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FRIDAYS: Brazilian Film Screenings at Eugene Lang

Film Series:  Poetic Films from Brazil

Curated by Peter Lucas

As part of the International Field Program (IFP) preparation for the summer Brazil IFP, each Friday evening during the spring semester a choice Brazilian film will be hosted and screened. Feel free to invite friends and to bring refreshments.

Friday evenings at 6:00 p.m.

65 West 11th Street.  In the Eugene Lang Building.  Room B-050

(This is the classroom below the Lang café next to the small computer lab).  

Friday, February 1st.   Barravento (1962) Directed by Glauber Rocha.  

In the fishing village of Xareu in Bahia, Firmino returns from living in the big city of Salvador; his presence disrupts all harmony.  He’s the trickster, lighting the fuse for violence but he’s also the prophet for critical consciousness. This was Glauber Rocha’s first film, a bold and poetic statement anticipating the Cinema Novo movement.  Shot in gorgeous black and white, full of song and dance at every turn, Glauber Rocha mixes documentary realism and mystical storytelling to evoke the threat and promise of change in traditional Afro-Brazilian culture.  

Friday, February 8th.  O Pais de Sao Sarue (1971) Directed by Vladimir Carvalho.  

The mythical Sertao region of Brazil’s northeast has inspired many films but none so poetic as this documentary about people struggling with drought.  Shot in the Rio de Peixe area of Paraiba and censored for 8 years under the military dictatorship for it’s portrayal of misery and hardship. But the strange beauty of this film marks it as a national treasure, not to mention the narration that actually rhymes.  

Friday, February 15th  Black Orpheus. (1959)  Directed by Marcel Camus.  

A retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice set during Carnival in Rio.  Winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes and the 1960 Academy Award, Black Orpheus is the film that put Brazil on the cinema map of the world and introduced samba, bossa nova, Macumba, and the transgressive energy of carnival.

Friday, February 22nd.  Iracema.  1974.  Dir by Jorge Bodansky & Orlando Senna.

Bodansky and Senna made a clandestine road trip through the Amazon during the height of the military dictatorship. Along the way the crew mixed documentary and fiction to capture the havoc that roads cut into the forest cause: migration, poverty, slavery, prostitution, corruption, ranching, logging, violence, and the burning of the forest. My all time favorite Brazilian film, and perhaps the best documentation ever made about the Amazon.    

March 1st.  Estamira (2004) Directed by Marcos Prado

Estamira, a 60-year old woman diagnosed with schizophrenia, scavenges the garbage dump of Jardim Gramacho in Rio de Janeiro with imaginary dream visions.  For several years, photographer turned filmmaker Marcos Prado followed her flickering moments of trauma and tenderness. Working mostly alone, shooting with gritty black and white Super 8 and breathtaking digital video in color, Prado creates one of the most memorable and poetic portrait films that has ever been made in Brazil.   

March 8th  Bus 174  (2002)  Directed by Jose Padilha.  

Valentines Day in Rio, an afternoon hijacking of a bus in a chic neighborhood, the crowd encircling the scene, a tense standoff with the police for hours, and the news media pointing their cameras at the bus. Using the raw media footage and select interviews, the documentary reveals hijacker Sandro do Nascimento’s back-story as a chronicle of a tragedy foretold, as it played out live on Brazilian television.    

March 15 & March 22 – No Screenings because of Spring Break

March 29th  The Hour of the Star.  (1985).  Directed by Suzana Amaral

Based on one of the most beloved Brazilian novels of all time, written by Clarice Lispector, the film tells the story of a poor migrant woman from the impoverished northeast who moves to the big city of Sao Paulo. Macabea struggles at work because of her low education, her lack of social skills and her personal hygiene.  She lives in a boarding house with other single women and in her spare time, she listens to the radio and likes to ride the subways on Sundays. She describes herself saying, I am a typist and a virgin and I like Coca-Cola. Then she meets Olimpico, a north-easterner like herself…

Apri 5th  Marcelo Yuka: No Caminho das Setas.  (2012) Directed by Daniela Broitman.

One of the founding members of the band O Rappa, Marcelo Yuka was one of the musical mega stars in Brazil in the 1990s.  But at age 34 he was caught in crossfire in the streets of Rio being hit with no less than 9 bullets leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.  Following his recovery, activism, and his eventual comeback to the stage, Broitman’s studies the trauma and the courage of one of Brazil’s great musicians.  

April 12th  Edificio Master  (2002) Directed by Eduardo Courtinho.  

Eduardo Courtinho was one of the greatest documentary filmmakers in the world and Edificio Master is widely considered his masterpiece.  Shot entirely inside a single large apartment building in Rio, the film presents a dignified and reflexive encounter between Coutinho and building’s residents living and struggling in the heart of Copacabana.

April 19th  Sunday Ball.  (2015)  Directed by Eryk Rocha

In the shadow of Maracana Stadium in Rio, 14 local soccer teams from the favelas compete in weekly matches. Eryk Roch’s stunning documentary film Sunday Ball focuses on the annual championship game between two local communities. Shot from a sensorial and grounded perspective in the middle of the field, the final match is more of an opera, with music from Puccini and Wagner and Villa-Lobos.

April 26th  Santiago.  (2006)  Directed by Joao Salles.

In 1992, Joao Salles filmed his eccentric butler Santiago at his family home in the hills of Gavea, in one of the upscale neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro.  Samtiago’s strange passion was collecting, arranging, interpreting and documenting the history of wealthy families in the world. Returning to the footage and the archives in 2005, long after Santigo had passed away, Salles fashions a poetic essay on memory, lost time, the nature of beauty and all things ephemeral.

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