22nd International Film Festival of Kerala-IFFK 2017-Country Focus-Brazil
Films from Brazil on focus
‘Country Focus ‘of the 22nd edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) would be Brazil Cinema. Six films curated by film scholar Stefan Solomon, will be screened in this section.
Cinema Novo marks an important moment in the history of Brazilian cultural productions because it is understood as the first instance where Brazilian films began to gain a consistent level of positive critical reception outside of Brazil. Cinema Novo has long been popular among academics because it is a movement heavily imbedded with political, philosophical, and historical meaning. These films generally emphasized social and political problems in Brazil in an effort to promote economic reform. While it is difficult to place a clear chronological time frame on this era, we can say that it lasted from the late 1950s to the early 1970s.
The contemporary Brazilian cinema seems to be the byproduct of a mid-1990s renaissance in national film production. Accordingly, to better understand contemporary Brazilian cinema, it is advisable to recall the Brazilian film industry’s situation in the 1980s. An unsteady period followed by a major decline in national film production in the late-1980s and early-1990s, these were years illustrated by the dismantling of Embrafilme (Empresa Brasileira de Filmes), culminating in the complete eradication of the state-run film production and distribution company in March 1990. Around 1993–1994, however, a renaissance of Brazilian cinema occurred, in terms of film production and ticket sales, which has been called “Cinema da Retomada.” A cinematic phenomenon, fundamentally fueled by the industry’s access to new sources of state funding, the Retomada was predominately brought about by fiscal exemptions allowed by the Audiovisual Law (Lei do Audiovisual), as well as by grants such as the “Prêmio Resgate do Cinema Brasileiro,” coming from the Ministry of Culture. Later, the Rouanet Law (Lei Rouanet) strengthened the funding not only for film, but for cultural projects and events as a whole. Likewise, municipal and state laws promoting fiscal exemptions also had a fundamental role in the recovery of film production in the country. All these laws allowed the private initiative to redirect funds from taxes to film production. This article will provide a basic bibliography of the aforementioned topics, addressing the economic, sociological, and aesthetic issues related to contemporary Brazilian cinema.
A comprehensive resource here is Ramos and Miranda 2004, a reliable reference book in which one can find introductory information on various topics regarding contemporary Brazilian cinema. As seen in Ramos and Miranda 2004, the history of 1990s Brazilian cinema starts with two political acts: (1) the stamping out of the governmental agencies Embrafilme, Concine, and Fundação do Cinema Brasileiro, by President Fernando Collor de Mello in 1990; and (2) the validation of the Audiovisual Law (Lei do Audiovisual, no. 8.695/93) on July 20, 1993, a law that promotes the funding of Brazilian feature films by means of fiscal exemption. While in the beginning of the 1990s, only three Brazilian feature films were being screened each year, between 1995 and 1997, thirty-one films were produced and exhibited. The feature film that most remarkably represents this Brazilian cinema renaissance is Carla Camurati’s Carlota Joaquina—Princeza do Brasil (1994). Some critics and scholars advocate that, as a cycle, Cinema da Retomada came to an end with Walter Salles’s Central Station (Central do Brasil, released in 1998). Others deem Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund’s City of God (Cidade de Deus, released in 2002) as the true closing milestone of this renaissance. And a third perspective has considered Cinema da Retomada as a hitherto unending film cycle, given the persistence of the fiscal exemption mechanisms that prompted market recovery back in 1993/1994. Useful for further discussions on contemporary film production, a straightforward history of Brazilian cinema can be found in Stam and Johnson 1979. This work charts the shape of Brazilian cinema up until the late 1970s, when the state production and distribution company Embrafilme was already in full operation. A variety of works by experienced authors concerned with the economic, sociological, and aesthetic aspects affecting the new rise of the Brazilian film industry from the mid-1990s onwards can be found in Nagib 2003. Bernardet 2009 provides a number of essays and film critiques that help to “connect the dots” in terms of the context leading up to the early-1990s renaissance in Brazilian film production, the renaissance itself and the nascent horizons of contemporary Brazilian cinema. Butcher 2005 offers a short introduction to Brazilian cinema’s recent history while addressing aesthetic issues related to recent films. Finally, Bayman and Pinazza 2013 presents an updated selection of essays covering the history and aesthetics of Brazilian cinema, its main movements and achievements.
