Oscar Ahoy

Oscar Ahoy

Is Central do Brasil a long shot for the main Oscar? Michael
Barker, Sony Pictures Classics’ president, doesn’t think so. He is behind the marketing
strategy to make the Brazilian film a household name in the next few weeks..
By Alessandra Dalevi

Central do Brasil (Central Station), the movie, is poised to go where no
Brazilian film has gone before. The work, which won this year’s Berlin Festival Silver
Bear, is getting the red carpet treatment by Sony Pictures, the film’s distributor in the
United States. The company acquired the rights to the movie in January during the Sundance
Film Festival.

Sony wants to see the film among the five nominated for an Oscar, not in the foreign
movie category, but together with the best English-language movies. Sony would also like
to see veteran Brazilian Fernanda Montenegro chosen as one of the five best actresses.
Montenegro would be competing with some favorite actresses for the upcoming Oscar,
including Oprah Winfrey, Meryl Streep, and Susan Sarandon.

A long shot? Don’t tell this to Michael Barker, Sony Pictures Classics’ president, who
is behind the marketing strategy to make the Brazilian work as much a household name as
past foreign movies like My Life as a Dog, and The Postman.

Barker indicated that before February 1999, when the list of nominated movies is
released, Sony will spend millions to accomplish that. In its campaign kicked off in late
September with ads in the movie industry papers, Sony talked about the exquisite emotional
experience Central do Brasil is and cited five other foreign movies that made it
into the main category, among them Costa-Gavras’ Z (1968), Ingmar Bergman’s Cries
and Whispers (1972) and The Postman( (1995).

What is the prerequisite for a foreign or any movie to compete for a place in the main
category? To have played in the US before December 1st, to have premiered in
the country it was made after January 1 and then to have been shown for at least six
months. The film can even compete for best picture in the foreign and main categories at
the same time, as happened with Z.

Sony started to put its plan into action in late November opening the movie in a few
key markets. It expects that promotion, good reviews and word of mouth will help when the
release expands to up to 500 screens nationwide.

Talking to Rio’s daily Jornal do Brasil, Barker explained the Brazilian movie’s
appeal: "Central do Brasil is a universal film. It transcends the Brazilian
cinema in reflecting feelings that have meaning to any culture. I am sure it will tug at
Americans’ heartstrings, exactly as The Postman did. The film has everything to get
to the mainstream and conquer the great public."

According to Barker, preview sessions to test the public’s reaction have shown the
movie touching people of all ages. Starting in December, Vinícius de Oliveira, the boy in
the movie and actress Fernanda Montenegro will tour 15 US cities to promote Central do

The nominations will be announced February 9, 1999. And the Oscar awards will be given
on Sunday, March 21. Brazilians hope they will have an extra incentive to be up late in
front of the TV set.

The New and
the Newer

Since mid November and extending to January 23, 1999, the New York MoMA (Museum of
Modern Art) is presenting a vast portrait of the Brazilian movie industry. It is a panel
composed by 82 movies (17 shorts and 65 feature length ones) produced in the last 40

Called Cinema Novo and Beyond and co-sponsored by the Culture Ministry, the
festival is being held in the same space that the incipient Brazilian Cinema Novo (New
Cinema) was presented to Americans in the late 60s. Paul Schrader, Peter Bogdanovich, and
Martin Scorsese were some of the Yankee movie directors who were exposed to the Brazilian
cinematography at that time.

As expected in a festival about Cinema Novo, late Gláuber Rocha will have several of
his works shown. They are Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol, Terra em Transe,
and O Dragão da Maldade Contra o Santo Guerreiro). The director with the most
movies, however, will be 70-year old and still very active Nélson Pereira dos Santos, a
precursor of the Cinema Novo Movement. New York will be seeing his best, like Vidas
Secas, Como Era Gostoso o Meu Francês, O Amuleto de Ogum, and Memórias
do Cárcere.

Among other directors in the exhibit: Joaquim Pedro de Andrade (Macunaíma and Guerra
Conjugal), Cacá Diegues (A Grande Cidade, Xica da Silva, and Bye Bye
Brasil.), Leon Hirszman (A Falecida, São Bernardo, and Eles Não
Usam Black Tie), and Arnaldo Jabor (Toda Nudez Será Castigada and Tudo Bem).

