discusses the feudal structure that impedes a more just distribution of land in the Northeast. It also tended to adopt a dualist vision of society. opposing a traditional. to show the Brazilian people the true face of the country's underdevelopment in the hope that they would gain a critical consciousness and participate in the struggle for national liberation. Cinema Novo saw itself as part of this process of 'deor consciousness-raising. to use Rocha's words.

film distributors. Such domination has had two basic results: first. which became the most successful industrialization in the history of Brazilian cinema. Two attempts at such industrializa? tion are particularly relevant to the present discussion. The valorization of traditional cultural forms brings with it another paradox. Such paternalism is. To understand Cinema we must see the movement within Novo's concept of industrial development. comes not from the urban. on one level. Since around World War I. authoritarian. Film-makers attempted to impose their own values. industrial form of cultural and artistic expres? sion. foreign films brought with them a level of technical perfection unattainable by the undercapitalized Brazilian film industry. primarily North American. denounces Afro-Brazilian religion as a form of alienation. The former. The public soon became accustomed to the production values of foreign films. production on an industrial scale. since it has been unable to depend even on the small domestic market for a return on Brazilian cinema has lacked the capital to maintain continuous investments. The early 1960s witnessed an intense debate. uses traditional. which has further weakened its position in the market and its drive to attain at least minimal levels of stability. in the final analysis. and yet on another it affirms that religion's values as a means of preserving cultural identity and as a potential site of collective resistance. these films seem to be saying. the industrial development Brazilian market has been dominated by foreign. their own conception of what popular culture should be. It is Cinema Novo's version of the Isebian idea that enlightened intellectuals should lead the people to social transformation. for the cinema itself is an urban. the dream of Brazilian producers historically has been to emulate that cinema and create a national film industry based on large studios. but until recently it had never attained sufficient levels of for one basic reason. In 1943. the historical evolution of Brazilian cinema generally. on the other it tended to empty it of its content and use its form to transmit ostensibly revolutionary messages. In other words. but rather from the more traditional areas ofthe country. on the other hand. Because of the international success of American cinema. about the nature of the 'national' and the 'popular' in reference to cultural production. several producers joined together to form the Atlantida Studios.BRAZILIAN CINEMA NOVO 101 1962) and Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol exemplify this tendency. which early on became the standard by which all films would be judged. attempt at concentrated Atlantida was particularly successful after 1947. industrial Brazil.14 Authentic sion?the cordel ballad. on the forms of popular culture as they really existed. when it was acquired by Luis . For this reason.13 Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol.15 While on the one hand Cinema Novo tended to preserve and value the cultural expression of the lower classes. causing development to be cyclical and unstable. The cinema has a long history in Brazil. Second. to be specific?as Brazilian culture. it expropriated empirically given modes of popular culture and substituted them with modes of constructed through dis? course. Closely linked to the central dichotomy set forth by Cinema Novo?colonizer the movement's attitude toward the development of the versus colonized?is film industry and toward questions of film aesthetics. Brazilian cinema has often been considered to be of poor quality and unworthy of support. which to a certain extent is being repeated today. oral forms of cultural expres? a structuring device.

This was the first time in the history of Brazilian cinema that such a mode of production was adopted by ideological and aesthetic choice rather than by circumstance. increased capital invest? ments in cinema. In Rocha's . and incorporated into national cinema the 'international cinematic language'. with a more politicized vision of Brazilian society. while at the same time politicizing the nouvelle vague's concept of auteur. They began to reject the artificiality and expense of the studio system in favour of an independent. Vera Cruz set up an expensive and luxurious system without the economic infrastructure on which to base such a system. Vera Cruz drove production costs far above the lucrative potential of the Brazilian market. distribution.17 Glauber Rocha perhaps best expresses Cinema Novo's attitude toward models of film production in his 1963 book Revisdo Critica do Cinema Brasileiro. and exhibition. After that the growing influence of television caused the chanchada to lose appeal. In sharp contrast to Atlantida were the Vera Cruz Studios. He aligns himself with the nouvelle vague and its struggle to free itself from the rigidity of industrial cinema and its norms. Vera Cruz went bankrupt in 1954 and took under with it the perhaps unrealistic dream of developing a film industry based on the large-scale studio system. which puts profitability and easy communication above art.16 The emergence of a new mentality among Brazilian producers coincided with the final years of Vera Cruz. Rocha goes a step further than the initial formulation of the nouvelle vague and proposes an opposition between 'commercial cinema' (illusionistic technique and untruth) and 'auteur cinema' (freedom of expression and truth). The films of Vera Cruz improved the technical quality of Brazilian films. location shooting and non-professional actors. The auteur. Cinema Novo. His acquisition of Atlantida provided it with a vertically integrated system of production. Influenced by Italian neo-realism and based on the failure of Vera Cruz and the undermining of the chanchada by television. or light musical comedy. This new mentality would later blossom into Cinema Novo. and Atlantida ceased produc? ing rather than diversify its production. Bazin and Godard. therefore. Atlan? tida combined its advantageous position in the market with a mode of produc? tion geared toward and based on the commercial potential of that market to make a series of relatively inexpensive but immensely popular film genres such as the chanchada.102 BULLETIN OF LATIN AMERICAN RESEARCH Serveriano Ribeiro. Its heyday was the period from 1945 tc 1960. Cinema Novo correctly determined that the foreign-controlled Brazilian market could not provide an adequate return on expensive studio production and opted instead for an independent and inexpensive mode of production using small crews. according to Rocha. It tried to conquer the world market before consolidating the Brazilian market. the owner of the country's largest exhibition circuit as well as the largest national distributor. At the genesis of Cinema Novo. Unable to recoup its investments in the domestic market and unable to reach the international market. revolts against the mercantilist mentality of industrial cinema. artisan mode of production. was a new attitude toward the structure of the film industry. was in part a reaction to the frivolous merrymaking of the chanchada. founded in Sao Paulo in 1949 and modelled on Hollywood's MGM studios. frequently set during Carnival. with its panoply of conventional devices. While quoting Truffaut. In contrast to Atlantida.

