Brazil\'s Current Film Industry


Current Film Industry

In this paper I will discuss Brazil and
it’s current film industry. I will elucidate its role in the Brazilian
economy, and also what part the government deals in the industry itself.

Certain Brazilian films will be given as representations towards my theories.

Within a year of the Lumiere brother’s
‘first experiment’ in Paris in 1896, the cinematograph machine appeared
in Rio de Janeiro. Ten years later, the capital boasted 22 cinema houses
and the first Brazilian feature film, The Stranglers by Antonio Leal, had
been screened. From then on Brazil’s film industry made continuous progress
and, although it has never been large, its output over the years has attracted
international attention. In 1930, still the era of the silent movie in

Brazil, Mario Peixoto’s film, Limite was made. Limite is a surrealistic
work dealing with the conflicts raised by the human condition and how life
conspires to prevent total fulfillment. It was considered a landmark film
in the Brazilian cinema history. In 1933 Cinedia produced The Voice of

Carnival, the first film with Carmen Miranda. This film ushered in the
‘chanchada’ which dominated Brazilian cinema for many years. Chanchada’s
were the slapstick comedies, generally filled with musical numbers and
thoroughly cherished by the public.

By the end of the 1940’s Brazilian
film making was becoming an industry. The Vera Cruz Film Company was created
in Sao Paulo with the goal of producing films of international quality.

It hired technicians from abroad and brought back from Europe, Alberto

Cavalcanti, a Brazilian filmmaker with an international reputation to head
the company. Vera Cruz produced some important films before it closed in

1954, among them the epic O Cangaceiro which won the "Best Adventure Film"
award at Cannes Film Festival in 1953. In the 1950’s, Brazilian cinema
radically changed the way it made films. In his 1995 film, Rio 40 Graus,
director Nelson Pereira dos Santos employed the filmmaking techniques
of Italian non realism by using ordinary people as his actors and by going
to the streets to shoot his low budget film. He would become one of the
most important Brazilian filmmakers of all time, and it is he who set the
stage for the Brazilian ‘cinema novo’ (an idea in mind and a camera in
the hands) movement. By 1962 ‘cinema novo’ had established a new concept
in Brazilian filmmaking. The ‘cinema novo’ film’s dealt with themes related
to acute national problems, from conflicts in rural areas to human problems
in the large cities, as well as film versions of important Brazilian novels.

At the end of the 1960’s, the Tropicalist movement had taken hold of the
art scenes in Brazil which meant that cinema came under its spell. It emphasized
the need to transform all foreign influences into a national product. The
most representative film of this movement was Macunaima, by Joaquim Pedro
de Andrade. It was a metaphorical analysis of the Brazilian character as
shown in the story of a native Indian who leaves the Amazon jungle and
goes to the big city. Working at the same time as the Tropicalists were
the ‘cinema marginal’ movement. This was another group of directors that
emerged in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro who also made low cost films. This
group produced film’s with theme’s that referred to a marginal society.

Their films were considered ‘difficult’. In 1969 the government film agency,

Embrafilme, was created. They were responsible for the co production, financing,
and distribution of a large percentage of films in the 1970’s and 1980’s.Embrafilme
added a commercial dimension to the film industry and made it possible
for it to move on to more ambitious projects. In the 1980’s movies were
not well attended. This was due in part to the popularity of the television.

Many theatres closed their doors, especially in the interior if the country.

Never the less some important films were made. Many were concerned with
political questions. Today many contemporary Brazilian films are being
shown on television and in movie theatres all over the world.

The Brazilian culture at the moment is
a result of a historical process where there was a convergence of three
distinct populations. The Indian population that was situated in the land
before the Portuguese arrived in 1500, the Africans who were brought by
the slave owners, and lastly the immigrants that came to Brazil in the
beginning of the 19th century.

Today, Brazil being more conscious of the
richness of these three different cultures tries to incentive the
film industry by bringing these influences out. A perfect example of this
is the