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Brazil Cinema: The Best Shots


Brazil Cinema: The Best Shots

In Premiere Brazil, MoMA introduces the first of what will be an
annual film presentation whose
title is drawn from a sidebar of
the Rio festival that presents the most original and accomplished
new
films from a country that is becoming as well known for its
accomplishments on the screen as on the
soccer field.

by:

Terry Caesar

 

The Museum of Modern Art in New York presents its first annual exhibition of contemporary Brazilian cinema
entitled Premiere Brazil. This eight film exhibition presents new and innovative fiction and documentary work from modern
Brazilian directors and concludes with the landmark
Antônio das Mortes (O dragão da maldade contra o santo
guerreiro) which won its director Glauber Rocha the Best Director award at Cannes in 1969.

The exhibition runs July 23 through 28, 2003, at MoMA Film at The Gramercy Theatre, with several films
introduced by their directors, and a special open-air screening of
Houve Uma Vez Dois Verões (Two
Summers, 2002) will be presented Wednesday, July 23, at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, Queens.

The exhibition was organized by Jytte Jensen, Associate Curator, Department of Film and Media, The Museum of
Modern Art; Ilda Santiago, Director, Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival; Claudia Dutra, Brazilian Film Festival of
Miami; in collaboration with Cinema Tropical and in consultation with Fabiano Canosa, consultant.

The films in the exhibition range from the crowd-pleasing romantic comedy
Houve Uma Vez Dois Verões (Two
Summers) to Edifício Master (Master: A Building in Copacabana,
2002), a documentary on the checkered lives of inhabitants of a
large apartment block near Copacabana beach. The opening night film
Janela da Alma (Window of the Soul, 2001), João
Jardim and Walter Carvalho’s deeply moving, wise, and funny documentary on visual impairment that includes interviews with
José Saramago, Oliver Sacks, Agnès Varda, and Wim Wenders, is yet another example of the impressive achievements by
Brazil’s documentary filmmakers. Director Jardim will be present to introduce the film.

Other titles in the exhibition include José Joffily’s tender treatment of illegal Brazilian immigrants in New York
in Dois Perdidos Numa Noite Suja (Two Lost in a Dirty Night,
2002), and Domingos Oliveira’s
Separações (Breaking Up,
2002), a delightful romantic comedy. Alain Fresnot’s
Desmundo (2002), the only period film in the exhibition, gives an
account of a remarkable chapter in the history of Portugal and Brazil. Set in 1570, the film follows a group of orphans sent to
Brazil by the queen of Portugal to marry the first colonizers. The setting for Anna
Muylaert’s Durval Discos (Durval
Records, 2002), a quirky tale of kidnapping and domestic disharmony, is a record shop that provides the lively soundtrack for this dark comedy.

The exhibition concludes with a screening of Glauber Rocha’s 1969 revolutionary folk
epic Antônio das Mortes (O dragão da maldade contra o santo
guerreiro), which won Rocha the Best Director award at Cannes that year; and introduces
one of Brazil’s foremost experimental filmmakers, Carols Adriano, with one of his latest intricately composed works
Militância (Militancy, 2002).

Ms. Jensen states, "It is a great pleasure to follow up on MoMA’s
Cinema Novo and Beyond retrospective (1998)
with this collaboration between the Department of Film and Media, Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival, Brazilian Film
Festival of Miami, and Cinema Tropical presenting contemporary work. We are very much looking forward to following the
energetic Brazilian film industry in the coming years and to bring to New York the finest examples of a cinema blessed with a
great past and looking into a bright future." Ms. Santiago adds: "We have long been looking for ways to give Brazilian
cinema more visibility."

Brazilian cinema has emerged in recent years through the imposition of screening and production quotas as well as
sheer talent, to occupy places in several critics’ "Best Of" lists as well as attaining commercial success. MoMA’s extensive
1998 exhibition, the 70-title Cinema Novo and
Beyond, was the most comprehensive series of Brazilian films ever screened
in the United States.

Since then, a number of factors have combined to elevate the profile of Brazilian cinema worldwide: state-supported
financial incentives to encourage local film production; the increased popularity of the Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival
and its sister festival, the Brazilian Film Festival of Miami; the emergence of several new talents such as Karim Ainouz’s
Madame Satã (2002), and Kátia Lund and Fernando Meirelles’s
Cidade de Deus (City of
God, 2002),
and the consolidation of
the reputations of other, more established directors.

In Premiere Brazil, MoMA introduces the first of what will be an annual film presentation whose title is drawn from
a sidebar of the Rio festival that presents the most original and accomplished new films from a country that is becoming
as well known for its accomplishments on the screen as on the soccer field.