long conditioned by the illusionism of Hollywood. Directors and producers came to depend on distributors and even exhibitors for postproduction financing. . especially during the first phase of the movement. Cinema Novo rejected the studio system. and not for broad sectors of the filmgoing public. a model borrowed from the metropolis. So rather than imitate dominant cinema. we see resonances of the colonizer/ colonized dichotomy of 'An Aesthetic of Hunger'. which put them in the disadvantageous of having to pay a larger percentage than usual for the distribution and position exhibition of their films. Despite the movement's real contributions along these lines.20 In short. The problem of a return on investments became critical. Cinema Novo made the mistake of assuming that simply making a film was sufficient for it to be successfully placed on the market. people. in Rocha's words?served function by expressing the radical 'otherness' of Brazilian cinema in political relation to world cinema. as being by definition of reality. because auteur is a totalizing noun . Exhibitors argued that Cinema Novo films were too intellectual for success in the market. The critical realism of films marked by the 'aesthetic of hunger'? an important tactical and sad. Because of an extreme scarcity of dedicated to the falsification finance capital for film production. The politics of a modern auteur are revolutionary politics: and today it is not even necessary to qualify an auteur as revolutionary. Although it opposed traditional modes of cinematic production and the aesthetic forms accompanying them. which became in many ways a group of films made by and for an enlightened. as part of their project of decolonizing Brazilian cinema and attempting to create a critical consciousness in the Brazilian fostered by Hollywood. but claims that it is revolutionary. In Rocha's formulation of the problem. privileging ideas over technical perfection. as filmmakers attempted to portray what they saw as the true face of Brazilian under? development. screaming films. a paradox also appears in their strategies. Cinema Novo could not hope to equal the technical level of most foreign films.BRAZILIAN CINEMA NOVO 103 words. As Gustavo Dahl once said. The Brazilian public. his mise-en-scene his politics. ugly. 'If commercial cinema is the tradition. . Like Vera Cruz before it. much less for Brazil's impoverished masses. Even Cinema Novo's low-cost production methods soon began to show their limitations. they released their films in established commercial circuits which had been built primarily for the exhibition of foreign films. The model of neo-realism served Cinema Novo well as a production and aesthetic strategy.'18 Rocha not only defends individual expression. was generaUy unreceptive to the films of Cinema Novo. intellectual elite. in opposition to the alienated consciousness Cinema Novo adopted a new attitude toward the industrial development of Brazilian cinema and a new attitude toward the aesthetics of film. The auteur is responsible for the truth: his esthetics are his ethics. auteur cinema is the revolution. which would make their work merely symptomatic of underdevelopment. The movement's slogan?uma camera na mao e uma ideia na cabeca?summarizes these attitudes. .19 Rocha's manifesto is the theoretical expression of this conscious resistance. and the production of more popular films thus became imperative if Cinema Novo was to continue to exist. its participants made no real attempt to create alternative or parallel exhibition circuits. Rather. they chose to resist by turning 'scarcity into a signifier'.

