The links list offered up today is Film Studies For Free's customary tribute to Glauber Rocha, a political and aesthetic leader of the Cinema Novo movement which emerged in Brazil in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Glauber said more: "We are going to make our films anyhow: with handheld cameras, in 16mm if there is no 35mm, improvising in the street to get people's true gestures"; "..a cinema on the basis of whatever means are possible, at low cost and in a short time"; "..a political cinema that intends to inform not by logic, but by poetics."
Making films anyhow. Not making films anyhow. In fact, filming with a hand-held camera revealing its nervous presence in the scene more than the scene itself properly speaking, was not a way of simplifying and impoverishing cinematographic writing, but a creative intervention to make it more complex and rich. Glauber's Earth Entranced (Terra em Transe, 1967) is a good example, the scene improvised, not because it had not been thought through properly beforehand in the screenplay, but because it continued being thought through there in the shooting; the image tremulous; not because of any failure or lack of skill on the part of the photographer, but because at that time reality was being discussed like that in speech, nervous and tremulous.
In fact, this cinema, with an idea in its head and a camera in its hand, enriched the speech of itself. It helped people think of screenplays as a challenge to shooting, of shooting as a response to the challenge of the screenplay, of the camera as a challenge to the eye. It helped people think of cinema as an expression finished, on the screen and, at the same time, unfinished, just in the imagination, part of a process that does not end with the film on the screen; it helped people think of film as a work print, a not yet finished print for the spectator to clean up and bring order to; cinema as an inventor and stimulator of images.
Known above all for the trio of films Deus e o diabo na terra do sol (Black God, White Devil, 1964), Terra em transe (Earth Entranced/Land in Anguish, 1967), and O dragão da maldade contra o santo guerreiro (Antonio das Mortes, 1969), the latter about a legendary gunman hired to kill a group of rebelling peasants, Glauber Rocha's work -- made according to his DIY dictum 'An idea in your head and a camera in hand...' -- has been an inspiration for much cinema in Brazil and elsewhere.
This post is also intended to support and publicise a (for charity) screening of Glauber Rocha's Terra em Transe in London by Latin America House/CasaLatina.org on April 8. Do please go along if you can, and find out more about about this important filmmaker's work and about Brazilian cinema, politics and culture more generally.
- Julianne Burton, '"The Camera As "Gun": Two Decades of Culture and Resistance in Latin America', Latin American Perspectives, Vol. 5, No. 1, Culture in the Age of Mass Media. (Winter, 1978), pp. 49-76
- Julianne Burton , 'The old and the new: Latin American cinema at the (last?) Pesaro Festival', from Jump Cut, no. 9, 1975, pp. 33-35
- Julianne Burton, Randal Johnson and Robert Stam, 'Brazilian cinema update: Annotated filmography', from Jump Cut, no. 22, May 1980, pp. 22-24
- Michael Chanan, 'The Changing Geography of Third Cinema', Screen Special Latin American Issue, Volume 38, number 4, Winter 1997)
- Julio Diniz, 'Brazil and issues of cultural and national identity in Latin America', Diálogos Latinoamericanos, No. 2, 2002
- Jack Draper, 'Brazilian Popular Culture as Process and Product: Politicizing the Popular in Música Popular Brasileira, 1950-2003', “Latin American Music and Dance” Panel, Latin American Studies Association Conference, March 28, 2003
- Michèle Faguet, 'Pornomiseria: Or How Not to Make a Documentary Film', Afterall, Issue 21, Summer 2009
- Catherine Grant, 'Studies of 'Third Cinema' and anti-Eurocentric film culture', Film Studies For Free,August 10, 2009
- Michael Korfmann, 'On Brazilian Cinema: From Mário Peixoto’s Limite to Walter Salles', Senses of Cinema, Issue 40, 2006
- Gabriela Martínez, 'Cinema law in Latin America: Brazil, Peru and Colombia', Jump Cut, No. 50, spring 2008
- Lúcia Nagib, 'Reframing Utopia: Contemporary Brazilian Cinema at the turn of the century', Vol. 0, Winter2006
- Emanuelle K F Oliveira, 'An ethic of the esthetic: racial representation in Brazilian cinema today', Vanderbilt e-Journal of Luso-Hispanic Studies, Vol. 4, 2008
- Peter Rist, 'A Brief Introduction to Brazilian Cinema', Offscreen Journal, Volume 9, Issue 6 (June 30, 2005)
- Robert Stam and Randal Johnson, 'Brazil renaissance, introduction Beyond Cinema Novo', from Jump Cut, no. 21, Nov. 1979, pp. 13-18 (Part 2)
- Robert Stam, 'Blacks in Brazilian Cinema: A Comparative Methodology', Critical Arts, Vol. 2, No. 4, 1983