The exhibition is made possible by The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art, The J.M. Kaplan
Fund, The New York Times, JPMorgan Chase, Cineric, Consulate General of Brazil in New York, Roger Smith Hotel, Denise
Simon and Paulo Vieira da Cunha, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Partnership for Parks, Embratur, Knitting
Factory, Pirassununga, and Sambazone.

SCREENING SCHEDULE

Wednesday, July 23 (at Socrates Sculpture Park)

7:00 p.m. – Houve Uma Vez Dois
Verões (Two Summers). 2002. Brazil. Written and directed by Jorge Furtado. With
André Arteche, Ana Maria Mainieri, Pedro Furtado, Júlia Barth.

Chico, a teenager on vacation at the "biggest and worst beach in the world," in Rio Grande do Sul, meets Roza at a
pinball arcade and falls head over heels in love. They have sex on their first night, but she vanishes, only to turn up again later.
Until the following summer she will appear in and out of his life many times over. A breezy summer charmer of a film about
young people and their silly yet serious games of love and leisure. In Portuguese with English subtitles. 75 min.

Thursday, July 24

2:00 p.m. – Dois Perdidos Numa Noite
Suja (Two Lost in a Dirty Night). 2002. Brazil. Directed by José Joffily.
With Débora Falabella, Roberto Bomtempo.

This sensitive film explores the relationship between Paco and Tonho, two of the many illegal Brazilian immigrants
barely holding on to the fringes of New York City. Tonho is shy but determined to return home a success, while the outgoing
Paco is an artist with a devil-may-care attitude and a strong belief in her talents as a musician. The volatile yet tender feelings
between these two very different people mirror the conditions of the city where they try to survive. In Portuguese with English
subtitles. 100 min.

4:30 p.m. – Durval Discos (Durval
Records). 2002. Brazil. Written and directed by Anna Muylaert. With Ary
França, Etty Fraser, Isabela Guasco, Marisa Orth.

In this detective story with a surrealistic flavor, Durval and his mother, Carmita, have been living for years in
isolation at the back of a record store. Durval decides to hire a maid but the low wages attract only Celia, a strange woman who
vanishes after one day, leaving behind a five-year-old girl named Kiki and a note explaining that she will be back. Durval and
Carmita become charmed by the child, but they are soon made aware of the real story. In Portuguese with English subtitles. 96 min.

7:00 p.m. – Janela da Alma (Window of the
Soul). 2001. Brazil. Written and directed by João Jardim, Walter Carvalho.

Introduced by João Jardim. An engaging and charmingly thoughtful film brimming with beauty and ideas. Nineteen
people with varying degrees of visual impairment—from mild nearsightedness to total blindness—discuss how they see
themselves, others, and the world. A great cast of characters, including writer and Nobel laureate José Saramago, musician Hermeto
Paschoal, filmmakers Wim Wenders and Agnès Varda, the blind Franco-Slovenian photographer Evgen Bavcar, the neurologist
Oliver Sacks, the actress Marieta Severo, and the blind city councilman Arnaldo Godoy give their personal and surprising
insights into various aspects of vision and the meaning of seeing or not seeing in a world saturated with images. In Portuguese,
English, and French with English subtitles. 73 min.

Friday, July 25

2:00 p.m. – Houve Uma Vez Dois
Verões (Two Summers). See Wednesday, July 23, 7:00 p.m.

4:30 p.m. – Edifício Master (Master: A Building in
Copacabana). 2002. Brazil. Directed by Eduardo Coutinho.

For seven days, a film crew headed by Coutinho, Brazil’s master of documentary filmmaking, shot the everyday life
of people living in "the Master," a building located in Copacabana, a block away from the beach. This monstrous edifice
has a total of 276 studio apartments housing some 500 people. All of the thirty-seven residents interviewed are gifted
storytellers with exceptional lives and often outsized personalities that belie the extremity of their cramped quarters. In Portuguese
with English subtitles. 110 min.

6:45 p.m. – Durval Discos (Durval
Records). See Thursday, July 24, 4:30 p.m.

9:00 p.m. – Separações
(Breaking Up). 2002. Brazil. Directed by Domingos Oliveira. Screenplay by Oliveira,
Priscilla Rozenbaum. With Oliveira, Rozenbaum, Ricardo Kosovski.

A delicious romantic comedy about the four stages of a breakup—denial, negotiation, revolt, and acceptance—set
among talkative, self-involved Cariocas. The much older Cabral is married to Glorinha. They decide to take a break from each
other, but the separation becomes real when Glorinha falls in love with Diogo. Cabral realizes his mistake and will do anything
to win her back. Most everybody gets involved in the process, following the not-always accurate maxim, "Better regret
what you’ve done than what you’ve not done." In Portuguese with English subtitles. 116 min.

