Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Mulheres da Retomada: Women Filmmakers in Contemporary Brazilian Cinema

January 28th, 2010 - April 22nd, 2010
Thursdays, 7:00pm
7:00pm

Location
Jones Hall 204
Tulane University

“The history of Brazilian women’s participation in the cinema is no exception to the rule: they have often performed in front of the camera, but they have rarely worked behind it.”
—Elice Munerato and Maria Helena Darcy de Oliveira

Next Showing:
22-Apr: Durval discos, Anna Muylaert (2002)

“Mulheres da Retomada: Women Filmmakers in Contemporary Brazilian Cinema” is a film series/festival/conference devoted to the exhibition and exploration of the work of woman filmmakers in the post-Fernando Collor renewal of Brazilian film known as the retomada. Before the mid 1990s there had been only a handful of women filmmakers in Brazil. In the silent period, and through the 1950s, actresses like Cleo de Verberena, Carmen Santos and Gilda de Abreu capitalized on their fame as actresses to direct and produce their own films, albeit with fleeting success. In the 1960’s, Brazil’s best known film movement, cinema novo, was resolutely male dominated. It was not until the late 1970s and 80s that several women – Tereza Trautman, Tete Moraes, Tizuka Yamazaki and, most notably, Ana Carolina – were able to make their first films.

In 1990, newly-elected president Fernando Collor dismantled all existing mechanisms in support of national filmmaking and production dropped to practically zero. However, this vacuum ended up being an unexpected fertile ground for the emergence of a new generation of women filmmakers who were able to take advantage of new federal and state initiatives (post 1992-95) in support of cultural production. The Retomada, as this new emergence of the national cinema is called in Brazil, was heralded by the tremendous critical and box-office success of actress-turned-director Carla Camurati’s first feature, Carlota Joaquina, Princesa do Brasil in 1995.

“Mulheres da Retomada” begins with a film series (Spring and Fall 2010) that includes the major feature films produced by women filmmakers in Brazil and concludes with a film festival and conference in November 2010. The project is funded through a grant from the Newcomb College Institute, the Stone Center, and the Silverstein Fund of the Film Studies Program. It is co-organized by professors Ana López (Communication) and Rebecca Atencio (Spanish and Portuguese).

For more information email Ana López at lopez@tulane.edu.

Full Schedule:

  • 28-Jan: O ebrio, Gilda de Abreu (1946) – View Flyer
  • 04-Feb: Mar de rosas, Ana Carolina (1977) – View Flyer
  • 18-Feb: Gaijin, Tizuka Yamasaki (1980) – View Flyer
  • 25-Feb: Terra para Rose, Tetê Moraes (1987) – View Flyer
  • 04-Mar: A hora da estrela, Susana Amaral (1985) – View Flyer
  • 11-Mar: Que bom te ter viva, Lucia Murat (1989) – Leslie Marsh lecture* – View Flyer
  • 18-Mar: Carlota Joaquina, Carla Camurati (1995)
  • 25-Mar: Bananas is my Business, Helena Solberg (1995) – View Flyer
  • 08-Apr: Um passaporte húngaro, Sandra Kogut (2001) – View Flyer
  • 15-Apr: Bicho de sete cabeças, Laís Bodanzsky (2001) – View Flyer
  • 22-Apr: Durval discos, Anna Muylaert (2002) – View Flyer

*Leslie L. Marsh received her Ph.D. in Spanish, with a Graduate Certificate in Film Studies from the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on representations of violence and questions of citizenship in contemporary Latin American Film and Video. She is currently editing a manuscript on Brazilian women’s filmmaking in the 1970s and 1980s.

January 28
O ebrio (The drunkard, 1946) D. Gilda de Abreu. 126 min.

Gilda de Abreu and her husband, Vincente Celestino, were popular theatrical entertainers with their own production company. De Abreu performed as an actress and singers on stage, radio and film and also wrote and adapted novels and plays. O ebrio, her first film, was adapted from one of her husband’s musical compositions and was a tremendous box-office and critical success. In the best melodramatic tradition of the period and clearly influenced by the theatrical rhetoric made familiar through the radio, the drunkard of the title is a successful medical doctor – Gilberto Silva – who is betrayed by his wife and takes up a new identity as a wandering drunk with “friends only in taverns.”