Guanabara Governor Carlos Lacerda. the Comissao de Auxilio a Industria Cinematogrdfica (Commission for Aid to the Film Industry). and Arnaldo Jabor's documentary about the middle class. 1967). Roberto Santos's Matraga. Walter Lima Jr. the major problem of Cinema Novo continued to be production financing. an alliance that would continue with the federal government's creation of the Instituto Nacional do Cinema (National Film Institute) in 1966 and Embrafilme in 1969 and that would become formalized in 1973 when Roberto Farias.104 BULLETIN OF LATIN AMERICAN RESEARCH the making of popular films became the sine qua non of political action in the cinema. on the state level. 1965) is based on a poem by Carlos Drummond de Andrade. the use of violence to subvert the political and social order. 1965) on a novel by Jose Lins do Rego. This measure was important. since it is on the level of distribution that American cinema dominates the Brazilian market. Cinema Novo's chosen candidate. and Paulo Cesar Saraceni's Capitu (1968) is based on Machado de Assis's masterpiece. Roberto Santos's A Hora e Vez de Augusto Matraga (Matraga. Joaquim Pedro de Andrade's O Padre e a Moca. became head of Embrafilme. and so on. to directly aid the industry. a strong supporter of the 1964 coup.21 Lacerda's decree was not the first measure. In fact. Second. In late 1963. Opiniao Publica . producers and direc? tors formed the distribution cooperative Difilm as a strategy for placing their films more easily in the multinational-controlled market. comedy became an acceptable mode of discourse. together with Luis Carlos Barreto. In 1973 Embrafilme. On the other hand. 1967).'s Menino de Engenho. and CAIC was one of the major sources of funding for Cinema Novo filmmakers. therefore. Dom Casmurro. 1967). and (2) a programme of film pro? duction financing. was the beginning of a tacit alliance between the state and Cinema Novo. 1966) on a short story by Joao Guimaraes Rosa. and very early on they looked toward the state for financial assistance. The struggle for the market became a priority. with such films as Nelson Pereira dos Santos's El Justiceiro (The Enforcer. On the one hand they turned toward literary classics: Joaquim Pedro de Andrade's 0 Padre e a Moca (The Priest and the Girl. but it was the first attempt to exert ideo? logical control over the industry. CAIC would administer two basic programmes of financial assistance to the industry: (1) a system of cash awards or subsidies for producers according to the gross income of films exhibited in the state. The decree founding CAIC stated that the benefits of the law would be denied any script or film advocating. and Roberto Farias's Toda Donzela Tem un Pai que e uma Fera (Every Maiden Has a Father Who Is a Beast. propaganda against the democratic system based on party pluralism or against private property. among other things. took up and expanded the idea of a central distributor for Brazilian films. Almost coinciding with the 1964 coup.'s Menino de Engenho (Plantation Boy. Even so. the government film enterprise created in 1969. racial or class prejudice. signed into law a decree creating CAIC. Cinema Novo took a number of steps to ameliorate the problem of reaching a broad audience. they began to make films with a more popular appeal. First. the restrictions of the decree were more flexible than they may at first appear. Domingos de Oliveira's Todas as Mulheres do Mundo (All the Women in the World. Among Cinema Novo films partially financed by CAIC were Walter Lima Jr.

And Leon Hirszman's award-winning Eles nao usam Black-Tie (They Don't Wear Black Tie. soon found himself distanced from the movement as a whole. especially during the last ten years. which was totally financed by Embrafilme. 1968). of reason . There has to be a dialectic and emotion. 1981). 1982). there has not been a radical change in the propositions of Cinema Novo and its associates over the last twenty years. about torture and repression in the early 1970s. Divisions arose within Cinema Novo concerning the position filmmakers should take in relation to CAIC's programme of financing. Film-makers are now more concerned with production values and with success in the marketplace.BRAZILIAN CINEMA NOVO 105 (Public Opinion. Ruy Guerra saw such Most of the others disagreed. and Guerra financing as a form of cooptation. who has always been more commercially-oriented than some of his counterparts. a rift which in many ways continues until today. Carlos Diegues's OsHerdeiros (The Heirs. Guerra has warned of the dangers of too close a relationship with the state. films such as Andrade's Macunaima (1969). These films and others express political concerns and are at the same time much more communicative than most early Cinema Novo films. but it too has roots in the early 1960s and in the seemingly eternal problem of the undercapitalization of the industry. deals with labour struggles in contemporary Sao Paulo. recently made Pra Frente Brasil (Onward Brasil. To quote Hirszman once again: The true path to both the national and the popular passes the valorization of popular emotion.22 through emotion emotion. It would be simplistic to say that the political concerns of Cinema Novo have disappeared all together. Nelson Pereira dos Santos is now of the Estado filming Graciliano Ramos's Prison Memoirs. especially given the ideological restrictions written into the law. But without you cannot communicate your ideas. saying instead that Brazilian cinema will be popular only when there is a radical transformation of the economic structures of Brazilian society. about the Republic of Palmares which was set up by runaway slaves in 17th century Brazil. and dos Santos's Como era gostoso o meu frances (How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman. 1971) would also be financed by state-sponsored programmes. One should not manipulate in the manner of mass culture. Roberto Farias. Hehas been critical as well of Nelson Pereira dos Santos's recent campaign for a 'popular cinema'. but this concern derives largely from an early decision to use established com? mercial circuits for the exhibition of their films and to make the marketplace the site of struggle against the colonizer. In conclusion. it was also responsible for its first major rift. Association with the state has increased dramatically. in the manner of TV. He opposes those who he feels have adopted a 'public at all cost' philosophy and have abandoned a critical vision of society for commercial success. Carlos Diegues is completing what is in many ways a sequel tohis 1963 film Ganga Zumba. The 1964 debate is echoed in the current conjuncture of Brazilian cinema. a denunciation Novo's authoritarianism and repression. If state support was important for the development of Cinema Novo. 1967). In subsequent years. Whereas other Cinema Novo participants have rushed to support Embrafilme and its policy of co-productions.