The list:
From the ’60s

Assalto ao Trem Pagador by Roberto Farias

Bahia de Todos os Santos by Trigueirinho Neto

O Pagador de Promessas by Anselmo Duarte

Vidas Secas by Nélson Pereira dos Santos

Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol by Gláuber Rocha

Os Fuzis by Ruy Guerra

Noite Vazia by Walter Hugo Khouri

O Desafio by Paulo Cezar Saraceni

A Grande Cidade by Carlos Diegues

A Hora e a Vez de Augusto Matraga by Roberto Santos

A Falecida by Leon Hirszman

São Paulo S.A. by Luiz Sérgio Person

Menino de Engenho by Walter Lima Júnior

Terra em Transe by Gláuber Rocha

Memória de Helena by David Neves 

A Margem by Ozualdo Candeias

O Bandido da Luz Vermelha by Rogério Sganzerla

Copacabana Me Engana by Antônio Carlos Fontoura

Macunaíma by Joaquim Pedro de Andrade

O Profeta da Fome by Maurice Capovilla

O Dragão da Maldade Contra o Santo Guerreiro by Gláuber Rocha

O Anjo Nasceu by Julio Bressane

From the ’70s

Como Era Gostoso o Meu Francês by Nélson Pereira dos Santos

Bang Bang by Andrea Tonacci

Toda Nudez Será Castigada by Arnaldo Jabor

São Bernardo by Leon Hirszman

Uirá by Gustavo Dahl

Iracema by Jorge Bodanski and Orlando Senna

Triste Trópico by Artur Omar

O Amuleto de Ogum by Nélson Pereira dos Santos

Guerra Conjugal by Joaquim Pedro de Andrade

Lição de Amor by Eduardo Escorel

Coronel Delmiro Gouveia by Geraldo Sarno

Dona Flor e Seus Dois Maridos by Bruno Barreto

Xica da Silva by Carlos Diegues

Tudo Bem by Arnaldo Jabor

From the ’80s

Eles Não Usam Black Tie by Leon Hirszman

O Homem que Virou Suco by João Batista de Andrade

Bye Bye Brasil by Carlos Diegues

Índia by Fábio Barreto

Pixote by Hector Babenco

Inocência by Walter Lima Júnior

Nunca Fomos Tão Felizes by Murilo Salles

Sargento Getúlio by Hermano Penna

Cabra Marcado para Morrer by Eduardo Coutinho

Memórias do Cárcere by Nélson Pereira dos Santos

A Hora da Estrela by Susana Amaral

A Marvada Carne by André Klotzel

A Cor do Seu Destino by Jorge Duran

Anaw6kx da Noite by Wilson Barros

Anaw6kx do Arrabalde by Carlos Reichenbach

Noites do Sertão by Carlos Alberto Prates Corrêa

From the ’90s

Terra Estrangeira by Walter Salles

Alma Corsária by Carlos Reichenbach

Os Matadores by Beto Brant

Um Céu de Estrelas by Tata Amaral

Como Nascem os Anaw6kx by Murilo Salles

O Sertão das Memórias by José Araújo

Carmen Miranda: Bananas Is My Business by Helena Solberg

O Quatrilho by Fábio Barreto

Yndio do Brasil by Sylvio Back

Bocage, o Triunfo do Amor by Djalma Limongi Batista

Miramar by Júlio Bressane

Pequeno Dicionário Amoroso by Sandra Werneck

Boleiros by Ugo Giorgetti


Aruanda by Linduarte Noronha

Viramundo by Geraldo Sarno

Memórias do Cangaço by Paulo Gil Soares

A Pedra da Riqueza by Wladimir Carvalho

Teremos Infância by Aloízio Raolino

Eu Sou a Vida, Não Sou a Morte by Haroldo Marinho

Oxente Pois Não by Joaquim Assis

Meow by Marcos Magalhães

O Melhor Amigo do Homem by Tânia Savietto

As Três Moedas da Fonte by Cecílio Neto

Mato Eles by Sérgio Bianchi

Ilha das Flores by Jorge Furtado

Rota ABC by Francisco Cezar Filho

O Enigma de um Dia by Joel Pizzini

À Meia Noite com Gláuber by Ivan Cardoso

A Alma do Negócio by José Roberto Torero

Chapeleiros by Adrian Cooper

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