February 4
Mar de Rosas (Sea of Roses, 1977) D. Ana Carolina. 99 min.

Ana Carolina’s first fiction film is an iconoclastic portrait of middle class life and of a dysfunctional family. The protagonist, Betinha (Cristina Pereira) in a teenage anti-heroine: rambunctious, unpredictable and naughty she is on the run with her mother Felicidade (Norma Bengel) who has attempted to kill husband Sergio (Hugo Carvana) in a hotel bathroom. Betinha and Felididade are followed by a suspicious character in a black Volkswagen and, after a series of terrible mishaps are rescued by the banal dentist Dr. Dirceu and his wife Miriam. This explosive black comedy is driven by a spirit of revolt and explores absurd familial situations as a springboard for exposing sexism, repression and alienation.

February 18
Gaijin: Os caminhos da libertade (Outsider: A Brazilian Odyssey, 1980) D. Tizuka Yamasaki.

Tizuka Yamasaki’s first fiction film is a tribute to her grandmother, who emigrated from Japan to Brazil in the early 1900s in search of a better life and found poverty, back-breaking labor, discrimination and loneliness. The exile epic begins in 1908 Japan, when brothers Yamada (Jiro Kawarasaki) and Kobayashi (Keniti Kaneko) decide to immigrate to Brazil in search of a better life. Because families received preferential treatment, Yamada decides to marry 16 year old and Titoe ( Kyoko Tsukamoto). In Brazil they are put to work at the large Santa Rosa coffee plantation in São Paulo where they and many other Japanese workers are culturally and linguistically isolated and treated like chattel by the owners. Among the few who are sympathetic to their plight is Tonho (Antonio Fagundes), a handsome foreman with a social conscience who will end up a labor organizer in São Paulo.

February 25
Terra para Rose (Land for Rose, 1987) D. Tetê Moraes. 84 min.

Terra para Rose is an emotionally wrenching socially committed documentary about the land reforms in Brazil that occurred during the transition from dictatorship to democracy. In 1985, the government designed a plan to confiscate 43 million hectares of land from large landowners and to divide them among a million and a half landless farmers’ families. This was not a serious sacrifice for the landowners, because the confiscated land was mostly not cultivated, but the reform failed, due to discord within the government and opposition from pressure groups. Tetê Moraes focuses on one of the first occupations organized by the Landless Movement (Movemento Sem Terra, MSM) in Rio Grande do Sul in 1985: 1500 families tried to occupy the Fazenda Anoni, a large unused property. The film shows their struggles to win the right to cultivate the land in four stages: the initial invasion of the farm, a 500km march to Porto Alegre by the “sem terra,” their temporary camp in front of the Legislative Assembly, and the return to the promised land, where only 300 of the 1500 families were given land parcels. Throughout, her focal point are the women, especially Rose, who has been there two years and whose son was the first child to be born in the camp.

March 4
A hora da estrela (The Hour of the Star, 1985) D. Suzana Amaral

Suzana Amaral’s impressive debut feature (made when she was 52, having enrolled at NYU Film School after raising nine children) is a stark portrait of Macabéa (Marcelia Cartaxo), a young office typist barely eking out a life in São Paulo. At first Macabéa’s ignorance and lack of social graces test the audience’s sympathies, but Amaral is able to convey her interior landscape of thoughts and desires through camera work and a dense soundtrack of snippets from radio programs and electronic music. Based on a densely descriptive novel by Clarice Lispector, the film paints a stark portrait of the life of an urban Brazilian girl working barely above the poverty line while also providing us with lyrical oases in dreamy sequences in which Macabea dreams about other lives and possibilities.

March 11
Que bom te ver viva (How Good to See You Alive, 1989). D. Lúcia Murat. 100 min.

Mixing documentary and fictional modes, Que bom te ver viva deals with torture during the Brazilian dictatorship, showing how its victims survived and still deal with those violent experiences almost two decades later. The film mixes the fantasies of an anonymous character played by actress Irene Ravache with the testimonies of eight women who were tortured political prisoners. More than provide a catalog of their mistreatments, the film focuses on the price they paid (and continue paying) for surviving the experience of torture with lucidity. To differentiate the fictional from the documentary, Murat recorded the testimonies of the ex political prisoners in video and framed them tightly, as in a 3×5 passport picture. Their daily lives were filmed with natural light while the monologue of the Ravache character was filmed with very theatrical lighting.

