’s Current Film Industry Essay, Research Paper

In this paper I will discuss Brazil and

it?s current film industry. I will elucidate its role in the Brazilian

economy, and also what part the government deals in the industry itself.

Certain Brazilian films will be given as representations towards my theories.

Within a year of the Lumiere brother?s

?first experiment? in Paris in 1896, the cinematograph machine appeared

in Rio de Janeiro. Ten years later, the capital boasted 22 cinema houses

and the first Brazilian feature film, The Stranglers by Antonio Leal, had

been screened. From then on Brazil?s film industry made continuous progress

and, although it has never been large, its output over the years has attracted

international attention. In 1930, still the era of the silent movie in

Brazil, Mario Peixoto?s film, Limite was made. Limite is a surrealistic

work dealing with the conflicts raised by the human condition and how life

conspires to prevent total fulfillment. It was considered a landmark film

in the Brazilian cinema history. In 1933 Cinedia produced The Voice of

Carnival, the first film with Carmen Miranda. This film ushered in the

?chanchada? which dominated Brazilian cinema for many years. Chanchada?s

were the slapstick comedies, generally filled with musical numbers and

thoroughly cherished by the public.

By the end of the 1940?s Brazilian

film making was becoming an industry. The Vera Cruz Film Company was created

in Sao Paulo with the goal of producing films of international quality.

It hired technicians from abroad and brought back from Europe, Alberto

Cavalcanti, a Brazilian filmmaker with an international reputation to head

the company. Vera Cruz produced some important films before it closed in

1954, among them the epic O Cangaceiro which won the ?Best Adventure Film?

award at Cannes Film Festival in 1953. In the 1950?s, Brazilian cinema

radically changed the way it made films. In his 1995 film, Rio 40 Graus,

director Nelson Pereira dos Santos employed the filmmaking techniques

of Italian non realism by using ordinary people as his actors and by going

to the streets to shoot his low budget film. He would become one of the

most important Brazilian filmmakers of all time, and it is he who set the

stage for the Brazilian ?cinema novo? (an idea in mind and a camera in

the hands) movement. By 1962 ?cinema novo? had established a new concept

in Brazilian filmmaking. The ?cinema novo? film?s dealt with themes related

to acute national problems, from conflicts in rural areas to human problems

in the large cities, as well as film versions of important Brazilian novels.

At the end of the 1960?s, the Tropicalist movement had taken hold of the

art scenes in Brazil which meant that cinema came under its spell. It emphasized

the need to transform all foreign influences into a national product. The

most representative film of this movement was Macunaima, by Joaquim Pedro

de Andrade. It was a metaphorical analysis of the Brazilian character as

shown in the story of a native Indian who leaves the Amazon jungle and

goes to the big city. Working at the same time as the Tropicalists were

the ?cinema marginal? movement. This was another group of directors that

emerged in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro who also made low cost films. This

group produced film?s with theme?s that referred to a marginal society.

Their films were considered ?difficult?. In 1969 the government film agency,

Embrafilme, was created. They were responsible for the co production, financing,

and distribution of a large percentage of films in the 1970?s and 1980?s.Embrafilme

added a commercial dimension to the film industry and made it possible

for it to move on to more ambitious projects. In the 1980?s movies were

not well attended. This was due in part to the popularity of the television.

Many theatres closed their doors, especially in the interior if the country.

Never the less some important films were made. Many were concerned with

political questions. Today many contemporary Brazilian films are being

shown on television and in movie theatres all over the world.

The Brazilian culture at the moment is

a result of a historical process where there was a convergence of three

distinct populations. The Indian population that was situated in the land

before the Portuguese arrived in 1500, the Africans who were brought by

the slave owners, and lastly the immigrants that came to Brazil in the

beginning of the 19th century.

Today, Brazil being more conscious of the

richness of these three different cultures tries to incentive the

film industry by bringing these influences out. A perfect example of this

is the film O Quatrilho. O Quatrilho, made in 1996, was one of the five

nominees for the 1996 Academy Award for the Best Movie in a Foreign Language.

This film takes us into the world of a small colony of Italian Immigrants

in the south of Brazil in 1910. The young and serious Angelo is wed to

the beautiful and vibrant Teresa but he pays no attention to her at all.