Directors with a clear perspective and a lucid personal outlook add a novel dimension to the films from Brazil. The contemporary films reflect the socio-political circumstances with precision. These films effectively dovetail the country’s state of affairs, and the inner conflicts and anticipation of man.
The ‘Focus on Brazil’ section consists of six contemporary movies from Brazil. Anita Rocha de Silveira’s ‘Kill Me Please’, Juliana Rojas’ ‘Necropolis Symphony’, Eduardo Nunes’ ‘Southwest’, Fernanda Pessoa’s ‘Stories that our Cinema did (Not) tell’, Adirley Queiros’ ‘White out, Black in’, and Thiago B. Mendonca’s ‘Miserable or a man screaming is not a dancing bear’
‘Kill Me Please’ by Anita Rocha de Silveira,. Anita Rocha da Silveira's arresting debut feature is a fever dream of adolescent sexuality with a retro giallo flavor. ‘Teen sexual exploration and the coming-of-age tale are first-feature cliches, but such is the range of human experience (and art) that there’s always room for a new vision to make that familiar territory seem fresh. The Brazilian film “Kill Me Please” offers a bracingly distinctive turn on those well-worn themes by chronicling a group of adolescent girls’ hormonally restless summer during a wave of murders in their West Zone neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro’ (Variety)
‘Necropolis Symphony’ of Juliana Rojas, "Necropolis Symphony". It takes a minute for the audience to get it, but then it begins to take the bizarre and lop-sided in its stride in the natural perception of a universe in which, it is not dumb zombies that populate the world, but real, live singing people who reside in the home of the dead. Andrea Martini dissects the originality of Brazilian musical comedy Necropolis Symphony by Juliana Rojas……. Shot entirely in a cemetery of a well-to-do area of São Paulo where family tombs and chapels stand in the shade of tree-lined avenues, Juliana Rojas's eccentric film stages a merry band who are by no means fazed by the macabre setting. It comprises four conscientious gravediggers, a pleasant bureaucrat superintendent just as one would expect a likeable native of São Paulo to be, and a stout, highly unorthodox priest. (Andrea Martini ,Fipresci)
Southwest directed by Eduardo Nunes .The rhythmic squawk of rotating bladed on a windmill outside a rustic country inn;wind rushing through the grass; unsmiling characters viewed sidelong through half-open doors.Thease are among repetitive aural and visual motifs in Eduardo Nunes ‘Southwest ‘that the relentless passing of time and the weight of the world on people struggling to survive (Newyork Times)
Stories That Our Cinema Did (Not Tell ) by Fernananda Pessoa,Brazil,1970s : the country is living under a military dictatorship which lasted 21 years.During that period the most produced and seen cinema was pornochanchadas: a diverse genre that combined erotic atmosphere and popular appeal.A review of a dark period of one of the most charming countries in the universe is made through the most unprecedented way-solely through the images and sounds from a selection of the
‘White Out ,Black’ of Adirley Queiros high concept ,lo-fifuturist docudrama explores the trauma of victims of a racist violence in the outskirts of Brasilia.An innovative ,intriguing and intimate piece about the maimed and disturbed underclass living under the shadows of Brazil’s futuristic capital.”(The Hollywood Reporter)
‘Young and Miserable or a Man Screaming is not a Dancing Bear’ directed by Thiago B Mendonca. HYBRID A group of artists test the borders between art and life. With theatre, music and performance art in public spaces, they try and create a revolutionary consciousness. They join the protests against the 2014 World Cup and witness violence and police repression. But the nearer the spectacle comes, the wider the cracks in the collective's solidarity. The dream of art influencing life is overtaken by life itself. Made on a minimal budget, the film is a powerful portrait of a young generation of political artists and was inspired by an essay by Pier Paolo Pasolini in which he criticized materialism – and by the surreal poetry of Aimé Cesaire.