Section 001 (Cinema Studies students) / Class #20087
Section 002 (Outside students) / Class #20088
This course is a graduate survey course devoted to the history of Brazilian Cinema from its beginnings up to the latest features. While focusing on the medium specificity in terms of film stylistics and film-as-film, the approach will also see film, in a “cultural studies” manner, as part of a discursive-mediatic continuum that includes history, literature, music, and performance.
The course will move through a more or less chronological sequence from the silent period, on to the musical comedies (chanchadas) and the studio films of Vera Cruz, through the various phases of Cinema Novo, on to the 1990s retomada and culminating with the variegated productions of a new generation of 21st century filmmakers. While the feature films will be screened in roughly chronological order, the classes themselves will be partially organized around themes that range across historical periods.
Some of the themes will include: Brazil as shaped by the Black, Red, and White Atlantics; representations of and by the “Indian;” foundational romances between European and Indigene; Afro-Brazilian culture; race and representation; carnival and the carnivalesque; multicultural dissonance as artistic resource; anthropophagy; Tropicalism, aesthetics of hunger; aesthetics of garbage; trance-modernism; national and transnational allegory; dictatorship and resistance; film remediations of literature; the telenovela; musical audiotopias; the favela and the divided city; Brazilian counter-culture; intersectionalities of race, gender, and sexuality; indigenous media; and the emergence of new social actors.
Given the extreme compression of the course in treating more than a century of cinema in a single semester, the course will feature many brief clips to a) illuminate broader trends; b) serve as analytical samples; c) whet student appetite for seeing the films in their entirety; and d) serve to point to possible topics to pursue in the term paper for the course. Many of the films can be seen in their entirety thanks to the internet. Students will be asked to see a number of widely disseminated features (e.g. the Elite Squad series) outside of class and to write one-page personal responses (which will be read but not graded) on some of those films.
Some basic principles of the course: 1) avoid redundancy between the lectures and the required reading; 2) analyze clips drawn from the films seen outside of class and from other films; 3) do close analysis as a demonstration of method; 4) distribute handouts to save time. Some of the directors included, whether in terms of class-screened feature films, features seen out of class, or, most frequently, via clips, include: Humberto Mauro, Silvio Santos, Mario Peixoto, Lima Barreto, Roberto Farias, Anselmo Duarte, Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Glauber Rocha, Leon Hirzman, Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, Carlos Diegues, Arnaldo Jabor, Rogerio Sganzerla, Hector Babenco, Tizuka Yamasaki, Rui Guerra, Suzana Amaral, Lucia Murad, Karim Ainouz, Jefferson de, Divino Tserawahu, Elena Solberg, Joel Zito Araujo, Jorge Bodansky, Lais Bodansky, Paulo Sacramento, Eduardo Coutinho, Jose Padilha, Sergio Bianchi, Bruno Barreto, Fernando Meirelles, Jorge Furtado, Luis Fernando Carvalho, Aurelio Michilles, Sandra Werneck, and Felipe Barbosa.