Ismail Xavier. Maria Rita Galvao. pp. pp. 'Allegories of Underdevelopment: From the "Aesthetics of Hunger" to the "Aesthetics of Garbage"'. pp. 2. The following summary of some of the ideas of the Instituto Superior de Estudos Brasileiros was extracted from Caio Navarro de Toledo (1978). 2 (1984). 5. Rio de Janeiro. Austin. 15-51. New York University. ISEB: Fdbrica de Ideologias. 1980). 18. perhaps. 20-3. pp. 1930-1964. For a discussion of this period. 10. Ph. pp. see Maria Rita Galvao (1981). pp. Cinema BrasUeiro:Propostas para uma Historia. The second part of this article is in Cinema BR. 'O desenvolvimento das ideias sobre cinema independente'. Estado de Sao Paulo. Ibid. Rutherford. Paz e Terra.. Sao Paulo. 163-86. pp. 3. 2 (December 1977). 134-48. no. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. see Thomas E. also Sertdo Mar. in Brazilian Cinema. Jean-Claude Bernardet (1979). Oxford University Press. Xavier. 6. p. 4. 58. 15-19. 'Black God. Cadernos da Cinemateca 4 (Sao Paulo: Fundagao Cinemateca Brasileira. 21. London. Ismail Xavier (1983). 15. pp. Ismail Xavier (1982). 18. 69-119. Politics in Brazil. pp. Portions of this paper appear in my forthcoming Cinema Novo x 5: Masters of Contemporary Brazilian Film. and idem.. no.153-67. no. p. Dissertation. Burguesia e Cinema: o Caso Vera Cruz. Johnson and Stam.. 3 (July 1965). Brasiliense/ Embrafilme. Rio de Janeiro. in Brazilian Cinema. 48. pp. N. Complete article reprinted in 30 Anos de Cinema Paulista. 16. New York.. 17. Twenty-flve Years of the New Latin American Cinema. 'Recovering Popular Emotion: An Interview with Leon Hirszman. 18-21. pp. For a discussion of Vera Cruz.D. 'Uma Estetica da Fome\ Revista Civilizagdo Brasileira. 11. Ibid. O Governo Kubitschek. ChristianScienceMonitor. Sao Paulo. XIII. 270-80. op. Skidmore (1967). 19.106 BULLETIN OF LATIN AMERICAN RESEARCH That. Brazilian Cinema. British Film Institute/Channel Four Television. Atica. pp. 20. no. 8.) (1983). Paz e Terra.) (1982). Revisdo Critica do Cinema BrasUeiro (1963). 'Recovering Popular Emotion: An Interview with Leon Hirszman'. NOTES 1. 1 (September 1977). University of Texas Press. . 17-41. 'The Shape of Brazilian Film History'. 90-2. Rio de Janeiro. and Maria Victoria de Mesquita Benevides (1976). Xavier. 22 March 1984. English translation in Brazilian Cinema. pp. reprinted in Michael Chanan (ed. 'Vera Cruz: A BrazilianHollywood'. Cinema BR (Sao Paulo). Rio de Janeiro. 9. Randal Johnson and Robert Stam.J. Civilizagao Brasileira. 68-71. pp. 'The Shape of Brazilian Film History*. 153-67. cit. English version in Randal Johnson and Robert Stam (eds. Civiliza9ao Brasileira/Embrafilme. is the greatest lesson Cinema Novo learned over the last twenty years. 153-67. 13-23. 10-17. 14. 12 January 1963. pp. Sertdo Mar: Glauber Rocha e a estetica da fome. Johnson and Stam. 7.) Cineaste. pp.13-14. 22. Sertdo Mar. 13-14. 12. pp. in Brazilian Cinema. Randal Johnson and Robert Stam. White Devil: The Representation of History'. 13.