He is firstly preoccupied with making ends meet and then his fortune rather

than lavishing on his wife. Another couple arrives at the village where

Angelo and Teresa are located. Pierina, Teresa?s cousin, is homely

but hard working while Massimo is more worldly and doesn?t disguise the

fact that he finds Teresa attractive. Before long both couples have children

and they find themselves sharing the same property. The daily routine of

working together on the land is arduous but while Angelo busies himself

with his business and proves successful at it, Massimo and Teresa are drawn

to each other. After their first amorous encounter they decide to abandon

their respective marriages and elope together. The remaining couple, betrayed

by their spouses, continue to live under the same roof, despite church

pressure that they separate. But little by little they discover that they

are in love. As a result of the process of the country?s formation, Brazil

has a rich influence for different time periods and ethnicity?s which can

clearly be seen in the aforementioned film, O Quatrilho.

With a sudden change of Brazilian cultural

laws in the last 2 years, the Brazilian ?audio-visual? area?s such as film,

television, and radio flourished. The national production of films were

stagnant from the 1990?s to 1992 due to the radical cuts in government

fiscal and artistic incentives made at the time by the Collor administration.

But because of the new demand for more ?audio-visual? products in 1993

that all changed. In 1993 when the law to incentive the ?audio-visual?

was created and then passed by the senate, 2 films were produced. A year

later, 1994, 5 films were made. In 1995 17 films were produced, moving

along in 1996 22 films were made. And lastly in 1997 30 films were produced.

This increase gives us the conclusion that with the establishment of the

new law there was a growth of national films. With this growth the emergence

of beautiful filming began. A great example of the growth of national film?s

is Central do Brazil, which won the gold bear at the International Film

Festival in Berlin and the prize for Best Script at the Sundance Festival.

In this film Dora works in the ?Central do Brazil? writing letters for

illiterates who desire to correspond with their distant relatives. Ana,

one of her customers, dies by getting hit by a car, and against her wishes,

Dora receives Ana?s only child Josue. Josue dreams to know his father who

has disappeared in the northeast and so he begs Dora to help. Dora, in

the end helps Josue to write letters to help find his father. This film

is currently being shown in Brazilian theatres and also European and American


The actual flourishing of the film industry

is so intense that one can even measure by the fact that in the beginning

of the decade the number of spectators for the Brazilian films were insignificant,

summoning up to about 20,000 per year. But gradually, as the films increased

so did the spectators. In 1997 one can see how the numbers have jumped

to 2 million. Another auspicious fact is the regional diversification of

productions, allowing the elimination of the battles between Rio de Janeiro

and Sao Paulo. Although the market is still dominated by foreign films,

Brazil has begun to export their film?s. In 1997 Brazil imported 680 millions

of dollars against the 38 millions that were being exported.

The Federal Constitution clearly established

in the 2 articles (215, and 216) states that the competency of the state

guarantee?s the cultural rights. Also access to the cultural source,

value and incentivation of the cultural productions and preservations of

the national heritage. Especially the ones from the various ethnic groups

and trends that encompass the Brazilian society. So the 3 fundamental dimensions

of the cultural phenomenon (creation, diffusion, and preservation) are

contemplated in the constitutional text. This places them under the public

responsibilities in collaboration with its society.

The country?s cultural area is changing

to a more stable structure of organization and financial support. The federal

legislation that incentives the culture has 2 powerful laws. Law 8.313/91,

which is the federal law to stimulate the culture, and law 8685/93 which

is the audiovisual law. With these two laws the federal government incentives

and supports the firms to contribute with a percentage of the taxes to

be used in the support of the arts. As a result of these laws we have the

?Revival of the Brazilian Movie?, with an increased income of 80 million

?reais? (Brazillian currency) in 1997. These figures are four times bigger

than the 1995 figures. An illustration of this is the ministry of culture

that gave 40 awards for film shorts, 15 for scripts, and 15 for the development

of the ?audio-visual? projects. In 1998, the ministry of culture will center

its efforts to increase the market for Brazilian productions of audio visual

context. By doing so, one hopes that this can increase the structure and

the implementation of the audio visual industry in Brazil.

In conclusion, I believe that the Brazilian

film industry was lacking when it first started. Gradually the industry

has begun to grow and produce films that are even entertaining foreign

audiences, such as O Quatrilho in Europe and the US. Hopefully as the years

pass I believe that even though Brazil is a third world country, it is

rich enough in culture to bring forth a different quality of films that

will reassure the foreign audience and market to give them a chance.


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