March 18
Carlota Joaquina, Princesa do Brasil (Carlota Joaquina, Princess of Brazil, 1995) D. Carla Camurati. 100 min.

Spain, 1785 – Carlota Joaquina (Marieta Severo) a child who was promised to Dom João VI (Marco Nanini), at 10 years of age receives the portrait of her future husband and is obliged to leave for Portugal carrying with her only her family inheritance. Arriving in her new country, Carlota suffers a great deception upon encountering her “promised”… producing many fights, infidelities and… many children. With the death of Dom José, heir to the throne of Portugal and the declaration of insanity of Maria I, Carlota Joaquina and Dom João VI inherit the Portuguese crown. However, frightened by the French Revolution and the proximity of Napolean’s army, they resolve to flee to their colony: Brazil. Beyond humorously recounting a rather non official and irreverent history of an important epoch in Brazil’s history, Carla Camurati’s first fiction film (after a stellar career as an actress) is considered the film that marks the beginning of the rebirth of the national cinema after the chaos produced by President Collor’s austerity measures in 1989. It was the first film of this period to reach more than a million spectators.

March 25
Bananas is my Business (1995) D. Helena Solberg. 91 min.

This fascinating film skillfully combines reenactments, interviews with confidants and commentators, and footage from her many films to tell the haunting story of 1940’s superstar Carmen Miranda. Charting Miranda’s transformation from famed Brazilian singer to Hollywood’s first Latina star to independent artist, award-winning Brazilian filmmaker Helena Solberg shows how Miranda’s saga exemplifies contradictions in the relationship between Latin America and the United States that persist today. At the convergence of sexual politics, cultural colonialism, and one woman’s life, this moving film powerfully explores the complex factors behind the image and life of the “Tutti-Frutti Woman,” Carmen Miranda.

April 8
Um passaporte húngaro (A Hungarian Passport, 2001). D. Sandra Kogut.

Speaking over the telephone with the Hungarian consulate, the Brazilian filmmaker Sandra Kogut asks, “Can someone who has a Hungarian grandfather obtain a Hungarian passport?” The bureaucrat on the other end of the line is confused, “Yes…it’s possible…but why do you want a Hungarian passport?” The administrative process of obtaining a passport becomes the narrative thread of this disarmingly unaffected film diary. Kogut creates a private journal of her trips to and from Brazil, Hungary, and France, recording the Kafkaesque experience of her frustrating and often hysterical attempts to jump through the necessary bureaucratic hoops. On the way, she explores a painful family history of forced emigration and a hidden legacy of anti-Semitism as she confronts some essential questions: What is nationality? What is a passport for? What should we do with our heritage? How do we construct our history and our own identity?

*April 15
Bicho de sete cabeças (Brainstorm, 2001) D. Laís Bodanzky. 74 min.

Neto (Rodrigo Santoro) is a middle class adolescent keen on freedom and new experiences. His father, Wilson (Othon Baston) does not understand his small acts of rebellion and their relationship grows more difficult daily. After finding a joint in the pocket of Neto’s jacket, Wilson commits him to a mental institution. There Neto must deal with an absurd and inhuman world in which individuals are devoured by a mental health system that is cruel and corrupt. On the other hand, his experiences at the clinic also help him to mature and to transform his relationship with his father.

April 22
Durval Discos (Durval Records, 2002) D. Anna Muylaert.

In the late 90’s, Durval (Ary França) is a middle aged man who owns a record store in the first floor of his overbearing mother’s house (Etty Fraser). A typical hippie, Durval refuses to sell cd’s despite the decline in customers. He notices his mother is not giving as much attention to cooking and house chores as she once did and suggests they hire a maid, a task which is tricky since they are only willing to pay 100 reais. A young woman (Letícia Sabatella) finally appears willing to take on the job, but disappears after one day, leaving behind a young girl Kiki and a note that she will return in a three days. With an amazing soundtrack of 70’s Brazilian music, the film is a charming homage to vinyl and the Side A and Side B of life.

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