Saturday, July 26

1:00 p.m. – Dois Perdidos Numa Noite
Suja (Two Lost in a Dirty Night). See Thursday, July 24, 2:00 p.m. –

3:30 p.m. – Desmundo. 2002. Brazil. Directed by Alain Fresnot. Screenplay by Fresnot, Sabina Anzuategui, based
on the novel by Ana Miranda. With Simone Spoladore, Osmar Prado, Caco Ciocler.

It is 1570, and the queen of Portugal has sent a group of orphans to Brazil to marry the first colonizers. Among them
is the sensitive and religious Oribela, who reluctantly follows her new husband Francisco back to his sugar plantation to be
mistress of the house and mother to his white sons. The farm is also home to Francisco’s mother and younger sister. The film
captures the strange and incestuous family life as well as the uneasiness and casual cruelty shown toward the indigenous people
of that time. In Portuguese with English subtitles. 100 min.

6:00 p.m. – Janela da Alma (Window of the
Soul). See Thursday, July 24, 7:00 p.m.

8:30 p.m. – Edifício Master (Master: A Building in
Copacabana). See Friday, 25 July, 4:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 27

2:00 p.m. – Separações
(Breaking Up). See Friday, 25 July, 9:00 p.m. –

3:30 p.m. – Desmundo. See Saturday, July 26, 3:30 p.m.

6:00 p.m. – Houve Uma Vez Dois
Verões (Two Summers). See Wednesday, July 23. 7:00 p.m.

Monday, July 28

6:00 p.m. – Militância
(Militancy). 2002. Brazil. Directed by Carlos Adriano.

Between 1874 and 1887 the Brazilian photographer Militão (1837-1905) made
The Three Ages, a series designed for magic lantern. These six images and his self-portrait are a rare prototype of pre-cinema in Brazil. "Militância is over the
top in its statement of erotic cinema love, this mad displacement of libido into images that straddle life—gone, gone gone,
but present as a trace—and thingness, chemical dispersion of light-galvanized silver halides, machinery, especially
machinery that’s evident as such and not black-boxed" (Ken Jacobs). 10 min.

Antônio das Mortes (O dragão da maldade contra o santo
guerreiro). 1969. Brazil. Directed by Glauber Rocha.
With Maurício do Valle, Othon Bastos, Odete Lara, Hugo Carvana.

Glauber Rocha was named Best Director at Cannes in 1969 for this "revolutionary folk epic…one of the most
original works of the Cinema Novo" (Amos Vogel). "Part samurai, part Sergio Leone, and just as obviously influenced by
no one…Antônio das Mortes, a hired gun for the landowners, is the most notorious killer of
cangaceiros, peasant rebel-bandits in the backlands. In open-air opera and silent shuffling ballet, spoken verse and sung lore, melodrama of the absurd and
gritty Western, Rocha transforms the lore of the
cangaceiros to his own flamboyant use to show `the two faces of
vengeance—hatred and love’."(Pacific Film Archive). In Portuguese with English subtitles. 95 mins.

8:00 p.m. – Militância (Militancy).

Antonio das Mortes (O dragão da maldade contra o santo guerreiro).

THE INFO:

What – Premiere Brazil, first in annual series of films of contemporary Brazilian cinema

When – July 23_28, 2003

Where – MoMA Film at The Gramercy Theatre and Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens

MoMA Film at The Gramercy Theatre, 127 East 23 Street, between Lexington and Park Avenues, closer to Lexington.

Tickets – Box office hours: Monday and Thursday, 1:30_8:30 p.m.; Friday, 1:30_9:30 p.m.; Saturday, 12:30_9:30
p.m.; Sunday, 12:30_7:30 p.m.; closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

Prices: Daily admission: $12, $8.50 seniors and students with valid ID. For screenings after 4:00 p.m. on Fridays,
admission is pay-what-you-wish. A MoMA Gramercy film ticket stub may be used for one admission to MoMA QNS for up to 30
days from the date on the ticket. Likewise, a MoMA QNS ticket stub may be used for one day of films at The Gramercy Theatre.

Ticketing: MoMA film tickets will be available only at The Gramercy Theatre box office during box office hours.
Film tickets will not be distributed at MoMA QNS. A limited number of advance tickets for each film will be available to all
MoMA members one week in advance for a 50 cent service charge. For information on ticket availability, call The Gramercy
Theatre box office during box office hours at (212) 777-4900.

Subway: 6 Local train to 23 St station; N or R train to 23 St station. Walk east on 23 St for MoMA Gramercy.

Bus: M23 to Lexington Avenue; M1 to Park Avenue and 23 St.; M101, M102, or M103 to Third Avenue and 23 St.

The public may call the box office at (212) 777-4900 for detailed program information.

 

MoMA on the Web: www.moma.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

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